While most cats will vomit occasionally, frequent or severe vomiting can indicate your cat is suffering from something more serious than an upset tummy. Our Lacey vets share some signs that you should bring your pet in.
Similar to people, a cat's stomach may be upset for many reasons. There are several possible contributing causes, such as a reaction to eating something that didn't agree with them, viruses or parasites, or more serious reactions such as issues with organs or cancer.
If your cat vomits more often than once a month, or continues to vomit repeatedly, it's time to see your vet to identify the underlying cause of your cat's vomiting.
Reasons Your Cat Might Be Vomiting
Eating Too Much, Too Quickly
If your cat eats excessively in too little time, vomiting will likely occur soon after they eat. If your cat eats too quickly, are numerous fun cat bowls on the market to help slow your cat's eating. That said, throwing up soon after eating may point to a more serious problems such as dehydration, digestive tract obstruction, hairballs or esophageal issues. If your cat frequently vomits right after eating, you'll need to see your vet.
These undigested wads of fur can accumulate in your cat's stomach. Especially common for longhaired cats and cats that groom excessively, if your cat is trying to rid itself of hairballs you'll likely hear hacking noises and the stomach will spasm. While most hairballs are easily brought up if your cat is having difficulties attempting to expel a hairball you'll need to see your vet. Trapped hairballs can lead to intestinal blockages that can be fatal.
Other Serious Conditions That Can Cause Vomiting in Cats
- Intestinal foreign bodies
- Food allergies
- Intestinal Parasites
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Metabolic Disorder (ie: Kidney Disease)
When To Worry About Your Cat's Vomiting
If your cat is vomiting periodically or infrequently, avoid giving your cat any food for approximately 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 cat 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
When taking 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.
Treatment of vomiting in cats focuses on treating the underlying problem. Depending on what has caused your cat'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.