Causes of Inflammation in Cats

Inflammation occurs when the body senses injury, infection, or other irritants and sends white blood cells to the area as protection. In cats, inflammation can cause them to be lethargic, dehydrated, and reluctant to eat their food.

The best way to help with your cat’s inflammation is to make them as comfortable as you can in order to ease their pain. Maybe get him a comfy bed or take him to get a pet massage. Below is a list of reasons your cat may have inflammation.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

If your cat has chronic diarrhea, has been vomiting frequently, or both, he may have inflammatory bowel disease. IBD is caused by a particular reaction to chronic irritation when inflammatory cells, called lymphocytes and plasmacytes, invade the wall of the stomach and/or intestines.

IBD is most commonly diagnosed in middle-aged to older cats. Weight loss, fatigue, and blood in stool are additional signs that your cat may have IBD.


Pancreatitis can also cause inflammation in your pet. Unlike dogs, pancreatitis in cats has nothing to do with nutritional factors. Pancreatitis in your cat can occur due to a multitude of factors, including medications you are giving him, diseases, abdominal trauma, infections, and diabetes.

Cats with more severe pancreatitis can develop heart arrhythmias, sepsis, and disseminated intravascular coagulation. Your cat may have pancreatitis if he’s showing signs of fever, weight loss, and fatigue.


One of the most well known causes of inflammation in cats is arthritis. Cartilage forms a cushion between the bones at a joint, and as your cat ages, the cartilage starts to deteriorate and becomes less flexible. Other causes of arthritis in cats include injury, dislocation of joints, infection, and weight gain.


Encephalitis is a fancy word for brain inflammation. Brain inflammation can be caused by immune-mediated disorders, foreign bodies, and infections brought about by viruses, bacteria, fungus, or parasites.


This type of cancer can sometimes be mistaken for feline IBD, as many of the symptoms are similar. Lymphoma usually affects cats’ GI tract, mediastinum, and lymph nodes. However, it can affect any part of your cat’s body.

Polymyositis and Dermatomyositis

Both of these conditions are generalized inflammatory disorders. Polymyositis is caused by muscle damage, which turns into inflammation. Dermatomyositis is a type of polymyositis, but with this condition, you will usually find skin lesions on your cat. Dermatomyositis can be misidentified as a cat skin problem, but similar to polymyositis, the inflammation is located within the muscles. Immune-mediated infections, drugs, and cancer can cause polymyositis or dermatomyositis in your pet.

Autoimmune Diseases

Sometimes cats’ bodies sense something is wrong when there in fact is nothing wrong. This is the case with autoimmune diseases. The body thinks there is an injury, so it starts sending white blood cells to the “infected area” to fight off foreign bodies when there is nothing there.

These white blood cells start eating away at the body’s normal tissues, assuming that they are the foreign bodies. Spending too much time in the sun or getting exposed to UV light can cause autoimmune diseases in cats.


Eye inflammation is caused by a variety of different viruses and bacteria. Purebred cats and cats who are exposed to other cats are most likely to suffer from conjunctivitis. However, inflammation in your cat’s eyes does not always mean he is suffering from conjunctivitis. Allergies as well as contact with foreign objects may also cause inflammation in your cat’s eyes.

Understanding Inflammation in Cats

It’s important to remember that not all forms of inflammation are bad. After all, inflammation is the body’s natural way of protecting itself and getting rid of foreign objects in the body. Unfortunately, many types of inflammation in cats cause appetite loss, lethargy, and behavioral changes.

How to Reduce Inflammation in Cats

In order to reduce inflammation in your cat, ensure that he is comfortable and well-fed. Put their food, water, and litterbox in a place that is easy for them to access. You can also call your vet and ask for suggestions, as there are specific methods for relieving pain depending on the health concern.

Giving your pet non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is another option that many vets recommend. However, avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, and paracetamol/acetaminophen as they can be highly toxic to cats. Remember to call your vet to make sure the NSAIDs you want to give your cat are safe.

How to Avoid Inflammation

Some types of inflammation can be avoided while others cannot. The easiest way to make sure your pet doesn’t suffer from inflammation is by keeping them healthy. Feed him a nutritious diet, make sure he drinks sufficient water, and play with him regularly to ensure that he gets plenty of exercise!

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