A sagging or drooping belly in a cat can be an alarming symptom to many cat lovers, and it’s only natural to suspect cancer as a possible cause – such as cancer of the bowels or stomach.

Can Cancer Cause a Cat’s Belly to Sag or Hang Low?

Well, here’s the thing. Cancer CAN cause a cat’s belly to become swollen or distended.

However, there’s may be a visual difference between a swollen or distended belly and one that simply sags and appears flabby.

But in some cases it can be difficult to tell the difference, depending on the extent of the condition.

Cancer Can Swell a Cat’s Belly

What makes the “sagging” belly highly suspect for cancer is if it’s had a rather sudden onset rather than gradual, and the cat is middle age and especially senior.

The abdominal distension, however, isn’t always sudden. Cancer can cause it to grow gradually in size.

There may be no other symptoms, making the situation even more vexing to the cat owner – who may then dismiss the issue.

But eventually other symptoms will start presenting such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy and fur loss.

The stomach distension is caused by fluid buildup (called ascites – pronounced “uh-sight-eeze”) that’s generated by the cancer.

In addition to cancer, the appearance of a bloated belly can be caused by a host of other serious conditions such as an infection.

No Cancer or Other Disease

“Depending on your breed of cat, a sagging belly can be perfectly normal,” says world-renowned integrative veterinarian Carol Osborne, DVM, at Chagrin Falls Pet Clinic, and creator of PAAWS: Pet Anti-Aging Wellness System for dogs and cats.

“Some experts believe sagging bellies are a remnant from when cats were wild and had to hunt for their food. I.e., the sagging belly would allow the cats to eat a much larger meal than if they did not have the pouch.”

Think of cats in the wild – lions, cheetahs, jaguars, panthers, etc., who never know when their next meal is coming.

They are genetically hardwired to gorge. This is why lions will have extremely bloated bellies after a feast – so bloated they must rest or sleep it off for hours. A naturally sagging belly allows lots of room for gorging.

Dr. Osborne adds, “Overeating is another common cause of a sagging belly on your cat, if your cat is a chow hound then consult with your veterinarian on changing your cat’s diet to help correct the problem.”

An overweight cat will appear chubby all over, not just in the belly.

If you’re not sure whether the sagging belly in your cat is natural or even from too much food, versus cancer or some other medical condition, you can call Dr. Osborne’s clinic for further information at (866)-372-2765.

Dr. Osborne is a world-renowned integrative veterinarian and a pioneer in anti-aging medicine and longevity research for pets. She holds dog and cat scientific patents.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.