There are many reasons why a cat may vomit, and while it may not always be concerning there are moments that you may want to consider seeking care for your cat. Today, our Tracy vets share some of the common reasons why your cat may be vomiting and when you should bring them to see a vet.
Is it normal for my cat to vomit?
There are many possible reasons why your cat may begin to vomit.
Some of the most common causes of upset stomach in cats include a reaction to eating something bad, viruses and parasites, or more serious problems such as cancer or organ conditions.
Pet parents should be aware that 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.
What are some reasons why my cat might vomit?
Hairballs / Furballs
Hairballs (furballs) are undigested, wads of fur that clump in your cat's stomach as a result of the cat's self-grooming. Hairballs are especially common in longhair cats, and cats that groom excessively. Hacking noises and spasms commonly accompany vomiting if your cat is trying to rid itself of hairballs.
In the majority of cases, hairballs are easily brought up by cats, but if your cat is experiencing difficulties when trying to expel a hairball it's time to see a vet. Occasionally hairballs become trapped and can lead to intestinal blockages which may be fatal.
Eating Too Much & Too Quickly
If your kitty eats too much food, too quickly, vomiting will likely result soon after they eat. If your cat often eats quickly then vomits, there are many fun cat bowls available to help slow your cat's eating and help to prevent vomiting.
That said, vomiting right after eating could be an indication of a more serious health issue such as hairballs, a digestive tract obstruction, dehydration, or esophageal issues. If your cat frequently vomits right after eating, it's time to visit the vet.
What Serious Conditions Could Be Affecting My Cat?
It can be tempting to dismiss your cat's vomiting as normal cat behavior, however, vomiting can be a symptom of a serious underlying health condition. A few of the more serious causes of vomiting in cat include:
- Intestinal foreign bodies
- Intestinal Parasites
- Food allergies
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Metabolic Disorder (ie: Kidney Disease)
When Should I Bring My Cat To The Vet?
If your cat is vomiting periodically or infrequently, avoid giving your cat any food for about 12 hours. Provide kitty with a couple of tablespoons of water every 30 minutes or provide them with ice cubes during this brief fasting period. 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 experiencing repeated bouts of vomiting, you should 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
The Diagnosis For Cats That Are Vomiting
When taking your cat to the vet due to vomiting, it may sound 'icky' but 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.
Some of the things your vet may notice thanks to a sample of vomit are:
- 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 your vet notices that bile is present in your cat's vomit, it may be an indication of pancreatitis or inflammatory bowel disease.
- Red blood in vomit is a sign that your cat's stomach may be ulcerated.
- Strong smelling vomit may indicate that your cat has an intestinal obstruction.
Treatment For Cats That Are Vomiting
When it comes to treating vomiting in cats, the treatment will depend upon the underlying cause of the problem. Depending on what's causing your cat's symptoms, treatment could be as simple as temporarily withholding food, or as complex as surgery or chemotherapy.