What Over The Counter (OTC) Medicine For A Cat’s Upset Stomach? (2024)


When humans experience stomach distress, diagnosing and treating it with over-the-counter medications is simple. When symptoms, even mild ones, occur, anyone can recognize the problem and its cause. But when it comes to cats, you might wonder what over-the-counter medicine for a cat’s upset stomach to use.

Sadly, cats are not like this. Even minor health issues, such as an upset stomach, might manifest differently in cats.

When cats begin to vomit, it can be difficult to comprehend and locate the source of the problem, making treatment more difficult. 

Antiemetic drugs, such as metoclopramide, and modern drugs, such as maropitant, can treat stomach discomfort in cats.

Gastritis caused by abnormal gastric juice production can be managed with various antacid medicines such as famotidine and ranitidine.

Continue reading to discover the most frequent symptoms, causes, treatment choices, and prevention strategies for your cat’s upset stomach.

Before you scroll further down this guide, check out these other cat-related articles: My Cat is in Heat and Won’t Shut Up – What Should I Do? and How to Get a Cat Out of Heat with a Q Tip?.

Symptoms of Upset Stomach In Cats


Gastric distress can induce stomach discomfort, uneasiness, and puking in humans. When cats develop an upset stomach, the symptoms are similar, but the appearance can be completely different.

Felines are skilled at hiding their disease; obvious symptoms arise only when the situation worsens.

While puking is the most obvious indicator, there are other telltale signs your cat may exhibit when they have an upset stomach.

Other common symptoms include frequent lip licking, a reduction or complete lack of appetite, and occasional nausea.

Other subtle indicators include the cat’s unwillingness to move about, being less lively, or hiding in strange areas. These symptoms, while nonspecific, may imply stomach pain, which is frequent in gastritis.

However, it is essential to remember that cats throwing hairballs is a natural occurrence and does not indicate a stomach upset or other medical issues.

You should not be concerned if you notice your cat throwing up actual hairballs, which appear quite distinct from puke with fur in it.

Causes of Upset Stomach In Cats


It can be difficult to determine why the stomach is upset at home because of several potential motivators.

Such as eating meals that don’t agree with them, ingesting a foreign substance, switching from one cat food to another too rapidly, and parasites with viral and bacterial illnesses.

Side effects of medication or certain medical conditions that will necessitate further investigation.

While some stomach disturbances are insignificant and may go away independently, others can be significant or deadly.

That is why it is critical to understand the signals of a major problem to get aid for your cat companion.

Food Intolerance

Food intolerance is the most prevalent reason for gastritis in cats. Cats’ gastrointestinal systems are extremely sensitive, and they might respond negatively to any rapid changes in nutrition.

Switching cat food without a good progressive transition might cause an inflammatory response and stomach distress. 

Underlying Medical Conditions


Some gastrointestinal disorders—for instance, hyperacidity, meaning the high formation of gastric acid in cats—can create stomach aches as a characteristic or clinical indication.

If left undiagnosed, this can progress to stomach ulcers, which cause persistent gastrointestinal irritation that requires long-term medicine to maintain. 

Serious illnesses, such as renal or liver disease, can induce stomach cramps in cats via various mechanisms. Kidney illness, hyperthyroidism, and cancer are all potential causes of stomach distress in elderly cats.

In kittens, IBD, pancreatitis, and worms can all induce vomiting, eating issues, and diarrhea. These disorders typically produce nausea or increased gastric juice production, which might result in stomach problems or nausea.

Ingesting Bad Food

One of the potential causes of an upset stomach is that your cat could have ingested something inedible. This can result in an intestinal blockage or a foreign object in the intestines.

This is a very significant source of vomiting in cats that can be deadly.

Cats, unlike dogs, are less likely to consume a ball or bone and create a foreign body blockage, but they are particularly susceptible to ‘linear foreign bodies.”

String, tinsel, or other long things get caught and collect the guts in an accordion configuration, finally scissoring through the intestines.

Toxins, which frequently induce vomiting as an early indicator of poisoning, are more concerning things your cat may have ingested to create an upset stomach.

Toxins can be found in the home or on the streets, and it’s frequently hard to be certain that a cat hasn’t consumed something harmful.

Certain toxins, however, are moderate, and unless your cat has other symptoms, they generally respond to symptomatic therapy.

Treatments for Upset Stomach In Cats


So, what can you do to assist your cat’s stomach? See your veterinarian immediately if your cat’s vomiting or diarrhea is serious and/or recurrent.

Remember that vomiting in cats is not usual, aside from the rare puking induced by hairballs. 

After analyzing your cat’s status, the doctor may recommend medicine to help soothe your cat’s stomach upset. The type of treatment will be determined by the veterinarian’s diagnosis. 

If the upset stomach is a one-time event, physicians may prescribe a brief course of anti-nausea and/or anti-diarrheal medicine.

Cats with more severe instances may need to be hospitalized for observation and supportive care, such as hydration therapy and other treatments.

If, on the other hand, your cat’s vomiting or diarrhea has just begun and is not extreme or unusual, the following remedies may help soothe your cat’s upset stomach.

Withholding Food

When your cat has digestive problems, one of the easiest treatments to consider is the most basic: fasting. Fasting (withdrawing food) will calm your cat’s upset stomach.

You can also withdraw liquids only for a few hours until the stomach stabilizes.

Bear in mind, however, that cats can experience a potentially lethal illness known as hepatic lipidosis if they go for extended periods without eating.

If your veterinarian advises you to fast your cat for more than 12 hours, you may only do so.

Here is a basic timetable for putting your cat on a fast:

  • For 2 hours, avoid both water and food.
  • If they are no longer puking after 2 hours, reintroduce water.
  • Reintroduce meals slowly after 8 to 12 hours.

Changing Diet


Most simple gastritis caused by a food intolerance can be readily managed by discontinuing the new diet or dietary item that may have prompted it. Switching to a digestible GI diet can often help reduce gastritis.

Giving Bland Diet

When the time is right to reintroduce food to your feline, it is best to start with a plain meal.

Vets prescribe bland food when your cat’s digestive system is irritated and needs to relax. 4 It is intended to supply nutrients to your cat to aid its rehabilitation. 

So, what items can they eat on a plain diet? A popular dish is boiled white-fleshed chicken paired with cooked white rice.

The length of time you should keep your cat on a bland diet will vary according to his or her condition. That might take anywhere from a few hours to a week.

Many bland diets, however, may not supply all of the nourishment a cat requires to stay healthy. Your veterinarian can recommend a complete and nutritious plain diet if long-term feeding is required.

As previously said, your cat’s upset stomach might be due to dietary incompatibility. If that is the situation, switching to selective or stomach-sensitive cat food can help calm your cat’s tummy.

Sensitive stomach cat meals are designed to feed cats a balanced diet that is gentle on their gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

This type of cat food is usually highly digestible and may contain additives that support the growth of good gut flora.

Of course, if transitioning your cat to a stomach-sensitive cat food does not alleviate its problems, you should consult your veterinarian.



After analyzing your cat’s status, the doctor may recommend medicine to help soothe your cat’s stomach upset. The type of treatment will be determined by the veterinarian’s diagnosis.

If the upset stomach is a one-time event, physicians may prescribe a brief course of anti-nausea and/or anti-diarrheal medicine.

Cats with more severe instances may need to be hospitalized for observation and supportive care, such as hydration therapy and other treatments.

Antiemetic (anti-nausea) drugs are a useful treatment for gastritis symptoms.

Conventional anti-emetic drugs, such as metoclopramide, can increase intestinal motility and decrease nausea or vomiting in cats with stomach issues.

Modern drugs, such as maropitant, can decrease vomiting and nausea and treat stomach discomfort in cats with gastritis.

Gastritis caused by abnormal gastric juice production can be managed with various antacid medicines.

Oral medicines containing aluminum hydroxide and calcium carbonate neutralize stomach acid and reduce stomach lining inflammation.

Medicines such as famotidine and ranitidine work on the stomach’s acid-producing cells, regulating the quantity of acid produced.

For gastritis caused by a more systemic reason, such as kidney or liver illness, symptoms of an unsettled stomach, such as uneasiness, abdominal discomfort, and puking, can be addressed diagnostically using the above-mentioned drugs.

Yet, to properly treat gastritis symptoms, the underlying problem must be addressed.

Nevertheless, not all drugs designed to treat gastritis are suitable for use in cats. Several of these might be hazardous if administered at the wrong dose or setting.

If you feel your cat has an upset stomach, call your veterinarian first so that a diagnosis may be made and proper medication can be administered.


Probiotic pills may be beneficial if your cat’s unsettled stomach is caused by alterations in its intestinal bacteria population.

Probiotics are naturally occurring, beneficial bacteria that aid in the equilibrium of a cat’s gut microbiota (the numerous microorganisms that live in its intestinal tract).

When your cat becomes ill, it can cause a decrease in good bacteria and a rise in harmful bacteria in its intestines. This imbalance might aggravate or cause your cat’s stomach upset.

Probiotic supplements assist in boosting the number of good bacteria in your cat’s stomach, so using one may help your cat’s gut stabilize or prevent the issue from recurring.

When choosing a probiotic, choosing one that has undergone extensive study is critical. This is why asking your veterinarian for a recommendation rather than selecting a medication yourself is preferable.

Hairball Treatments


If a hairball causes your cat’s upset stomach, administering a hairball prescription may help it pass. There are several hairball remedies available.

Veterinarians frequently suggest over-the-counter flavored lubricant solutions (for example, Laxatone). Follow the advice on the label, and contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns or queries.

The solutions listed above may alleviate your cat’s upset stomach. Each one’s eligibility and efficacy will be determined by your cat’s overall health and the reason for its upset stomach.

If your cat’s upset stomach appears significant, or if you are concerned that your stomach difficulties indicate a more serious health issue, get veterinarian assistance as soon as possible.

Prevention of Upset Stomach In Cats


As the age-old expression goes, prevention is better than cure. Understanding the most prevalent causes of gastritis in cats will aid in preventing the ailment. It will also help you eliminate your anxiety as a pet parent.

Putting your cat on a strict, constant diet helps avoid indigestion, which can lead to stomach trouble. It’s better to feed your cat high-quality cat food that’s easy to digest and unlikely to cause an inflammatory response.

Placing cats on home-cooked food can also help avoid gastritis bouts, as long as the dish is well-formulated to meet the nutritional demands of a cat regularly.

Before beginning a home-cooked feeding plan for your pet, talk with your veterinarian or a veterinary dietitian.

To reduce the danger of gastritis, transitioning your cat from one kind of food to another should be done gradually.

Others argue that a seven-day diet change is adequate to avoid unpleasant food reactions that may cause an upset stomach, while many experts urge a month-long shift.

Spreading meals into small, regular pieces helps manage stomach acid production and reduce hyperacidity.

Finally, taking care of critical organs like the kidneys through appropriate nutrition and diet will aid in the prevention of stomach symptoms caused by various organ inadequacies.

When Should You Take Your Cat to a Vet?


As a pet parent, seeing an upset stomach in a cat may be stressful, and knowing how to proceed is not always simple.

Is it just a case of them eating excessive amounts of the best cat food, or is it something more severe that necessitates a trip to the vet?

Taking your cat to the doctor for an upset stomach is never a bad idea.

Cats are less prone than dogs to have minor 24-hour upset stomach instances, so be on the lookout if your cat has an upset stomach. The following should warrant a visit to the veterinarian:

  • More than 24 hours of gastric upset
  • Lack of energy
  • Water cannot be kept down
  • Inability to eat anything
  • Consumption of a known or suspected poison or foreign substance
  • Recurring stomach upsets (more than one episode every six months)

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you give a cat Pepto Bismol for an upset stomach?

Pepto Bismol causes a toxic reaction in cats, so you should never give your cat Pepto Bismol.

Can I give my cat yogurt for an upset stomach?

You can give your cat yogurt, so long as it is plain, unsugared, and low-fat.

Is milk good for cats with upset stomach?

Cats are lactose intolerant, so drinking milk may cause them more problems.

What Over The Counter (OTC) Medicine For A Cat’s Upset Stomach Can I Use?


Believe your intuition! Cats with upset tummies may be in danger and should never be ignored.

While some instances heal on their own, others may not and require medical attention or hospitalization.

But, if your veterinarian has ruled out significant disease, a gradual switch to a new diet may benefit some cats, with hydrolyzed, biome, and single-protein diets all effective in different situations. 

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