Yes, a Bengal cat can have a sensitive stomach.

This can lead to health problems such as vomiting and/or diarrhoea if something upsets it.

In many cases this/these will be a one-off, nonserious event that needs minimal intervention or will remedy itself.

However, vomiting and diarrhoea can be symptoms of something that will need medical attention.

This article looks at the common causes of upset stomachs in Bengal cats and what you can do about each.

What You Will Discover

  • The main causes of vomiting and diarrhoea in Bengal cats
  • What you can do to prevent these from happening
  • A list of foods that should be avoided

Do Bengal Cats Have Sensitive Stomachs?

Anecdotally at least, it seems the Bengal cat does have a more sensitive stomach compared to other domestic breeds.

This could be because they are still a relatively new breed and therefore biologically closer to their wild ancestors.

And you won’t see an Asian leopard cat chewing on cat biscuits or trying to crack open a tin in the wild.

Scientifically however, I couldn’t find anything to back this up.

That doesn’t mean a Bengal cat does not have a sensitive stomach- it’s just there’s nothing scientifically to prove this, quite possibly because the hypothesis hasn’t been tested.

Causes Of An Upset Stomach In Bengal Cats

As mentioned, Bengal cats (anecdotally at least) are said to have more sensitive stomachs than other domesticated breeds.

All cat owners though, Bengal or otherwise, will have seen their cats vomit at some point.

Even though this is often quite normal in healthy cats, it can still be unpleasant at best.

Licking lips and body jerking as if trying to expel some kind of stomach demon.

If this is partnered with bouts of diarrhoea, then you really do have a hellish situation on your hands.

Let’s explore the main causes of upset to a Bengal cat and its sensitive stomach starting with your cat’s hunger or greed…

Reason #1: Your Bengal Cat Ate Its Food Too Quickly

A hungry cat eating from a bowl resembles a digger scooping soil into its buckets.

No sooner has cat food appeared before it disappears down the nearest furry gullet.

Although it is satisfying seeing what can often be a picky Bengal clearing its plate or bowl in seconds, it’s not so satisfying seeing that cat food reappear again minutes later on a floor or carpet.

If a cat eats quickly then there is a chance it will be sick and regurgitate whatever it was fed in an undigested form.

This can happen now and again and is nothing to worry about.

What You Can Do:

Monitor your cat to make sure this was just a one-off event.

Make sure your Bengal is fed appropriate amounts of food at appropriate times.

Most food manufacturers advise on their packaging how much should be fed, usually according to the weight of the cat.

Additionally, you can try feeding smaller amounts more often or supplementing main meals with the odd snack.

It’s not just speed of consumption that may cause vomiting, but also the amount…

Reason #2: Your Bengal Cat Ate Too Much Food

Cats are generally pretty good at regulating how much they eat, that is, they’ll eat enough to satiate them and no more.

But this isn’t always the case.

A particularly ravenous individual may eat more cat food that its stomach can handle in one go.

If so, it’ll soon vomit up much of what it consumed in an undigested form

This phenomenon may be more prevalent in homes with more than one cat where there is competition to eat as much as possible before a rival scoffs it.

As with a cat that vomits from eating too quickly, sickness from eating too much should just be monitored.

What You Can Do:

Alongside being watchful, you can ensure your Bengal cat is fed appropriate amounts (again as recommended by food manufacturers) to try and prevent it from eating too much.

This can be spread out across the day rather than being given in two sittings.

In multi-cat homes, try to feed each animal separately and at different times.

But what if kitty’s eaten something it, or its stomach, doesn’t agree with?

Reason #3: Your Bengal Cat Ate Something It’s Allergic Or Intolerant To

This reason may be particularly pertinent if you’ve recently made a change to your Bengal’s diet.

Like us, felines can show adverse reactions to particular food stuffs or substances in them.

Problems can arise in your Bengal cat and its sensitive stomach if new food can’t be tolerated or has been introduced too quickly.

And these problems may manifest as health problems such as sickness and diarrhoea.

Having said that, many Bengals will be fine and others will simply smell their (new) dinner and if deemed unpalatable, walk-away (after a quick- ‘what the hell is this?’ glance)

What You Can Do:

If getting a Bengal kitten, it’s good practice to continue feeding the same diet given by the breeder, certainly initially.

When introducing anything new (to a kitten or adult Bengal) do so slowly, mixing it in with the food its already familiar with.

If it’s being tolerated, you will eventually get to the point where this new food can be served on its own.

Monitor your cat during this time to see if it is sick or suffering from diarrhoea.

If it is and this continues, then resort back to the cat diet it’s familiar with and try something else applied in the same manner.

Additionally, Bengal cats should consume grain-free cat foods, although be wary of carbohydrate rich substitutes for grains (such as vegetables) that could be equally problematic.

However, cats don’t only put potentially stomach irritating cat foods into their mouths…

Reason #4: Your Bengal Cat Ate Something Harmless

Bengal cats are naturally inquisitive creatures which on the plus side is a sign of intelligence and helps them learn, but as a negative, can get them into a whole host of trouble.

The inquisitive nature of Bengals (particularly Bengal kittens) means they often put inedible items in their mouths- and not just toys.

Our Bengal has been seen licking up margarine, chewing on popcorn and rubber bands (amongst other things).

Most of the time, a cat will not swallow typically inedible items or food not intended for cats.

But sometimes, they do and these may or may not cause harm.

Additionally, if the food they’ve been given is off, it could cause a problem.

What You Can Do:

Firstly, you may not know what your cat has swallowed, and it may just turn up in its stool or vomit in complete or partly digested form.

Grass, for example, is commonly eaten by cats (which scientists believe is an inherited behaviour from a time when cats would eat grass to clear to clear parasites) and can cause them to vomit.

You may find (as we have) small pools of frothy, bubble laden, saliva-like fluid with blades of grass mixed into it.

This is perfectly normal (for them at least), and is nothing to do with a Bengal cat having a sensitive stomach.

If your cat tends to put small, potentially swallowable objects in its mouth, then do your best to keep these out of reach.

Easier than it sounds, I know.

Ensure any food is stored appropriately, especially if previously opened, and in date (if applicable).

Sometimes though, it may swallow food or an item that will cause a problem…

Reason #5: Your Bengal Cat Ate Something Harmful

It’s impossible to be around your cat 24 hours a day- you both have lives to lead.

There is much you can do around the home to prevent your cat from eating/ingesting harmful items and chemicals.

But you can’t legislate for their behaviour, or the behaviour of others, if or when your Bengal ventures outside.

Potentially harmful chemicals can take the form of weedkiller, paint or cleaning fluids which your cat may inadvertently ingest by licking their fur or paws.

Not only can this lead to vomiting and diarrhoea, but could be life threatening.

Sometimes a non-harmful object can become harmful if it is swallowed and becomes lodged somewhere in the gastrointestinal tract.

This in turn can cause a blockage and repeated bouts of vomiting or regurgitation.

What You Can Do:

If you have reason to believe your Bengal has ingested a toxic substance or has a blockage, then take it to the vet immediately.

Around the home (and your yard/garden) ensure your cat is kept away from recently bleached, painted or chemically sprayed surfaces.

Our next reason for an upset tummy can range from the very mild to the potentially fatal…

Reason #6: Your Bengal Cat Has An Illness

At some point, your Bengal will fall foul to some kind of illness.

Hopefully, having had all the necessary vaccinations (see the vaccinations section in Bengal Cat Scams: List of the Top 9 Things to Know to Avoid One), de-worming and flea treatments (if you let your cat out), any illness will be minor and short lived- you may not even notice.

This is because cats apparently generally try to appear healthy and strong by hiding any signs of sickness or weakness, as in the wild this would make them appear vulnerable to predators or rivals.

Hazel, our Bengal, has had the odd day or two where she seems to be off her food and not her normal boisterous self.

Fortunately, these bouts have not required intervention.

Common ailments that may cause vomiting and/or diarrhoea in cats include gastritis (tummy upset), worms and other parasitic infections from organisms like Giardia, Cryptosporidium and Tritrichomonas foetus.

Some of the more serious illnesses associated with vomiting and/or diarrhoea are listed below:


  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Triaditis
  • Hyperthyroidism (more common in older cats)
  • Kidney disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease


  • Bacterial gut infections such as Salmonella and Campylobacter
  • Viral infections such as Feline Panleucopenia Virus, Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP virus)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Cancer
  • Pancreatitis

What You Can Do:

If your cat has been sick and/or had diarrhoea alongside any of the common symptoms mentioned then take it to a vet.

Even if at any stage you’re unsure as to the cause, and it’s obviously not eaten too much/quickly or just chewed on a bit of grass, then again, a precautionary visit to a vet may be in order.

Parasitic infections can be prevented by applying relevant and regular de-worming medication. 

Illness in some shape or form is unavoidable but you can reduce the chances of your cat being seriously ill by maintaining its health (see How Long Do Bengal Cats Live? 12 Excellent Ways To Boost Life Expectancy) and acting as soon any anything untoward is spotted.

Bengals can also get stressed, and they don’t even have jobs to go to…

Reason #7: Your Bengal Cat Is Stressed

Yes, Bengal cats can and do get stressed.

Bengals can be especially sensitive to changes in their environment which include the following:

– the introduction of a new individual into the home (human or animal)

– living in a multi-cat household

– moving home/living in a new area

– an inadequate living environment

– a (perceived) territorial threat from an outside cat

– loud noises

Symptoms of stress do include vomiting and diarrhoea.

What You Can Do:

Look out for other symptoms of stress which you can find listed on the Cats Protection website.

Additionally, if your cat’s environment has changed in any of the ways mentioned, then stress could well be the cause of that upset stomach.

Some of these causes are more easily remedied- for example, you can make adjustments to the living environment to ensure your cat has all the resources it needs.

A chapter in the book ‘What Cats Want’ by Dr. Yuki Hattori gives tips and advice on how a room should be set up to meet all your cat’s needs.

Any new pets should be introduced slowly, and in stages to avoid conflict and stressful situations.

Apparently adult Bengals especially don’t like sharing with other cats so it may be that particular problem will never fully abate.

The next reason is one that is supposed to alleviate a problem…

Reason #8: Your Bengal Cat Is Experiencing Side Effects From Medication

At some point, your usually healthy Bengal may need medication.

Obviously, this will hopefully prove beneficial with regards to treating the specific ailment.

But medication can have side effects.

A Bengal cat with an upset tummy or diarrhoea could be two of these. 

What You Can Do:

An upset tummy with vomiting or diarrhoea that commences soon after medication is started could well be the result of that medication.

If you suspect new medicine is the problem, the simplest and best thing to do is consult your vet.

Our final reason may come as a bit of a surprise, although perhaps not when you think about it…

Reason #9: Your Bengal Cat Is Travel Sick

Travel sickness can be essentially a form of motion sickness.

This can sometimes affect a Bengal cat with a sensitive stomach as well as a human.

Therefore, trips in a car or transportation by ship or plane can make your cat sick.

However, it may not necessarily be the motion element of travel that makes your cat unwell.

It may be linked to a negative previous travel experience or fear caused being in an unfamiliar situation.

What You Can Do:

To avoid or limit the effects of travel sickness, it is important to allow your cat to acclimatise to being transported.

Obviously, this is far easier to achieve if you own the transport in question, and for most this will mean a car.

Start with small journeys and try to distract your cat with toys and strokes to keep it calm.

A blanket or something with scent from a familiar surrounding may also help ease the nerves.

For long trips, take breaks at regular intervals.

If your Bengal really can’t cope, seek the advice of a vet who may prescribe medication.


As mentioned, vomiting is common in cats. 

Diarrhoea, or certainly, looser stool can be one off events that return to normal fairly quickly.

The key with both is to recognise anything out of the ordinary and rule out obvious causes first- a change in diet, eating too fast etc.

If you can’t work out the cause, and vomiting/diarrhoea is repeated, or you’re simply unsure, then that’s the time to seek veterinary attention.

Other symptoms to be aware of (that could be a sign of something that may require medical intervention) and can appear alongside vomiting/diarrhoea include:

  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Lethargy
  • Pain/discomfort
  • Blood in stool or vomit
  • Vomiting with diarrhoea

Those Bengals at the extremes of age and with other medical conditions will need particular attention and observation.

Common Foods To Avoid

The following list contains foods (human foods at least) that cats should not consume.

It is by no means complete, but does list those which cropped up most often whilst researching this subject.

They range from those that contain minor irritation right up to those that can be fatal.

– Onions, garlic, chives, leeks and spring onions

– Chocolate

– Foods/Drinks containing caffeine

– Alcohol

– Grapes, raisins and currants

– Dairy products

– Cooked bones

– Raw eggs

– Nuts

– Spicy condiments

Foods To Think About

Raw Meat: Although a raw meat diet is considered by many to be ‘the best’ diet to feed a Bengal cat, there are risks to consider.

Any Bengal cat food diet must be balanced and a home-made, balanced raw meat diet can be hard to achieve.

A failure to do so can lead to health problems in future.

Additionally, there is a risk from microbial contamination.

For more on a raw meat cat diet and how to do one safely, visit this site.

Alternatively, read this guide to the best wet cat food for Bengals.

Note that raw pork should be avoided owing to a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, which can be harmful if passed onto humans.

Fish: Most cats love a bit of fish, but in general, it’s best to avoid it as many species now contain high levels of the metals lead or mercury which in the long run, can harm your cat.

Liver: A little piece now and again is fine but regular feeding of liver can cause health problems in bones and joints owing to vitamin A toxicity.

Garden and houseplants can be hazardous too, something we will touch on next…


Bengal cats aren’t herbivores or even omnivores and so vegetation is unlikely to become Bengal cat food-  unless it’s grass as we’ve mentioned.

However, they do like putting things in their mouths, especially as kittens- we’ve seen our Bengal bite leaves and play with foliage around the house.

Lots of plants can cause an upset tummy, can be toxic or worse to Bengals.

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has an extensive list of toxic and non-toxic plants.

If your Bengal has an upset tummy, it may be beneficial to monitor it…

Monitoring A Bengal With An Upset Stomach

Monitoring a Bengal cat with an upset stomach is not necessarily straight forward.

Typically, high energy, inquisitive cats aren’t going to like being confined, especially if they’re used to venturing outside.

However, for a short while, it may be best to confine your cat to area where you can keep an eye on it.

This is likely to be indoors.

Photo by Paul Hanaoka

Keep some water and a small amount of cat food (food known to not cause a problem) nearby.

There may be cause for playing with or providing toys to keep them entertained over the monitoring period.

There are no set rules with regards to how long to monitor your cat- it’s either until you’re happy that there’s nothing serious going on, have established a cause or you feel a vet’s opinion is necessary.

Again, if symptoms persist or are paired with those already listed, then medical intervention should be sought.


Nobody wants their Bengal cat to have an upset stomach- least of all the Bengal cat.

Cats do and will vomit and much of this is normal.

However, you may find your Bengal cat has a more sensitive stomach than other breeds.

The key is to notice anything out of the ordinary and establishing the root cause.

If vomiting and diarrhoea appear together or alongside other symptoms mentioned don’t be afraid to contact a vet. 

If you have reason to believe they have ingested something toxic or something has caused a blockage, again, the same applies.

Again, cats will be sick, and in the vast majority of cases, the only issue will be clearing it up afterwards.

Further Reading:

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