How Long Does It Take For A Cat To Digest Food?

You provide the best cat food to your cheerful kitten, always try to keep your cats away from human food, and keep them under yearly check-ups to the vet.

Still, you notice your cat does not feel hungry often, and you start missing your wooly partner during lunch hours. You can also apprehend that other pet owners feed their cats only once a day.

So, are you overfeeding your cat? Is your pet experiencing indigestion due to overeating? Frequent consumption of food along with digestive system disorder can cause indigestion in cats.

How long does it take for a cat to digest food?

Cats with proper digestive function can take 7-12 hours to digest the food after consumption. Since cats are a bit lazy and spend most of the day sleeping, their digestive system works slowly. The body size of cats is also responsible for this long digestion period. As the wooly pet is smaller in size, it takes a lengthy digestion process. During this phase, you will notice your cat will minimize the frequency of consumption. They will require a few calories at that time.

A healthy cat with no digestive and medical issues will eat no more than once or twice a day. It is because their body takes a long time to digest the food.

But if you notice your cat is not following the regular meal schedule and eats less than usual, it is probably experiencing a digestive issue. Digestive function disorder makes it difficult for your little pet to ingest the food.

But sometimes, it is not the digestive system to be blamed for the poor digestion rate.

Other health issues, like a blockage, can also cast effects on the digestive function and change how your pet eats. So, let us briefly talk about the digestion process of the cat.

Cats’ digestion process explained.

The digestive system of a cat is an assembly of multiple vital organs starting from mouth to anus. A healthy and aptly working digestive function shows its effect through sound health.

When it comes to the shape of the digestive system in a feline, you will see an interesting tubular arrangement connecting the mouth and the anus.

The system functioning aptly breaks down the food particles after every consumption of food.

It turns food into nutrient-rich particles so that it will be easy for the blood to absorb them.

A properly functioning digestive system also protects your cat from any harmful ingested components.

When a cat chews food in its mouth, the eventful voyage of the consumed particles starts.

The chewing process breaks down the food into tiny pieces and smoothly transfers those to the oropharynx.

The end of this oral pharynx connects to a hollow tube esophagus. Swallowed food uses this medium to reach the stomach.

When food reaches the stomach, the primary and vital work of the whole digestion procedure starts. Food particles get mixed with acids and enzymes in there.

Stomach walls produce a handful of potent acids and enzymes to turn food into proteins or fats. The food then travels through the pylorus to reach the liver.

There it gets mixed with yellowish bile and pancreatic fluid.

They neutralize the potent stomach acids, break down ultimate proteins, fats, and carbohydrates so that the bloodstream receives all these nutrients.

The intestinal lining or mucosa does the job of absorbing the broken-down nutrients and letting them mix into the bloodstream of your cat.

The food then reaches the large intestine, which sucks up all the nutrients and water left in the ingested food.

But what happens to the residual solid food particles? The large intestine provides room temporarily for these leftover components. Eventually, the particles excrete from the body through the anus.

Symptoms of a Blockage in your Cat

When your cat is enduring urinary tract blockages, it shows the same symptoms as improper digestive function.

Sometimes when your pet shows disinclination to its nutritious cat food, you think it is because of any digestive issue and start treating your cat regarding that particular medical problem.

You even reduce the meal number to ease up the digestion procedure.

But, when you take your fleecy partner to the vet, it comes out the little one is suffering from urinary tract blockage.

So, whenever you feel your pet is experiencing any discomfort, or something wrong with it, closely investigate the symptoms before landing on any conclusion.

Since you are no vet, you can feel perplexed. Even though this condition needs immediate medical treatment, you can primarily differentiate both illnesses by the urination issues.

If you see your cat is in pain or struggling while urinating, it can be urinary tract blockage.

Experienced veterinarians have shared some vital and common symptoms of urinary tract infection you can notice in your pet.

  • If you see your trained cat is not using the litter box frequently while urinating, the reason could be urinary tract blockage. Inappropriate urination is one of the primary symptoms of blockage.
  • If your cat takes more than adequate time in the litter box without urinating, there is a high probability that your pet is experiencing a blockage. This painful experience is even more arduous than you thought.
  • You can even notice some trace of blood in the urine of your cat.
  • If you see spotty urine, your cat is experiencing a urination infection. Spotty urination is easy to identify while scooping the litter box.

Any delay in this situation can lead to an unwanted turn in this severe medical condition.

So if you see any one of these symptoms in your cat, immediately seek medical help or contact any local vet.

How to know if your cat has digestive issues?

If your energetic little four-legged friend is suddenly acting a bit weird, you might start to panic.

It is natural to be worried about their health.

But as you are no vet with certified medical degrees, you cannot understand what is wrong with your cat.

Why is it behaving so weird? Since your furry pet cannot tell you what bothers it so much, you have to guess them carefully by watching some signs.

Many vets with years of experience have shared some vital symptoms cats show while having a digestion problem.

If your cat often goes through digestive problems, you cannot notice anything uncommon in it.

But when a cat with sound health is undergoing a digestive issue, you can identify that even on the very first day.

Improper digestion of food can lead your cat to act unusually. In that case, you can see the following changes in your cat.

Unwillingness to move

If you see a sudden change in your active kitty and notice a lethargic tendency in it, there is a high chance the feline is suffering from a digestive disorder.

Improper digestion makes the pet go through an uncomfortable feeling.

That is why vets often tell us that any sudden behavioral change in a cat tells us something is off.

Anorexia can be a result of a digestive disorder

When your cat cannot digest its food properly, it is definite that it does not feel so hungry for the next meal.

Your cat loves a nutritional fish snack and eats that at a specific time.

But you see an unexpected reluctance of your cat to its favorite fish food. So in this situation, do not delay providing your pet the best medical treatment available.

It could be both vomiting and diarrhea or only one.

When regular discretion of a cat is the symptom of sound health, irregular discharges also could be enough to make the pet owner worried.

If the digestive system of your cat does not function properly, it will experience diarrhea or vomiting.

Sometimes, you can even see both of these symptoms or constipation. It can tire your pet so much that the exhausted little one cannot even move.

Your fluffy kitty becomes thin day by day.

Even though losing extra pounds is helpful for both the pet and pet owner, a sudden weight loss in your cat can be unusual. If you notice the same in your pet, seek medical help for gastrointestinal disease.

Frequent fever

Frequent fevers could be the symptom of a digestive disorder.

While looking after a cat, if you notice, it often catches a fever, and the temperature does not go down smoothly could be because of improper digestion.

Any delay in seeking medical help in these conditions might lead to your cute kitty suffering more.

Assume having a stomach ache and being unable to do anything to improve the situation- your cat is feeling the same. Early treatment provides steady recovery.

How to improve a cat’s digestive system?

To improve the digestive system of a cat, it does not need to have a digestive disorder.

Even if your cat has a properly functioning digestive process, it needs proper care to ensure good health.

It would be like some bonus for your healthy cat to stay fit in the future. You can follow the secret tips we have gathered from different studies to give your cat a properly functioning digestive system.

Provide some extra nutrition

Although there are millions of nutritional cat foods available in the market, choose the one that improves the digestive disorder. Kittens are like toddlers, who have a strong reluctance to eat nutrient-rich food.

There is a high chance your pet will also show the same objection to the nutritional supplement you provide. So, you can trick your cat by mixing the supplement in its favorite food.


Vets often prescribe some medicines that promote apt digestion in the cat. These can come in different forms like tablets or tubular.

A feline diet

Follow a proper diet for your cat, and try not to skip any appointment with your vet. Only these two can assure sound health to the feline.

Bottom line

Any unusual behavior of your cat can lead you to panic for it. But there is no need to get worried if you contact your vet immediately. If the feline is showing any indigestion-related symptom, seek medical help at the earliest.