Does your cat have a stiff stomach and even looks more swollen than usual? Here’s what the causes could be and how to alleviate this nuisance.
Cats, like all pets, can give their favorite humans a lot of worry. It is natural for an attentive and responsible owner to be attentive to all changes, often also visible to the naked eye, in his beloved feline. Precisely for this reason, if he noticed that the cat has a hard and swollen belly he could be alarmed, and rightly so. Before contacting the vet, let’s find out together what could be the causes of the swelling and hardness of the feline’s abdominal area, which is usually also called ‘soft belly’ due to its softness. Here’s everything you need to know.
If the cat has a hard and not ‘soft’ belly
Anyone who owns one knows well that the cat has a particularly soft area of the body: it is its belly, which is not surprisingly called ‘soft’. Some also call it a ‘pouch‘, but in reality it is a primordial cat’s pouch. This area of the body is nothing more than a growth that the feline has on the lower abdomen. Although the cat’s physique is essentially elegant, agile and toned, this area always remains the softest and sagging. Rest assured: it is neither a disease nor a malformation.
When a cat undergoes a neutering operation, the space left empty by the gonads or ovaries causes a hormonal lowering. In this way the tissues relax and the belly seems softer. It is certainly not fat that has remained attached to the abdomen after a major diet. But then why could the cat have a hard and often swollen belly? The answers in the next paragraph.
The cat has a hard belly: all possible causes
Certainly a cat that does not have the usual soft stomach worries us. This swelling can have several causes, and can develop over time or suddenly. It is necessary not to underestimate the problem and to understand how to solve the situation. Although in small percentages of cases, the cause may not even be linked to a pathological disorder: the cat may simply have eaten too much and too quickly. But if the reasons are more serious they could hide a very serious health problem and require immediate expert intervention. Let’s see below what can be the causes of abdominal swelling and abdominal hardness from a medical point of view.
Let’s start with a cause that is ‘less’ serious than the others or, at least, more solvable: feline overweight. Over time the cat could gain weight, thanks to the advancing age and the decrease in physical activity. If your cat is getting old, eats a lot and moves little, the most likely cause is that his entire body is relaxing, including his abdomen. But even this is no small problem since obesity in cats can have very serious consequences such as diabetes.
In the case of a pregnant cat, the abdomen is the part that progressively hardens as the time of delivery approaches. In fact, the birth of the kittens will be preceded by contractions, which serve to prepare the uterus for the exit of the little cats.
As during pregnancy, the cat may have a hard belly and a swollen abdomen also due to some uterine diseases. As in the case of unwanted pregnancies, neutering the cat is a very common operation for this type of infections, precisely in order to avoid these risks.
Internal parasitic infections are among the first causes of a swollen and hard abdomen, especially if it is a puppy. Worms and parasites can infest the abdomen of a body as small as that of a kitten, which would have a disproportionate belly compared to the rest of the body. Better to take him to visit the vet, who could recommend a treatment based on drugs suitable for deworming and based on pesticides.
The worms and parasites that infest the abdomen of the feline may also be visible in his feces or in the blood (of course through special tests). By analyzing various blood samples it will also be possible to understand what type of parasite or worm it is. The most common consequence of this infestation is usually diarrhea in the cat and a dehydration of the physique.
When the cat ingests a substance that is toxic to its body, it responds with a swelling and hardening of the abdominal area. The cause could be from plants, drugs, chemicals, and other foods that may have caused the cat to be poisoned or poisoned.
Cushing’s disease or hyperadrenocorticism includes abdominal swelling and hardness among its symptoms. Although quite rare, this disease is one of the main ones involving abdominal hardness. It could be a direct consequence of a tumor or hyperplasia. It will also be necessary to note the presence of other symptoms such as: lethargy, increased hunger, excessive thirst, need to urinate more often and everywhere, apathy, hair loss. Better to ask the veterinarian’s opinion and rely on his expert hands.
It is an abnormal accumulation of fluids in the abdominal cavity: in this way the area will become harder and the help of the veterinarian will be needed to recognize and treat it.
Feline Infectious Peritonitis, or FIP, is one of the deadliest conditions in cats. It causes inflammation of the inner membrane of the abdomen and other internal organs, such as the liver and kidneys. It is a disease that, fortunately, can be prevented with a special vaccine. It is necessary to do this since it is also a very contagious pathology. In addition to a swollen abdomen, the cat may also have: difficulty in breathing, fever, pleural effusion, jaundice and even neurological problems.
It often happens that, with age, the cat also presents this type of discomfort. In an elderly cat it will be difficult to diagnose one disease rather than another, precisely because of the symptoms that can refer to one or the other pathology. It is also important to pay attention to other signals that the cat’s body sends us, such as: excessive weight loss or anorexia, lethargy, a sense of apathy and exhaustion, but also frequent episodes of vomiting and excessive production of urine.
The cat has a hard belly: what to do
The best thing is to rely on the expert opinion of the veterinarian and not groped to do it yourself: try your hand in a subject that is not ours, could have serious repercussions on the health of the cat. If we have noticed a number of factors in our cat, let’s report them to the doctor and wait for him to be diagnosed. Better not waste time and scrupulously observe the treatments that the vet will submit to the cat.