How long do cats digest food is a question that I usually received from my customers. Some of them are trying to find out a feeding schedule that is as healthy as possible.

The others have cats getting some problems with their digestion. No matter why you have this question, we have some information for you. 

How Long Do Cats Digest Foods?

It takes about 20 hours for food to travel to the cat’s anus.

Their intestine is relatively short, and it may make them get troubles in extracting nutrients from plants. If you have a cat, you can see that she doesn’t chew food, but swallows them.

Cats’ teeth have a unique design that helps them slice meat more efficiently, not vegetables. Besides, in the cat’s stomach, there is a powerful acid that can break down bones and eliminate bacteria. 

How Does Cat Digestive System Work?

What Is Cat’s Digestive System?

A digestive system refers to an organ set that takes responsibility for processing foods that a cat takes in and eliminates solid wastes from her body. It includes the mouth, teeth, salivary glands, esophagus, stomach, intestine, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder. 

How Does Cat Digestive System Work?

The cat digestive system will start working when your pet picks up food with its mouth and starts chewing them. In saliva, there is a type of enzymes that breaks down the food chemically. The process continues with swallowing and a further breakdown of food in the stomach. Then it comes to the absorption of nutrients in the intestines and the elimination of waste. This process is critical not only for providing nutrients but also for maintaining the proper balance of fluid and electrolytes (salts).

If you see that your cat digest foods more slowly than usual, please don’t miss it. Your cat will be “endangered” due to some digestive system disorders. Sounds very new? Let’s figure them out.

Digestive Disorders In Cats

What Is Digestive System Disorder In Cats?

There are many signs of digestive system disorders that can be mentioned: loss of appetite, excessive drooling, dehydration, constipation, vomiting or regurgitation, bleeding, bloating, straining, defecate, shock, and diarrhea. In some cases, your cat may experience abdominal pain by whining, meowing, and abnormal postures (for example, they may be crouching while they Archie their back).

The current condition of your pet tells a lot about her disease, especially about location and nature. For instance, most illnesses in cats usually link with their mouth, teeth, jaw, and sometimes even their esophagus. You can diagnose them through the abnormalities of biting and so on. Whenever you see your cat vomiting, the first thing that you should think of is the inflammation of the lining of the stomach or intestines (gastroenteritis) caused by infection or irritation. Of course, don’t forget other causes, such as kidney disease, a non-digestive condition.

Another common sign of digestive system disorders is diarrhea, although it is usually a little bit hard to find out the cause. It requires a lot of care in treating animals with continuing diarrhea, as dehydration and electrolyte (salt) imbalance, which may lead to shock, will happen if they lost a large number of fluids. 

Some Common Digestive Disorders In Cats

Digestive disorders in cats come with a lot of different types. Your cat may eat something that is not for him, or unable to tolerate food, or suffer from infections, or the lack of digestive enzymes. 

So here we will list down some of the most common digestive disorders in cats:

  • Acute gastroenteritis: Usually happens in a short time when your cat eats something spoiled, toxic plants, foods containing internal parasites, and so on.
  • Constipation: Usually happens when your cat has a lack of exercise, essential nutrients, and when he suffers from dehydration. 

Some Treatments For Common Digestive Disorders In Cats

Most of the digestive disorders in cats come from things they eat. So let’s start with their diet. Depending on the symptoms, you can determine the necessary nutritional approaches for them. All of the treatments have the same goal: to alleviate the signs of digestive disorders from your cat (usually vomiting and diarrhea). 

Feed your cat with a diet with highly digestible foods to help prevent irritation to his stomach and intestines, which are extremely sensitive. Moreover, we recommend using a combination of high-soluble and insoluble fiber foods and moderate fat to support proper intestinal function. Finally, make sure that your cat has enough water all the time. 

The Bottom Lines,

So, how long do cats digest foods? The standard time range is 20 hours. If you see more than that amount of time, don’t underestimate it. Your carelessness may kill your fur-baby any time. Read this post, take notes, and keep your cat strong. We will see you later.


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