All cats will vomit now and again, but frequent or severe vomiting may be a sign that your cat is suffering from something more serious than just an upset tummy. So what are the signs that you should take your cat to the vet?
My Cat Keeps Vomiting
Cats, like humans, can get upset stomachs for a variety of reasons. There are numerous potential causes for your cat's upset stomach, including viruses and parasites, a reaction to eating something bad, and more serious conditions such as cancer or organ problems.
If your cat vomits more often than once a month or if your cat keeps vomiting repeatedly, it's time to see your vet and determine the underlying cause of your cat's vomiting.
Reasons Your Cat May Be Vomiting
Hairballs are undigested clumps of fur in your cat's stomach. Hairballs are particularly common in longhair cats and cats who groom themselves excessively. When your cat is trying to get rid of hairballs, hacking noises and spasms are common. Most hairballs are easily brought up by cats, but if your cat is having difficulty expelling a hairball, it's time to consult a veterinarian. Hairballs that become trapped in the intestines can cause fatal blockages.
Eating Too Much, Too Quickly
If your cat eats too much too quickly, vomiting will likely result soon after eating. 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 keeps vomiting food 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)
What to Feed a Cat Who Keeps Vomiting
If your cat vomits on a regular or infrequent basis, do not feed him for at least 12 hours. During this brief fasting period, give your cat a couple of tablespoons of water every 30 minutes or ice cubes. After 12 hours, start giving your cat small amounts of bland food and gradually resume normal feeding if the vomiting has stopped.
When to be Concerned About Your Cat's Vomiting
If your cat is vomiting frequently, contact your veterinarian right away. Continuous or severe vomiting may indicate that your cat is seriously ill and requires immediate medical attention. If your cat exhibits any of the following symptoms, please contact your veterinarian:
- Repeated vomiting
- Blood in vomit
- Weakness / Lethargy
- Pain / Distress
- Blood in stool
When taking your cat to the vet for vomiting, bring a sample of his or her vomit with you. Your veterinarian will be able to examine the sample to help determine the source of your cat's stomach upset.
- 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.
- Intestinal obstruction may cause your cat's vomit to have a strong smell.
The treatment of vomiting in cats focuses on the underlying issue. Treatment can range from as simple as temporarily withholding food to as complex as surgery or chemotherapy, depending on what caused your cat's symptoms.