Irritable bowel syndrome in cats is not that uncommon and could mean a few different things. Anything from mental distress, allergies, to diet intolerances could be to blame for your cat’s sensitive tummy. Here are some common symptoms to watch out for, their common causes, and what we can do as pet parents to keep our cats happy and healthy.

But first! What is IBS? IBS stands for irritable bowel syndrome and is inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. In cats, IBS comes on suddenly and severely.

Cats can also develop irritable bowel disease (IBD) which is a chronic, long-term inflammation of the mucosal lining in their intestinal tract.

If your cat has either IBS or IBD, they probably developed it after experiencing allergies, food intolerance, bacterial imbalance, and other genetic factors. But one of the most common reasons a cat can develop IBS is after a stressful event like travel, boarding, trauma, injury or a change to routine. Moving homes, a new pet, or new family members like a baby can disrupt a kitty’s belly.

These situations sometimes can’t be avoided, unfortunately. This is why having a cat wellness plan and good cat health insurance can be so helpful. You can get your sick and stressed kitty the proper help and medication they need without having to dig deeper into your pockets.

Common Kitty IBS Symptoms

If you think your cat might have digestive problems such as IBS then you should keep an eye out for the following symptoms.

  • Mucus
  • Pain when pooping (Dyschezia)
  • Abdominal bloating/gas
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Stress


It’s important to get our cats tested if there is something off with their digestion, appetite, or if they have constant diarrhea. Veterinarians can diagnose our cats by conducting a couple of different tests. Your vet might choose to start with some routine tests to rule out other pre-existing conditions such as intestinal parasitic infections due to parasite eggs, kidney stones, etc.

This means they will conduct a cat fecal exam, urinalysis, and maybe even some bloodwork. Feces tests for cats are a great way to spot any issues in the digestive tract. All of these routine exams are covered with a cat wellness plan under most cat health insurance.

If the diagnosis is not yet clear the vet will then usually order further diagnostics. This can include biopsies of the stomach, via laparotomy or endoscopy, both of which are meant for diagnosis. Wagmo Pet Insurance can help you pay for these exams so you are not breaking the bank. Different examinations can really get up there in price, and we want to help offer you peace of mind with our comprehensive cat health insurance and cat wellness plans.

Treatment & Prevention

Once your veterinarian concludes that it is indeed IBS or IBD they might do a couple of things to help ease the symptoms. If your cat is experiencing pain and diarrhea the vet might do the following:

  • IV to restore hydration
  • Give antidiarrheal medication
  • Give stool softener for constipation
  • Give antispasmodics to control colon spasms

Your veterinarian will probably also prescribe some pre/probiotics to your cat alone with some antibiotics to help further relieve symptoms and diversify their gut microbiome. They will probably also encourage dietary management. The vet might recommend switching food brands to something easier to digest with a higher amount of fiber and less fat. It will also be super important to try and manage your cat’s stress levels.

It’s important to treat your cat’s IBS or IBD symptoms as soon as you notice that there is something off. Your cat not eating or not properly absorbing nutrients can worsen symptoms and cause them to become more ill.

IBS is not uncommon so it’s best to be prepared with Wagmo Pet health Insurance and a pet wellness plan for annual fecal exams. You’re also covered for emergency care in case of severe illness with cat health insurance. Take our coverage quiz today to build your perfect Wagmo cat Insurance plan with no additional cost.