Signs and Symptoms of Stomach Ulcers in Cats

Updated November 21, 2016

Stomach ulcers can develop in cats from excessive amounts of gastric acid in the stomach. Gastric acid build-up can occur due to infections, intestinal parasites or medications the cat may be taking. Ulcers are often an indication of another underlying health issue. Owners who suspect their cat may be suffering from a stomach ulcer should contact a veterinarian immediately.

Changes in Appetite

One common sign of a feline stomach ulcer is loss of appetite. The cat may not be hungry or interested in food due to the pain and discomfort caused by the stomach ulcer.


Stomach ulcers can cause bleeding in the stomach, which leads to digested blood passing through the gastrointestinal tract. When this occurs, the faeces are often a darker colour than normal. Bleeding can be so severe that the faeces may be pitch black.


Behavioural changes, such as becoming more lethargic, may occur in cats suffering from a gastric ulcer due to general pain and discomfort. The owner may notice a decrease in activity, loss of interest in favourite activities or weakness in general.

Heart Rate

While the activity level of a cat with a gastric ulcer may be down, the heart rate may be elevated. This is a clinical sign that can only be verified at the veterinarian's office during an examination.


Anemia indicates a low blood cell count, which may occur in cats with stomach ulcers. Pale gums are the most common and easily identified symptom of anaemia, though the cat may also become lethargic.


Abdominal pain is not unusual in a cat with a stomach ulcer. The cat may shy away from being petted or getting a belly rub. For some cats, the pain may be so severe that they may even attack the owner’s advances for petting by growling or hissing.


Occasional vomiting is not uncommon in cats. However, chronic vomiting is a symptom of a feline stomach ulcer. Owners should take note of the colour and consistency of the vomit and report these observations to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

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