Symptoms of Intestinal Blockage in Kittens

Written by paul parsons
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Symptoms of Intestinal Blockage in Kittens
Kittens will chew and swallow anything. (kitten image by Annika from

Kittens and younger cats do not really concern themselves with what they swallow: string, Christmas tinsel, feathers, hair balls and even their own faeces are all fair game. These foreign objects can cause digestive problems in your kitten, some of which may cause extreme sickness. Though less common, kittens can also experience various other intestinal troubles, such as parasites, tumours, hernias or a condition known as intussusceptions, a condition in which the bowel basically turns inside out. If your kitten experiences any of the following symptoms, bring her to your veterinarian as soon as possible.


Intestinal blockage usually results from the accumulation of ingested solids and fluids in the intestines. The kitten's first instinct will be to vomit. One of the primary symptoms, vomiting can occasionally aid the kitten in getting enough of whatever she ingested up, or in some cases, halfway up. When you can actually see some of the object in her mouth, resist the temptation do not pull it out. Attempting to pull out the object, especially strings and the like, might cut up the intestines. Damaging the protective linings of the intestine can cause toxins to enter the blood. Let your veterinarian handle this. Additionally, watch for vomiting after the kitten eats. Dependent on the location of the blockage, continued vomiting might result in considerable dehydration.

Symptoms of Intestinal Blockage in Kittens
Vomiting can be a sign of a problem. (sick and poor kitten waiting for your assistance image by Vladimir Melnik from

Lack of Bowel Movements

Intestinal blockage can be total or partial. In partial obstructions, the kitten might display intermittent symptoms, often more subtlely than if she has a total obstruction. With a total obstruction, signs will be obvious and dramatic. The part of the intestinal tract affected, the duration of the obstruction and whether the blockage is total or partial will affect the severity of the kitten's symptoms. With the various types of blockage come varying degrees of bowel problems. If the kitten has a complete obstruction, she cannot have a bowel movement or even release gas. You might also notice thick mucus in the rectum, or in lesser cases diarrhoea, either continuous or intermittent.

Symptoms of Intestinal Blockage in Kittens
No pooping can mean an intestinal blockage. (kitty image by Aleksander from

Abdominal Swelling and Pain

Other symptoms might include your kitten unexpectedly hissing when picked up or touched or seeming lethargic and reluctant to move. She might adopt a hunched-up position and cry out due to belly pain. These symptoms result as the kitten's intestines try to pass the obstruction. Especially in the case of such things as string, the intestines will become bunched up and allow leakage of intestinal contents into the abdominal cavity. This is very dangerous as an infection can develop quickly, and, without emergency surgery, can cause death.

Symptoms of Intestinal Blockage in Kittens
Abdominal swelling can be another sign of a kitty problem. (kitten laying around image by Tasha from

Other Symptoms

Other symptoms sometimes that accompany this illness can include: fever, display straining behaviour, lack of appetite, dehydration, weight loss and even depression. You can beat this affliction if you detect the signs early and a veterinarian begins treatment immediately. Treatment usually involves surgery to remove the blockage in addition to any other procedures necessary to alleviate secondary effects such as dehydration. Bottom line: When in doubt take a trip to your veterinarian. It could save your kitten's life.

Symptoms of Intestinal Blockage in Kittens
Take care of your kitty. (mean kitty image by Stephen Orsillo from

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