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IBD & IBS in Cats: Signs, Causes & Remedies

What Is Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Feline inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a diagnosis used for a variety of intestinal disorders found in cats.

These disorders are characterized by an abnormal accumulation of inflammatory cells in the lining of the intestine. Your veterinarian may have diagnosed feline IBD after obtaining a biopsy. Other causes of inflammation, such as parasites, bacterial or viral infections, exposure to toxic substances and pancreatic causes of small bowel disorders, would have been ruled out.

Cats may also be diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS in cats is often caused by the inability to effectively pass food through the gastrointestinal tract, food intolerances (possibly due to allergies) and stress. The intestinal lining may be thickened and inflamed. The inflammation can cause the cat to have a hard stomach, bloating, gas, growling stomach noises, vomiting, bloody diarrhea and weight loss. Your cat may be hunched over or have an arched back because of pain from abdominal cramping or diarrhea. Cats with IBD and/or IBS may develop intestinal lymphoma as a result of years of inflammation in the intestinal tract. Cats may not show signs until they are older, even though they may not have shown a great deal of GI distress in their younger years.

Common Signs of IBD and IBS in Cats

If your kitty has IBD or IBS, you may notice symptoms that vary in severity and frequency. The symptoms your cat has will depend on which part of the GI tract is affected. Other factors such as diet and stress can play a huge role in how and when symptoms appear. Common signs of feline IBD and IBS include:

  • Chronic diarrhea (may contain mucous and blood)
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting (may contain hairballs)
  • Cat lethargic or not eating
  • Gas
  • Stomach gurgling noises
  • Blood and/or mucous in the stool

What Causes IBD in Cats?

Chronic inflammation in a cat's intestinal tract can be caused by one or many things. The biggest contributors to IBD are diet, microbiome, environment and genetics.

Inflammtory Diet

Cats with IBD have very sensitive digestion and may have allergies or intolerances to common ingredients in commercial pet foods. One of the goals of cat IBD treatment is to use natural supplements along with diet changes to reduce inflammation throughout the GI tract. Grains and certain meat proteins can be allergens for cats.

Many cats with IBD are prescribed special veterinary diets, but most of these contain chemicals, fillers and grains and are high in carbohydrates, which can cause indigestion.

Cats are carnivores and they were designed to eat meat - not corn, wheat, gluten, or rice. There is not one "perfect" diet that works for every cat with IBD, but most respond well to a hypoallergenic, easily-digestible diet.

Unhealthy Microbiome

A healthy, balanced microbiome supports the immune system, fights pathogens, and maintains digestive health.

Clinical studies have shown the presence of dysbiosis in feline inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).* Dysbiosis occurs when the balance between the good and bad bacteria in the gut microbiome is out of alignment.

Cats with IBD often have a high population of bad bacteria (pathogens that can cause sickness and disease) in contrast to an insufficient amount of the healthy bacteria that aid in digestion. When your cat's microbiome is out of alignment, dysbiosis can cause all types of digestive upset, including vomiting, acid reflux, diarrhea and loose stool.

Probiotics are essential to rebalance the microbiome of cats that have been treated with antibiotics and/or steroid medications. These medications can cause an imbalance in intestinal flora (microbiome) by killing off the good "friendly bacteria" along with the bad bacteria.

*Reference: Anim Health Res Rev, 2012 Jun;13(1):64-77. Feline gastrointestinal microbiota. Minamoto Y, Hooda S, Swanson KS, Suchodolski JS.

Environmental Causes & Stress

Stress is a huge trigger for IBS & IBD in cats. Cats like peace and quiet.

Loud noises, such as a vacuum or children playing, can disrupt them and cause stress. Like people, cats can have physical reactions to stress that may include diarrhea and digestive upset. Long term stress and anxiety can lead to chronic inflammation in the intestinal tract or IBD.

Genetic Predisposition

The makeup of your kitty's immune system is also thought to play a role in feline IBD. The majority of your cat's immune system resides in its digestive tract.

The immune system has a natural mucosal barrier throughout the GI tract to prevent harmful bacteria from causing inflammation. If the barrier becomes weak, pathogens can cross into the tissue and cause inflammation and infection. Siamese and other oriental breeds are more predisposed to developing IBD.*

*Reference: J Am Vet Med Assoc, 1992;200(11):1712-1718. Lymphocytic/plasmacytic gastroenteritis in cats: 14 cases (1985-1990). Dennis JS, Kruger JM, Mullaney TP.

Is IBD/IBS the Same as Colitis?

Colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease in cats. With cat colitis, the GI inflammation is located in the colon or large intestine. It can be an acute or chronic condition. Chronic colitis can cause weight loss and other uncomfortable symptoms associated with IBD.

The acute form of colitis is usually caused by stress. Stress colitis in cats can cause diarrhea and bloody stools that may appear pink, red or tarry, depending on the degree of ulceration inside the colon. How to treat colitis in cats naturally will include learning how to keep your cat calm and managing stress and anxiety, as these can help to decrease colitis flare-ups.

Colitis in kittens is fairly common. Kittens do not have a fully developed digestive or immune system and are much more sensitive to stress, parasites (hookworms, roundworms, giardia), food allergens and infections. If your kitty has colitis or bloody stools, it is important to see a veterinarian to make sure they do not have any parasites.

Supplements that Help with Cat IBD/IBS

Need Help? Contact Us At [email protected]

How to Help with IBD/IBS in Cats

Natural compounds and supplements can help relieve symptoms of IBD, IBS, vomiting and diarrhea. Combined with a healthy diet, most cats start to feel better quickly.

Supplements like digestive enzymes, probiotics and organic hemp extract can reduce inflammation, firm up stool, relieve symptoms and improve your cat's overall wellbeing.

Recommended Supplements to Help Alleviate IBS and IBD in Cats

Our supplements can be used in conjunction with treatments prescribed by your veterinarian. Using the appropriate hypoallergenic, anti-inflammatory diet along with our natural treatment for cat IBD and IBS can be life-changing for your cat and for you!

IBD Kit - The Cat IBD Treatment Kit includes three natural remedies for cat digestion specially designed to calm and soothe the digestive tract, firm up stool, relieve tummy rumbling and reduce gas, mucus and bloody stool.

Power Probiotic - It is important to use a multi-strain, powerful probiotic that has been used extensively with cats that have IBD. Our Power Probiotic is easy to administer, very effective and well tolerated by cats. The product has been third-party tested and guaranteed to contain the amounts of friendly bacteria indicated on the label.

Soothing Digestive Relief - This leading herbal enzyme supplement breaks down nutrients, calms the stomach, firms up stool and helps increase absorption. This digestive enzymes supplement for cats with IBD helps to relieve the diarrhea, vomiting, gas, gurgling noises and discomfort associated with IBD and IBS.

NOT Drops - BThis is a natural homeopathic remedy that fights infection and supports your cat's immune system. It controls harmful bacteria and restores gut flora balance, improving digestive symptoms and immune function. It’s gentle, easy to administer (tasteless, alcohol-free) and safe for long-term use as well as safe for small cats and kittens.

Happy Paws Organic Hemp Extract - Has a calming, soothing effect. Stress is a trigger for diarrhea and digestive problems. Many pets that have IBD and digestive issues also have anxiety. Happy Paws Drops help to calm nervous pets and relieve pain and intestinal cramping.

Gastro ULC - This home remedy helps cats with acid reflux, vomiting, stomach gurgling and pain. It coats the stomach and relieves the burning and pain associated with acid reflux and acid stomach. Use this supplement along with the IBD Kit, as acid stomach begins with poor digestion.

Recommended Diet to Help Cats With IBS and IBD

In addition to natural remedies for cat digestion, proper diet changes can help alleviate IBS and IBD symptoms. Food for cats with IBD should not include grains, which are often found in prescription diets. Dry kibble is high in starchy carbs, which can cause indigestion. Cats may also have food allergies or intolerances, which further the inflammation.

Our diet tips are based on Pet Nutritionist Susan Blake Davis' experience treating cats with IBS and IBD. Please include your cat's diet, health issues, age, symptoms and all treats on the order form at checkout.

Our pet nutritionist will review the information and include diet tips for your cat on the packing slip that comes with the product directions.

Need help for your cat? Please contact [email protected] and we will be glad to assist you.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Kit Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Kit
Our Price: $103.25
Sale Price: $93.25
Savings: $10.00
Happy Paws Drops Happy Paws Drops
Our Price: $64.50
Sale Price: $47.95
Savings: $16.55

Most pets show improvement within a few weeks, although it is important to remember that this condition is characterized by an occasional bout of gastrointestinal distress. Our goal is to help reduce the frequency and severity of these bouts of digestive issues (which can be triggered by stress, eating problematic foods, etc.) to give your cat a good quality of life. Holistic care can make a difference and we look forward to helping your cat finally feel better!

What Previous Cat IBD/IBS Customers Have Said


"Our cat Tipper had feline IBD Inflammatory Bowel Disease and while we tried many different foods, supplements and medications, he still did not have a formed stool. About a month using the IBD Kit and diet suggested by Ask Ariel, Tipper started having normal bowel movements and has been normal ever since. My husband and I want to thank you and the staff at Ask Ariel Your Pet Nutritionist very much for your advice and your products which have worked, what we consider to be a miracle in the life of our cat. I can imagine you are also very gratified when people like us let you know how your efforts to help us have resulted in a life for us and our cat."

Fennema Family, Michigan


"My cat Burrito, 14 years old, started vomiting hairballs occasionally. Then it got so frequent, we had to seclude Burrito to the basement every night. She had always slept between my husband and myself. Poor kitty! Well most of the time she would vomit undigested food during the day and then early in the morning, it was a white foam liquid. So we took her to the vet and they thought she could have acid reflex, so we put her on a medication twice a day. She didn't like that at all and it didn't work--she still vomited the same.

When we took her back to the vet, the vet said it could be IBD and wanted to put her on another drug to see if the inflammation that was causing the vomiting would go away. NO NO NO! I didn't want to do that. So I did some research and found Ask Ariel. I ordered the Feline IBD Kit combo of Probiotic, Soothing Digestive Enzymes and the NOT drops and waited for results. Wow it really worked! After I was done with the NOT Drops, we were doing our twice daily regimen of probiotics and digestive enzymes. Still every once in a while, I would find a white foamy liquid on the floor. Ask Ariel suggested to add Gastro ULC. That did the trick. My Burrito is happy again and back to sleeping with us. Thanks, Ariel!"

Tanja, North Dakota

Originally published Jan 21, 2023
Updated March 28, 2024
Written by: Susan Davis, Pet Health Nutritionist, CCN
All pet treatment protocols and pet treatment supplements have been reviewed and approved by a veterinarian

Cat IBD Treatments Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the best cat IBD treatment?

The best cat IBD treatment includes a combination of natural supplements and diet changes to reduce inflammation in your cat’s gastrointestinal tract. The products in Ask Ariel’s IBD Kit were chosen specifically to treat feline IBD & IBS and are recommended by veterinarians nationwide. The IBD Kit includes three unique supplements to calm and soothe the digestive tract, firm up stool, relieve tummy rumbling and reduce gas, mucus and bloody stool. The kit includes Power Probiotic, Soothing Digestive Relief and NOT Anti-Inflammatory Drops - gentle, easy to use and all-natural products that can be life-changing for your kitty.

Can probiotics help cats with IBD?

Probiotics help to support a healthy, balanced microbiome that strengthens the immune system, fights pathogens, and maintains digestive health. Cats with IBD often have an overpopulation of bad bacteria (pathogens that can cause sickness and disease) compared to the healthy bacteria that aid digestion. When your cat's microbiome is out of alignment, dysbiosis can cause all types of digestive upset, including vomiting, acid reflux, diarrhea and loose stool. Ask Ariel’s Power Probiotic is the best probiotic for cats with IBD & IBS. It is a multi-strain probiotic with beneficial bacteria to help your cat's immune system to fight harmful bacteria and pathogens. If your cat has been on antibiotics and/or steroids, probiotics are essential to rebalance the microbiome, as these medications can cause an imbalance in intestinal flora by killing off the good friendly bacteria along with the bad bacteria.

What can I give my cat for IBD?

You can give your cat relief from the chronic diarrhea, vomiting and gas symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by using natural remedies along with diet changes. Feline IBD is a broad diagnosis that encompasses a wide variety of intestinal disorders with inflammatory cells in the stomach or intestines. The goal of treatment is to minimize the inflammatory response. Our natural treatment protocol can offer long-term relief from symptoms when used in conjunction with an appropriate hypoallergenic, anti-inflammatory diet. Ask Ariel’s IBD Kit and Gastro ULC can provide real relief for cats with IBD.

What is the best food for cats with IBD?

The best food for cats with IBD is an easily digestible, novel protein diet that is free from chemicals and common allergens. Cats with IBD have very sensitive digestion and many have allergies or intolerances to common ingredients in commercial pet foods. The best IBD diet will help to heal the gut lining, reduce inflammation, and restore healthy gut flora without stressing the digestive system. One of the easiest ways to reduce inflammation is to avoid common allergens like chicken, beef, fish and dairy. Other food and treat additives, like artificial colorings, flavors and chemical preservatives should also be avoided. Many cats with IBD do well when they eat a high-moisture diet that is sourced from novel animal proteins (like rabbit or venison) along with natural supplements to help reduce the uncomfortable symptoms of IBD. At Ask Ariel, we include IBD diet tips for your cat on the packing slip that comes with the product directions.

What can you give a cat with IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) in cats is characterized by symptoms such as frequent diarrhea, vomiting, bloating, digestive problems and/or constipation. What is a natural remedy for IBS in cats? IBS in cats natural treatments include diet changes, stress reduction and natural remedies. Ask Ariel’s IBD Kit helps to ease bloody diarrhea, mucus in the stools, loud stomach noises and indigestion. Gastro ULC coats your cat’s stomach, soothing irritation in the esophagus and stomach which can reduce vomiting. Happy Paws Organic Hemp Extract can help to reduce inflammation in the GI tract and provide calming. Stress is a major factor in IBS flare ups, so it is important to minimize stress factors for your cat. These natural remedies for IBS in cats can be combined with diet changes to provide long-term relief from irritable bowel syndrome in cats.

How do you treat IBD and irritable bowel syndrome in cats naturally?

You can treat IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) in cats naturally with holistic remedies and diet changes. Many cats have food intolerances and allergies. Common protein sources such as fish and poultry can be allergens for some cats. Diets high in carbohydrates can also cause digestive problems as cats are carnivores. Natural supplements, like Ask Ariel’s IBD Kit, can help to calm and soothe the digestive tract, firm up stool, relieve tummy rumbling and reduce gas, mucus and bloody stool. Our natural IBD protocol can give your cat fast relief from diarrhea, vomiting, gurgling, hunching over and all of the other uncomfortable symptoms of IBS and IBD. There isn’t one diet for IBS and IBD in cats. Cats need different diets depending upon their age and health issues. Please include your cat’s diet and treats on the order form at checkout and we will provide free diet tips for IBD or IBS on the packing slip that comes with your order.