All cats will vomit on occasion, however, severe or frequent vomiting could be a sign that they are suffering from a more serious condition than just an upset tummy. Here, our Stuart vets share some of the possible causes of vomiting in cats and when you should take your kitty to the vet.
Vomiting in Cats
Just like humans, cats can experience an upset stomach for various reasons. There are many potential causes for your cat's upset tummy such as parasites, viruses, a reaction to something bad they ate, or more serious problems such as cancer or organ problems.
If your cat vomits more frequently than once a month or continues repeatedly vomiting, you need to take them to the vet to have the underlying cause diagnosed.
Possible Causes of Cat Vomiting
Hairballs are undigested, wads of fur that clump in your cat's stomach. Hairballs are more common in cats with long hair, and cats that groom excessively. Hacking noises and spasms typically accompany vomiting when your cat is trying to get rid of hairballs. Cats can usually bring up most hairballs easily, but if your cat is having difficulties trying to expel a hairball you need to take them to the vet. Trapped hairballs can cause intestinal blockages that could be fatal.
Eating Too Much, Too Fast
If your cat eats too much, too quickly they will probably vomit soon after they eat. There are many fun cat bowls available that can help slow down your cat's eating if your kitty eats too quickly. That said, throwing up right after eating could be a sign of a more serious problem such as hairballs, dehydration, esophageal issues, or a digestive tract obstruction. If your cat frequently vomits right after eating, they require a trip to the vet.
Other Serious Conditions That Could Make Cats Vomit
- Food allergies
- Intestinal Parasites
- Intestinal foreign bodies
- Metabolic Disorder (ie: Kidney Disease)
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
When To Worry About Your Cat's Vomiting
If your cat is vomiting periodically or infrequently, avoid giving them any food for about 12 hours. Give your kitty a couple of tablespoons of water every 30 minutes or provide them with ice cubes during their brief time of fasting. After 12 hours start offering your cat small amounts of bland food and gradually return to normal feeding if they have stopped vomiting.
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:
- Weakness / Lethargy
- Repeated vomiting
- Blood in vomit
- Blood in stool
- Pain / Distress
When taking your cat to the vet for vomiting, we recommend bringing a sample of your cat's vomit with you. Your vet will be able to evaluate the sample to help diagnose the cause of your cat's upset stomach.
- If bile is present in your cat's vomit, it may be an indication of pancreatitis or inflammatory bowel disease.
- Undigested food can be an indication of poisoning, anxiety, or simply a sign that your cat has eaten too much or too quickly.
- Large amounts of mucus in your cat's stomach could indicate an inflamed intestine
- An intestinal obstruction may cause your cat's vomit to have a strong smell.
- Red blood is a sign that your cat's stomach may be ulcerated.
Treatments for vomiting in cats focus 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. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.