Intestinal problems

Gurgling Sound in Cat's Stomach

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: March 3, 2020
Gurgling Sound in Cat's Stomach

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The gurgling sound we hear from our stomach is often simply the sound of our digestion. It has the medical name of borborygmus and it is not unique to our species. We may hear similar gurgling sounds from our cat's stomach, sometimes more often than others. They can even be so loud they are funny, especially if you are trying to have an afternoon snooze with your feline pal and keep being woken by the bubbly sounds. However, although healthy borborygmus sounds are expected, if you hear them with too much frequency it could be a sign there is something amiss.

To find out more about the gurgling sound coming from a cat's stomach, AnimalWised takes a look at some possible causes so you can know what's normal and what might be concerning.

You may also be interested in: My Cat Has an Upset Stomach
  1. Feline digestion
  2. Parasites
  3. Digestive tract disorders
  4. Inflammatory bowel disease

Feline digestion

During normal digestive activity, noises are produced by gastrointestinal movement and its accompanying release of gas. After a cat has eaten it is possible to put your ear to their belly and listen to some soft borborygmi.

However, it is not only when the stomach is full that we can hear these noises. When a cat's belly is empty, similar gurgling sounds can be heard. This is because the gastric acid and gases being released are still active and the emptiness of the organ can reverberate their sound. If you are wont to spoil your cat as much as we do, it is unlikely a domestic cat with ready access to food will ever be in this position.

These borborygmus sounds can be amplified if the cat swallows a lot of air while it is eating. This could occur when we give them their favorite food which they gulp down too readily or in an anxious manner. If this happens regularly, you can help prevent it by giving your cat food in smaller, but more frequent portions.

Apart from the normal gurgling sounds we may expect to hear, there may be some which are of some concern. This may be when they are louder than usual, over a prolonged period or when they present together with a larger symptomology. We will see in the further sections whether this might mean trouble for your cat's gut.

Gurgling Sound in Cat's Stomach - Feline digestion


Sometimes, loud gurgling noises from your cat's stomach may not be commonplace digestion. They may indicate the presence of internal parasites. Parasites such as coccidia or giardia will also often cause diarrhea. Although, in healthy adult cats in particular, there may not actually be any symptoms of the parasitical presence. In animals which are particularly young, old or already sick, they can pose a serious threat as they restrict nutrients and can lead to dehydration.

Therefore, if your kitten is having regular digestive trouble with their stomach and/or intestines you should seek veterinary advice. Even if you have kept up your deworming schedule, parasites can still work their way in. This could be due to something they ate or being unlucky enough to be exposed to a parasite not covered by your deworming formula.

It is not always easy to identify a specific parasite. This is why repeat stool samples may be necessary. If you think your cat is emitting gurgling sounds due to parasites, then you need to ask your vet for the right formula. Not only will they be able to choose the best treatment, they can confirm infestation is indeed the case and rule out any other pathology which may be present.

Digestive tract disorders

In this section, we'll take a look at some of the disorders or conditions which can affect digestion. One of these may be the reason your cat is making those gurgling sounds:

  • Foreign body: although a more common problem to larger animals like dogs, cats are known to also swallow objects they shouldn't. Foreign bodies such as thread, string or pieces of plastic can obstruct their intestinal transit and lead to trouble. This isn't just gurgling noises. it can lead to reflux, discomfort or even perforation of the intestine. Therefore, if your cat has vomiting and a lack of appetite to add to their gurgling sound, then you should seek a vet's advice.
  • Malabsorption: this is the medical term for being unable to digest food properly at the point the nutrients should enter the bloodstream. There are several causes of this phenomenon. In addition to gastric noises, our cat might increase their food intake, but stay the same weight or even start to lose some. The same can happen with some parasites. It usually occurs due to pancreatic problems, but will need to be tended to by a doctor.
  • Indigestion: although more common in dogs, cats can also suffer from indigestion problems. If a cat has ready access to rich food (such as a neighbor who likes to spoil other people's pets) or they eat too much too quickly, it can lead to indigestion accompanied by loud bowel sounds. If the food gets stuck, it can lead to an impacted bowel which is not only loud, but can be very painful. It may naturally work itself out, but chronic indigestion will need medical intervention.
  • Dysbiosis: this is when the flora of a cat's digestive tract becomes altered. The microbial action of this flora is affected and there is an imbalance, sometimes leading to build up of gut flora which can be problematic. If this happens, gurgling sounds are only one of the possible problems. If this balance does not restore itself naturally, a vet must be consulted.

As we can see, if a cat's stomach rumbles with gurgling or bubbling sounds before or after eating, it is likely to be no cause for concern and will rectify itself in a short time. On the other hand, if these gurgling sounds from your cat's stomach are accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea or any other signs of discomfort, you should take them to the vet.

Inflammatory bowel disease

If your cat makes frequent bowel sounds over a prolonged period of time, there may be a pathology which affects the intestines present. When vomiting, weight loss or other symptoms also present, then it could be an inflammatory intestinal disease at fault. This is more common in older adult cats.

The symptoms can be mild and nonspecific, as well as not being easy to diagnose. This is why an endoscopy and/or biopsy might be required. This serves to ensure that inflammatory bowel disease is present and not some other pathology such as intestinal lymphoma. If the cat does test positive for inflammatory bowel disease then this likely explains the noises in the gut. As we can see, while gurgling noises from your cat's digestion are usually not a cause for concern, we need to pay attention in case something more threatening might be the cause of these sounds.

Gurgling Sound in Cat's Stomach - Inflammatory bowel disease

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Gurgling Sound in Cat's Stomach, we recommend you visit our Intestinal problems category.

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Cheryl Hughes
My 15yr old cat had her teeth cleaned under mild anaesthetic and fluids administered to help prevent possible renal failure and came home with a gurgling stomach, bubbling breathing and a stressful occasional cough but eating well. I can't find any information on these presenting problems associated with a simple dental clean under mild sedation. It's distressing for her and awful to watch when she coughs!?
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Gurgling Sound in Cat's Stomach