Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Cat That Keeps Throwing Up

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What Can I Give My Cat For Vomiting

Why Do Cats Throw Up?

There are no over-the-counter medications that can be safely administered to a vomiting cat. If your cat vomits multiple times within a period of a week, contact your veterinarian to schedule an appointment for a physical examination. Your veterinarian will look for the underlying cause of your cats vomiting and may be able to prescribe anti-nausea drugs, if appropriate.

Strategies For Reducing Hairballs That Cause Vomiting

If your kitty tends to throw up hairballs often, there are some steps that you can take to help reduce this type of vomiting. For example, you can help her out by brushing her daily to remove excess fur that shed otherwise swallow while grooming herself.

You might even consider adding a small amount of olive oil to your pets food. A teaspoon per week may help your kittys digestion and help her pass the hair through her stool, rather than throwing it up. As an alternative, you might try a teaspoon of melted butter added to your pets food, which will serve the same purpose as the olive oil.

Yet another option is pure canned pumpkin, which can also be added to your pets food to help keep her digestion system running smoothly, and to keep those hairballs moving through.

My Cat Is Vomiting Up Foam

As cat parents, weve all come across this, and perhaps wondered why cat vomit includes foam. It is also accompanied by a hacking sound that sounds like your cat is in distress or choking. While this may be linked to stomach inflammation or a change of diet, it may also be the precursor to throwing up a hairball. Youll see this if theres a mass of hair, and what usually happens is that the liquid foam is thrown up first.

Inflammatory bowel disease in cats will also cause your cat to vomit up foam. Cats that suffer from indigestion with vomit up yellow and white foam. Reducing feed to smaller amounts throughout the day may be beneficial with this condition. That said, if your cat is throwing up bile or blood with white foam, youll need to consult with your veterinarian.

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What Should I Do If My Cat Is Vomiting Undigested Food

Some cat owners may describe their cat as ‘puke-y’, but it should be noted that frequent vomiting is never normal for a cat. Vomiting more than once a week is definitely a sign of problem. If your cat is vomiting up undigested food, begin to feed with puzzle toys and/or feed them smaller amounts more frequently. If you continue to notice your cat is vomiting undigested several times and/or in conjunction with other symptoms such as lack of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, or diarrhea, you should make an appointment with your vet right away.

Your vet will want to start with a physical exam, checking your cat’s vital signs and palpating your cat’s abdomen. After a thorough examination, your vet may also want to run some tests, including blood work and X-rays. Blood work will check your cat’s organ function, making sure that there are no signs of liver disease or kidney disease, as well as your cat’s red blood cell and platelet levels. An X-ray study will check for any fluid in the abdomen that could potentially be blood and it may also show intestinal gas patterns that could be indicative of a blockage.

Depending on what your doctor finds, your cat may require hospitalization for fluid therapy and supportive care, or they may just need outpatient treatments and oral medications to go home on. If your vet suspects your cat has an intestinal blockage your cat may require surgery to remove whatever the blockage is.

Why Do Cats Vomit

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There are many possible causes of throwing up in cats, including:

  • Eating something they shouldnt have .
  • Food allergies and food sensitivities.
  • Eating too fast .
  • Pregnancy.
  • An internal problem such as kidney disease or liver disease, constipation, or hormonal imbalances.
  • Swallowing an object that got stuck in the stomach or intestines this typically requires surgery.
  • Certain cancers.

Causes of vomiting can range from nothing to worry about to very serious, even life-threatening. So, when in doubt, its wise to bring your furry friend to the vet to know for sure.

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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

More Serious Causes For Vomiting

These are some of the more serious causes, where vomiting occurs on a more regular basis

Ingestion of foreign bodies

Cats are more particular about what they eat than dogs but we do occasionally see cats with blockages. Cotton or string can cause a blockage or trauma to the gut.

Ingestion of certain toxins

We see fewer toxicities in cats because of their fussy nature, with a few exceptions.

Some cats like to nibble on grass. If unavailable, or out of boredom, they may eat house plants such as Dieffenbachia and lilies which are toxic. Ask your vet before bringing new plants into your house or garden.

Cats like the taste of antifreeze but its especially toxic to them. Never use it in ornamental water features, keep bottles secure and labelled, and wipe up spills immediately. Vomiting, increased thirst, lethargy and lack of appetite may be signs of ingestion. Ingestion is usually not witnessed, partly why its often fatal. Call your vet immediately if you suspect ingestion.

Food allergies or new foods

Not all foods suit all cats and any diet change should be slow, taking at least a week. Its also thought some cats may actually be allergic to certain proteins in foods. If your vet suspects this, they may recommend a hypoallergenic diet using hydrolysed proteins. These are proteins that are broken down into very small pieces so are highly unlikely to cause an allergic reaction.

Parasites roundworms, tapeworms and fleas

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What Do I Do If My Cat Is Sick

If your cat is sick once or twice but appears otherwise well, remove their food for a few hours, then feed small amounts of a highly digestible food such as chicken, or a prescription diet from your vet. Allow them constant access to a small amount of water. After 24 hours go back to your usual routine.

How Is Vomiting In Cats Treated

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Treatment usually depends on what was causing the vomiting in the first place. So, in addition to a physical exam, your veterinarian may recommend blood tests and X-rays. This will help your vet get to the bottom of the issue sooner, to prevent dangerous complications and deliver more efficient treatment.

And if all the tests come back normal? Well, then youll have good news and peace of mind.

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What Other Treatment Or Diagnostic Testing May Be Required

If the vomiting is severe or if your veterinarian suspects a serious underlying problem, such as kidney or liver disease, more aggressive treatment may be required. It may be necessary to hospitalize your cat for intravenous fluid therapy to combat dehydration and correct any imbalances in the levels of electrolytes. In some cases, it may be necessary to administer injections to control the vomiting. In less severe cases, you may be able to treat your cat at home. You may be asked to administer fluids and special solutions at home, and if this is the case, you will be shown how to do this. You must be patient, giving only small quantities at frequent intervals. If your cat becomes distressed by home treatment, contact your veterinarian for further instructions.

“If the vomiting is severe, more aggressive treatment may be required.”

Additional diagnostic tests may be required in cases of chronic vomiting, or when the cat has been vomiting for more than two to three weeks, even though the vomiting may be intermittent and the cat may appear otherwise well. In these cases, the underlying cause must be determined in order to treat the problem appropriately. Some of the more commonly used tests are:

Blood tests may show evidence of infections, kidney and liver problems, thyroid disease, or diabetes, and may provide other clues leading to the diagnosis.

See handout “Testing for Vomitingâ for a more in-depth discussion of what other tests your veterinarian might perform.

How Do I Know If I Should Take 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

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What To Look For In Cat Food For Vomiting

Unless you already know what ingredients your cat is reacting to, you may need to do an elimination diet. This involves feeding your cat a limited ingredient diet made with a novel source of protein for 8 to 12 weeks until all signs of sensitivity resolve.

This is generally the best course of action to take if you suspect a food allergy to a specific ingredient. If you suspect the issue is more related to the quality of the food, an elimination diet may not be needed.

Here are some things to look for in a good cat food for vomiting:

  • Made with wholesome, natural ingredients
  • Real source of animal-based protein
  • Moderate healthy fat content
  • Low carb content, easily digestible carbs
  • Free from by-products and low-quality fillers
  • No artificial additives like colors, flavors, or preservatives

Generally speaking, the shorter the ingredients list the better. If a commercial cat food has a long list of ingredients, theres more for your cat to react to.

For foods with long lists of synthetic supplements at the end, you might want to question the quality of the main ingredients. Low-quality cat foods often have long lists of supplements because the nutritional integrity of the main ingredients becomes compromised during processing . Natural sources of nutrients are always preferable.

Ways To Prevent Cat Vomiting

Humorous Pet Photography

Wouldn’t all pet parents love to know the secret to eliminating vomiting? Or even a way to train your cat not to do it on your bed or carpet? Unfortunately, there’s no magic word. But there are a few things you can try to ease your cleanup and your kitty’s discomfort.

If your cat is vomiting hairballs, make sure to brush your cat regularly, keeping themactive and feed a food with balanced nutrition that is designed to help cats with hairballs.

To help keep your cats stomach happy, give them the type and amount of food recommended by your vet and have clean, fresh water available at all times. If your cat eats too quickly you can try a puzzle feeder or a dry food with large, crunchy pieces to slow them down. If your veterinarian recommends medications or therapeutic foods, it will be important to follow their instruction in order to keep your cat healthy. \ Be sure your cat sees the vet regularly and discuss your concerns.

Though cleaning up messes and bodily fluids is something all pet parents will experience at some point, following these tips and knowing when to seek the help of a professional can hopefully make these experiences few and far between.

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Why Is My Cat Being Sick

Anything that irritates your cats stomach or prevents the contents of their stomach from moving through the digestive tract can cause vomiting. Reasons for a cat being sick include hair balls, eating too much or too quickly, eating new or unusual food, an allergic reaction to food and parasites. Other causes include gastrointestinal conditions, pancreatitis, heat stroke and ingesting poisonous substances. While some of these issues are mild, others will require emergency veterinary treatment.

Why is my cat being sick? is one of the most common questions our vets are asked. Short-term cat vomiting is generally for a mild reason and not a massive cause for concern, especially if your cats health is otherwise fine. This may be down to a mild tummy upset.

Long-term or severe cat vomiting is a far bigger concern and if your cat keeps throwing up or you think its something to worry about you should contact your vet or, out of hours, your nearest Vets Now pet emergency clinic, straight away.

If its not an emergency but you would like some advice you can book an online video consultation with our vets between 8am and 11pm every day. Learn more here.

A Symptom Of A Bigger Problem What Causes Vomiting In Cats

Sometimes cats will eat too fast, and this causes them to vomit, and to have anupset stomach. Regurgitation is a passive motion where you cat expels fluid and food that has not been digested. Most times this has a cylindrical shape like that of the esophagus.

Also, as cats are meticulous groomers, they will swallow some of the loose hair from their coat. That said, hair cannot be digested, so it will stick together in the stomach, and form a hairball. Most times your cat will throw this up. Nonetheless, it can also build up into a dense mass, and could block the digestive tract causing a serious medical problem.

Regurgitation may not seem to be an issue, and a veterinary consult will allow for an accurate diagnosis to rule out the following conditions:

  • Dehydration
  • Disorders of the stomach and intestines like inflammation
  • Constipation
  • Parasitic infections

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A Barfing Cat: Heres What Your Vet Will Do

Your vet will most likely perform various tests such as X-rays, blood tests, sonograms, or a fecal examination to make a diagnosis. This will also depend on your cats age, their medical history, and their specific symptoms.

Veterinarians will typically recommend removing food and water until vomiting has stopped for at least two hours. Then, slowly introduce water followed by a bland diet such as rice, cooked, skinless chicken, and boiled potatoes.

Some situations will require antiemetics-drugs or fluid therapy in order to help the vomiting.

In the event your cats vomiting is due to food allergies, your veterinarian may suggest removing different ingredients from your cats diet in order to find the culprit. If your cat is vomiting up their dry food, your vet could recommend switching foods to see if that helps.

While sometimes scary, cat vomiting is quite common and often harmless. They could be vomiting simply because they are eating too quickly or have a hairball. However, vomiting can also be a sign of something more serious. If they are consistently throwing up or throwing up blood, its time to take your cat to the vet.

Do I Need To Bring My Cat To The Vet For Vomiting

Cat throwing up in slow motion

Vomiting in cats is not normal, but neither does all vomit warrant a trip to the vet. Here is a simple diagram to help you decide if a vet visit is necessary.

The diagram isnt perfect, and if you think your cats vomiting doesnt fit in here, be safe and call your vet.

The more information we have about your cat the better, but here is a list of some things you can do prior to your visit:

  • Write down your cats feeding habits. What types and what brands of food are you feeding? How much? How often?

  • Take a picture of the puke. Gross? Yes, but incredibly useful.

  • Take note of how many times your cat has vomited in the last week with approximate times after eating if possible.

  • Make sure your kitty has fresh water to drink. Vomiting is dehydrating.

  • Question about the diet

    First, your vet is going to ask you for all of the information in the what should I do before an appointment section. For the most productive visit, come prepared with that information.

    Thorough examination

    Once in the room, your vet will thoroughly examine your cat for signs of blockages, masses, and constipation, unfortunately though, examinations dont tell us much about the state of your cats kidneys, blood glucose, thyroid, or intestines.

    Diagnostic testing



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    Your Vet Will Know If You Need To Be Worried

    Keep in mind that vomiting is a symptom, not a disease. If your healthy kitty occasionally vomits, your vet might say that it isnt anything to worry about. On the other hand, if your cat is vomiting a lot or showing other symptoms, your veterinarian can help by diagnosing the cause and recommending the appropriate treatments to help your pet feel good again.

    Lisa Selvaggio

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