Vomiting is certainly not an unusual behavior in cats, in fact, all cats will vomit now and again. That said, frequent or severe vomiting is not normal and may be a sign that your cat is suffering from something more serious than just an upset tummy. So how do you know when a trip to the vet is necessary? Our Santa Cruz vets explain
Why do cats vomit?
Like people, cats can suffer from an upset tummy for a variety of reasons. There are many possible causes for your cat's upset stomach including, viruses and parasites, a reaction to eating something bad, or more serious conditions such as cancer or organ problems.
If your cat vomits more often than once a month or keeps vomiting repeatedly, it's time to see your vet to determine the underlying cause of your cat's vomiting.
Reasons Your Cat May Be Vomiting
Hairballs are undigested, wads of fur that clump in your cat's stomach. Hairballs are especially common in longhair cats, and cats that groom excessively. Hacking noises and spasms commonly accompany vomiting when your cat is trying to rid itself of hairballs. Most hairballs are easily brought up by cats, but if your cat is having difficulties trying to expel a hairball it's time to see a vet. Trapped hairballs may lead to intestinal blockages that can be fatal.
Eating Too Much, Too Quickly
If your cat eats too much, too quickly vomiting will likely result soon after they eat. A number of fun cat bowls are available to help slow your cat's eating if your cat eats too quickly. That said, throwing up right after eating can be an indication of a more serious problem such as hairballs, dehydration, esophageal issues, or a digestive tract obstruction. If your cat frequently vomits right after eating, a trip to the vet is required.
Other Serious Conditions That May Cause Vomiting In Cats
- Intestinal foreign bodies
- Food allergies
- Intestinal Parasites
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Metabolic Disorder (ie: Kidney Disease)
When should I be concerned about my cat's vomiting?
For periodically or infrequent vomiting avoid giving your cat any food for about 12 hours. Provide your cat with a couple of tablespoons of water every 30 minutes or provide them with ice cubes during this brief fasting time. After 12 hours begin providing your cat with small amounts of bland food and gradually return to normal feeding if vomiting has stopped.
If your kitty is having repeated bouts of vomiting contact your vet immediately. Continuous or severe vomiting could be a sign that your cat is seriously ill and requires immediate treatment. Contact your vet if your cat displays any of the symptoms below:
- Repeated vomiting
- Blood in vomit
- Weakness / Lethargy
- Pain / Distress
- Blood in stool
How will the vet diagnose my cat's condition?
If you decide to take your cat to the vet due to vomiting, it's a good idea to take a sample of your cat's vomit with you. Your vet will be able to examine the sample to help determine the cause of your cat's upset stomach.
- Large amounts of mucus in your cat's stomach could indicate an inflamed intestine
- Undigested food can be an indication of poisoning, anxiety or simply a sign that your cat has eaten too much or too quickly.
- If bile is present in your cat's vomit, it may be an indication of pancreatitis or inflammatory bowel disease.
- Red blood is a sign that your cat's stomach may be ulcerated.
- An intestinal obstruction may cause your cat's vomit to have a strong smell.
What is the treatment for vomiting in cats?
Treating vomiting in cats focuses on treating the underlying problem. Depending on what has caused your kitty's symptoms, treatment can be as simple as temporarily withholding food or as complex as surgery or chemotherapy.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.