IBD in Cats: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Management

Saying goodbye to your lovely cat can be excruciating for you. But don’t forget, it can be a relief for it from ongoing terminal diseases like IBD also known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Still, the question arises when to euthanize a cat with IBD? Considering the strong relationship existing between you and the pets, you must seek help from veterans to help you out in your decisions and know when to euthanize a cat with IBD.

Undeniably, your responsibility is complicated and overwhelming. Still, you have to get ready to take charge of intervening in its lives and make the decision about how prolonged the life of your sick cat should be. The article will discuss various factors to decide the right time to wave goodbye to your dear cat. Moreover, you need to figure out what are the symptoms of euthanasia. Keep on reading, and you will get hold of all the essential details to help you decide.

when to euthanize a cat with ibd

Is Euthanasia of Cats justified?

You must be feeling too emotional seeing your cat in so much pain, but you must consider many factors. It is mandatory to break down the main issues. Read on to help you out in your decision-making process.

You should consider the problems of euthanasia mindfully before the time of the cats in IBD. Then, you will let your loved cat in long-suffering, which was avoidable. It is hard to bear such pain. IBD is a common issue in elderly cats and middle-aged cats. However, euthanasia is a way to end terminal diseases like Bladder Cancer, Brain Tumor, Feline Leukemia, FIP,  Hyperthyroidism, Liver Failure, Diabetes, Kidney Failure and remove the suffering of your beloved cat.

Although IBD in cats got no cure, you can manage the condition by providing successful treatments for a reasonable life expectancy of your cats. All you need to do is connect to a suitable vet, and you will notice a good prognosis of the cats going through IBD.

Perhaps you will prefer natural death over euthanasia. However, the cats suffering IBD can get relief if you plan for euthanasia to get over emotional and mental anguish. You should stop being ignorant or selfish to eradicate the miseries of your poor pet suffering from IBD.

You will find humane euthanasia is best for cats in IBD, but you must know when it is the time. An excellent and trustable relationship with the veterinarian can help you decide the time. Remind you these factors to determine the quality of life are helpful to decide on the time of final goodbye.

What is IBD?

It is an inflammatory condition that impacts the cat’s stomach and intestine. It happens that inflammatory cells invade the diet tract and thicken the linings and the stomach and intestines, making it hard for them to absorb nutrients properly. It creates an inability to absorb nutrients, but it can create chronic pain when the intestines are badly affected. It is seen as a foreign body trying to invade the body.

Medication for Cats in IBD

Subtle changes occur to indicate that something is getting wrong. Treatment of the IBD goes perfectly with Metronidazole, antibiotics, and steroids. For inflammation, the introduction of probiotics, antibiotics and vitamin B12 can be supportive medical treatment. However, in some of the cases, therapies like FMT (fecal microbiota transplantation) or acupuncture.

Therapeutic Diet

You can monitor your cat if the IBD is due to any allergy. Therefore, introduce a hypoallergenic diet for reducing the symptoms. Your vet may recommend adding more proteins or carbohydrates to its diet. It can be anything like a duck, venison or rabbit that it did not taste ever before. In some cases, vets recommend an easily digestible, high fibre and low fats diet to tackle the IBD issues.

Note: You can manage the IBD in your cats, but symptoms can return after some time, so you need to bring modifications to the diet and medications. Contact the vet and book an appointment for examination if the cat encounters relapse.

Symptoms of IBD in Cats:

The symptoms of IBD in cats can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Some common symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination

Diagnosis of IBD in Cats:

There is no single test that can diagnose IBD in cats. The diagnosis is made based on a combination of factors, including the cat’s history, physical examination, and laboratory tests.

Management of IBD in Cats:

There is no cure for IBD, but it can be managed with a combination of diet, medication, and lifestyle changes. The goal of treatment is to control the symptoms and improve the cat’s quality of life.

Prognosis for Cats with IBD:

The prognosis for cats with IBD varies depending on the severity of the condition. Some cats with IBD can live long and healthy lives with proper management. However, other cats may experience flare-ups of the condition that can be difficult to control.

Factors To Consider

Consider the following factors to find the right time for euthanasia.

Weight loss and Inability to gain weight

The cat loses weight due to many hormonal disorders, cancer, kidney diseases, and gastrointestinal issues. However, uncontrollable and severe weight loss in the cats in IBD will let you start to consider euthanasia.

However, if your cat remains happy and playful with you and interacts well, and still eats, indeed, your cat’s health has better quality currently even in IBD. But if the life’s quality decline you need to cater the issue differently in future. It can be the time of euthanizing your cat in IBD.


Cats have the common issue of vomiting. It is so common that, at times, their guardians find daily vomiting as part of their habit. If you see your cat vomiting hairballs one or more than that in a month, it is a clear indicator of IBD in your cat. Hairball medication usage and brushing frequently are preferable for the vomiting of cats in IBD.

But if this is not a controllable case, the cat may vomit hysterically in IBD due to feeling sick. Then, you should not take it as usual. It indicates for the next stage IBD in your cat. The warning bell will be ringing and alarming you to say goodbye to your cat.

Chronic Diarrhea

Diarrhea and chronic vomiting can occur due to hormonal imbalances like hypothyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease, and intestinal cancer. Despite diarrhea and chronic vomiting in IBD, if the cat does not respond well to the treatment, there is a red flag. Indeed, it is the right time to meet your veterinarian.

Blood in vomit and diarrhea in IBD is the other alarming sign for you about your cat’s health in IBD. Frequent vomiting and diarrhea can cause severe dehydration in the cat with IBD. Therefore, it loses too much weight. You have to prepare for the final goodbye because it is the lousy condition of the worsening of IBD in cats.

Slow and lethargic

You can sense your cat’s lethargic, weak, and lazy attitude in IBD, and if the issue persists, it is something severe and troublesome. At times, they feel dysenteric as well due to their underlying conditions. Please consult your vet for the best advice as it can be the indicator of IBD. If the cat fails to respond to your therapies and medication, you have to think about euthanizing your cat.

Inability to absorb nutrients

When the gastrointestinal linings get thicker in IBD, it creates an inability for the cats to absorb nutrients. The invasion of inflammatory cells thickens the gastrointestinal tract (GI). Therefore, it becomes hard for the cats in IBD to absorb all the required nutrients. It also turns hard for the food to move in the GI tract. It can make your kitty weak and indicate you decide to end the sufferings of your cat in IBD.

Feeling too much hungry

As the cats in IBD fail to absorb the nutrients in their body, they become too much hungry. Being all the time hungry, you must introduce B12 shots to control the appetite. But if it does not work out, you have to meet the vet for finalizing the uncontrolled hunger in IBD through euthanasia.

Loss Of Appetite

Some cats may never lose their appetite, but many frail or elderly cats and cats in pain or with IBD- terminal disease can stop eating. Their refusal to eat indicates the time for considering euthanasia, mainly in conjunction with terminal illnesses. Furthermore, if the stimulants introduced aren’t helping, then it is alarming.

If you introduced food and still your cat in IBD does not eat and lose weight, contact your vet for the final decision euthanization. Even force feed in the cats with IBD does not work well and inform you about the IBD turning out of control.

Unable To Move without Pain

Elderly cats have arthritis commonly. When they show reluctance or denial to jump or walk downstairs or up, these signs are related to the chronic pain of cats in IBD. However, these signs of arthritis-like more aggression when inflamed areas touched and not ready to groom has no connection to joint pains.

Moreover, inappropriate urination can also be a warning of worsening health conditions in cats with IBD. Not to forget, if you see your cat defecating and soiling outside its litter box, you must count it as a serious thing. The cat in IBD will find it challenging and painful to move in and out of that litter box.

Cats can undergo painful conditions due to bladder inflammation as well. It can occur due to dental pain, gut pain, and stress. The best part is you can treat all these painful conditions with an excellent response to pain medicines.

Despite trying all the medications and therapies, you see no improvement or success in the cat’s condition with IBD. It is the right time to think of euthanasia for the severe and terminal disease of the cat. Get ready to say goodbye. You can perform this euthanization procedure yourself to save cost, but it is better to leave it to a professional or vet.

Advice: It is the right time to say goodbye when the cat has fewer good days than the bad days.

Wrap Up

It is better to decide with the help of a vet well before time. Instead of passing on good days and waiting too much, and making it late. It can be detrimental and increase the suffering and the decline of the cats in IBD.

Sometimes the prognosis of the cats in IBD will be grave even with the treatment or without it. You will feel the financial burden on your shoulders due to the emergency bills of their vets. Therefore, in such situations, euthanasia is better to end their suffering.

You can look for palliative care and pain management along with advice from the vets. Ultimately, you will decide to select when to euthanize a cat with IBD. After all, you know well about your cat instead of others. All you need to do is trust your decision and seek support. Think of the end of honoring by ending the painful sufferings of your cat.


This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have any concerns about your cat’s health, please consult with your veterinarian.

The information in this article is based on the author’s research and understanding of IBD in cats. However, the author is not a veterinarian and cannot provide medical advice.

The author has tried to be as accurate as possible in this article, but the information may not be complete or up-to-date. The author encourages readers to do their own research and to consult with their veterinarian before making any changes to their cat’s diet or treatment plan.

The author is not responsible for any adverse effects that may result from following the information in this article.

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