Pancreatitis in cats may be caused by several factors. Here are some to consider:
1) Inflammatory Bowel Disease – It is thought that bacteria migrate into the pancreas, triggering an infection which leads to inflammation.
2) Trauma – When I interned at the Animal Medical Center in New York City, I saw several cats develop pancreatitis after falling out of their high-rise apartment windows. Now I see it develop occasionally after cats are hit by a car.
3) Toxin exposure, especially organophosphates used in the garden as insecticides.
4) Other reported causes that I have yet to observe – Feline distemper, toxoplasmosis and drug induced although this seems to occur more frequently in dogs on azathioprine.
The really frustrating thing about pancreatitis is that I often never find a definitive cause. I personally think it is most often related to diet, especially the long-term use of high carbohydrate, grain based diets. Hopefully research will provide answers soon.