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What Is The Difference Between Vomiting And Regurgitation

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Vomiting is not always vomiting sometimes it is actually regurgitation, and knowing the difference can be helpful information for your veterinarian to help diagnose the cause. Regurgitation is often mistaken for vomiting, but unlike vomited food, regurgitated food has not yet been digested by stomach acids.

Vomiting is when the contents of the stomach, including food, water and/or bile, are ejected. Vomiting is an active process typically accompanied by nausea, retching, and contraction of the abdominal muscles . The cat will often vocalize, drool, or begin retching prior to vomiting.

Regurgitation, on the other hand, involves only the contents of the mouth or esophagus. Food and/or water or other ingested items do not make it to the stomach before they come back up, and there is no abdominal effort. Regurgitation is a passive process in which there is not vocalizing or retching: the cat just lowers their head and food, or other materials, fall out. Regurgitation often happens within 30 minutes to two hours after eating.

Certain Medications May Cause Cat Vomiting

If your cat is taking any kind of drugs or medication, or undergoing some kind of treatment, you should check to see if vomiting is a common side effect. Everything from a simple antibiotic to an intense round of chemotherapy can cause cat vomiting.

Its important to be aware of the side effects of any treatment for your cat so you can expect the side effects and avoid worry. Even if vomiting is a recognized side effect of your cats medication, you should still alert your veterinarian to the cats reaction in case there is another drug or treatment that might work better for your cats issue and wont cause them to vomit.

Causes Of Chronic Vomiting In Cats

There are many causes of chronic vomiting in cats. In some cases, it may be a result of intolerance to their diet or other types of intestinal upset. However, chronic vomiting may also be a sign of serious conditions like bacterial infections, obstruction of the intestine, the presence of a parasite in the digestive system, bowel disease, or certain types of cancer.

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Signs Of Vomiting And Diarrhoea

  • Nausea before the event: drooling, lip licking, excessive swallowing
  • Vomit: strong abdominal contractions and head nodding. Note the colour, volume, frequency, and when the last meal was
  • Diarrhoea: note the frequency, colour, consistency and look for signs of blood
  • Fever
  • Pale or cold gums, occasionally their gums or the whites of their eyes might look yellow
  • Quiet or lethargic
  • Poor appetite or refusing to eat

Treatment For Cat Vomiting

Cat Throwing Up: Causes, Symptoms &  Treatments

Typically, treatment for cat vomiting will involve withholding food and water until the vomiting has stopped. Then, pet parents will be advised to slowly reintroduce water and then a bland diet.

This treatment, however, is solely for vomiting. It is imperative that pet owners get to the bottom of what is causing the vomit so that the primary issue can be treated as well.

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Treating Your Cat For Throwing Up

If your cat is vomiting because of hairballs, try switching their food to one with a hairball formula. Cat food with hairball formula helps prevent hairballs from forming by breaking them down with specific enzymes.

If your cat is throwing up because they are overeating, you may need to monitor and change how much food youre giving them. You can buy a bowl that makes your cat work for their food and eat slower. You can also try giving your cat smaller portions more frequently through the day.

However, if your cat is throwing up several times a day or multiple days in a row, they may have another health issue that needs to be treated by a vet. Your vet will run tests to identify the underlying condition and may prescribe medication to treat it.

Signs Of Severe Pain Or Obvious Distress

Bring your kitty to an emergency vet immediately if you notice this one. Pain itself always warrants treatment, but it also can be a sign of more serious problems such as urinary obstruction or aortic thromboembolism . Symptoms of pain and distress include vocalizing , panting, hiding and overreacting to contact with a painful area.

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Cat Throwing Up Foam: What You Need To Know

When you find yourself woken in the middle of the night by the sound of a gagging or vomiting cat, it can be difficult to think clearly. You may go stumbling through the house, looking for signs of vomit, and only find a puddle of clear foam where your cat has thrown up.

There are many potential reasons that cats may throw up foam and each of these conditions requires its own unique diagnostic workup and treatment.

Eating Too Much Too Quickly

For the last 3 days, the cat fed the weak baby food, now it is coming on the best side.

If your cat eats too much, too quickly vomiting will likely result soon after they eat. 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 frequently vomits right after eating, a trip to the vet is required.

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Recovery Of Chronic Vomiting In Cats

Your cats prognosis will depend on the cause of the vomiting. In most cases of chronic vomiting that are not life threatening, the prognosis is good.

Be sure to follow all your vets instructions regarding treatment and recovery carefully. If your cat is on an antibiotic regimen, it is imperative that you administer the medication for the entire duration of the recommended treatment period. Failure to do so could result in aggressive recurrence of the infection and symptoms.

If your cat has had surgery, ensure that they do not irritate the surgery site. After any major operation or procedure, youll need to provide a warm, safe place for your cat to rest. Additionally, you should ensure that clean drinking water is always available and accessible. Before you make any changes to your cats diet, consult your vet first. They will be able to advise you on special dietary modifications.

Hairballs: A Common Cause Of Cat Vomiting

Even as a seasoned cat parent, it is important to understand the reasons behind cat vomiting. As cats age, their bodies change and vomiting may indicate something is abnormal..

Although cat vomiting might be due to eating a part of a houseplant or ingesting a piece of a toy, your cat can get an upset stomach from ingesting hair fromgrooming. This most often resurfaces as a hairball.

Although a cat vomiting up a hairball every so often is normal, there are times when you may need to be concerned. Hairballs shouldn’t be painful, frequent or difficult for your cat to pass. Untreated hairballs can also go the other way and cause painful intestinal blockages in extreme cases, according to Cornell Feline Health Center , so keep track of your cat’s normal routine and watch out for signs of constipation, lethargy, and anorexia if they have not passed a hairball in a while. If your cat has a consistent hairball problem, you might want to look into a cat food that is formulated for hairballs.

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Home Remedies For Cat Vomiting

Its best not to try to treat your cats vomiting at home without consulting your veterinarian first. Many causes of cat vomiting, such as a foreign body or obstruction, can cause severe damage or even death if not appropriately treated right away.

If your cats vomiting is simply due to hairballs, your veterinarian may recommend giving an over-the-counter hairball treatment daily to help the hair pass through your cats digestive tract.

Never give your cat any medicationseither prescription or over-the-counter products unless directed to do so by your veterinarian.

Causes Of Vomiting In Cats

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The causes of acute or chronic vomiting can be the same, but there are exceptions. Toxins are generally not a cause of chronic vomiting . Ingesting a foreign body is not normally a cause of chronic vomiting, although if the foreign object remains in the stomach, it can be a cause of chronic vomiting.

Unfortunately, vomiting is a very vague symptom, and the causes are extremely varied. In fact, almost any feline illness can result in vomiting. In general, the causes of vomiting can be placed in one of these categories: toxins, drugs, diet , gastric , intestinal, organ dysfunction, endocrine, neurologic , infectious and cancer. In each of these categories are dozens of specific diseases and syndromes. Some of the more common causes are listed below:

  • Toxins: Lilies, antifreeze
  • Diet: Dietary intolerance to something in food, sudden change in diet, eating a dead thing
  • Gastric: Foreign bodies, ulcers, inflammation of the stomach
  • Intestinal: Foreign bodies, acute inflammation, inflammatory bowel disease , cancer, constipation
  • Organ dysfunction: Liver disease, kidney disease, pancreatitis
  • Endocrine: Hyperthyroidism , elevated calcium, diabetes ketoacidosis
  • Neurologic: Vestibular disease , encephalitis , cancers
  • Infectious: Feline infectious peritonitis, feline panleukopenia, heartworm
  • Cancer: Can be a direct cause, such as intestinal cancer, or an indirect cause, such as mast cell tumors in the skin

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Sudden Paralysis Of The Hind End

While were on the subject of pain, this is one of the most truly painful cat emergencies: aortic thromboembolism, or ATE. ATE is a complication of heart disease in cats in which a blood clot lodges in the rear legs. It causes sudden paralysis of the hind end. Affected cats usually will pant, vocalize and show other signs of distress. It requires immediate veterinary attention.

Should I Call The Vet If My Cat Throws Up

You should call your veterinarian right away if:

  • Your cat vomits more than two to three times in a row.

  • Your cat has other symptoms, such as not eating and diarrhea. If your cat is also having diarrhea, it will be difficult to keep them hydrated without seeing your veterinarian.

  • Your cat does not eat or drink for 12 hours and has vomited several times in a row.

  • Your cat has already been diagnosed with an illnesses . This is an emergency, and your cat should be seen immediately, as this could mean that their disease is progressing. Early medical intervention is necessary in these patients, as they can become dehydrated very quickly.

  • Your cat has vomited a worm. You need to deworm your cat and any other animals in the household as soon as possible. It is also important to keep the environment clean and scoop the litter boxes several times a day to ensure that your pets do not get reinfected.

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Additional Symptoms To Look For

In many cases, vomiting is considered to be a non-specific symptom, making it challenging to diagnose a disorder solely on the presence of vomiting.

Thankfully, there are other clinical signs to look for in conjunction with cat vomiting:

  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Fluctuation in water intake

Furthermore, pet owners should monitor the frequency of the vomit and when it occurs

Is Vomiting Normal For Cats

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Just like their people, our feline friends can suffer from an upset tummy for a number of reasons.

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.

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Causes Of Vomiting And Diarrhea In Cats

Vomiting and diarrhea occur when the stomach and/or intestines become irritated or inflamed.

There are many causes, including:

  • Certain viruses, such as feline parvovirus
  • Dietary indiscretion
  • Swallowing an object that causes stomach or intestinal obstruction
  • Sudden changes in diet
  • Chronic disease, such as inflammatory bowel disease
  • Stress due to boarding or other change in environment or routine

Short Answer: Usually Eating Too Fast Or Too Much If You Cant Fix It Quickly Its Something Else

Regurgitation vs Vomit

Throwing up directly after eating is called regurgitation, and its different from vomiting. Rergurg doesnt involve the physical contraction of the stomach muscles that we typically associate with vomiting. Oftentimes, especially with dry food, it will come back up looking like a tube, completely undigested and looking like what you put in the bowl.

If regurg doesnt happen immediately after feeding, it may not be regurgitation even though the food looks undigested. The differences can be subtle. Vomiting and regurgitation also have different treatment plans. To be sure which is which, consult your vet.

Causes and Remedies

Its usually caused by eating too fast or too much and can be stopped by feeding less at once. Sometimes an open bowl of food left out while youre away for the day is the culprit. Taking that away can solve the issue. If you have multiple cats, separating them during feeding so that no one scarfs down the others leftovers also helps.

If it doesnt clear up quickly

Regurgitation should stop almost immediately if overeating is the cause. If it doesnt resolve quickly, there is an underlying, potentially serious issue, and you should contact your vet.

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Ways To Prevent Cat Vomiting

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.

After Your Cats First Vomit Monitor Them

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If your cat vomits once, the best course of action is to monitor them closely. Look for other symptoms, such as sneezing, loss of appetite, lethargy, diarrhea, constipation, or irregular bathroom habits. If your cat doesnt throw up again and continues with their normal behaviors, there is no need to raise the alarm or call your veterinarian.

You should still remember the date and other significant details about your cats vomiting, in case it becomes a chronic problem that happens weekly or monthly. If your cat vomits three or more times within a day or two, you should contact your veterinarian and pursue diagnosis and treatment.

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When To Make A Vet Appointment

If you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms, there are a few things you should consider.

How old is your cat? How is your cats overall health? Is there any chance they may have ingested something poisonous? How long has your cat been vomiting ?

We firmly believe that it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your beloved four-legged companion. Again, no vomiting should be considered normal.

If you have any reason to believe that your cats vomiting is a sign of something more severe, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Treatment Of Chronic Vomiting In Cats

The method of treatment will vary based on the cause of the vomiting. In almost all cases of chronic vomiting, your vet will suggest strictly feeding your cat a bland diet, often of boiled chicken and rice. However, your vet will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment based on the diagnosis.

Diet Intolerance

If the vomiting is a result of diet intolerance, the vet may prescribe anti-nausea and anti-vomiting medication in addition to dietary changes.


In many cases of chronic vomiting caused by disease, treatment may be more aggressive depending on the disease. Hospitalization and intravenous fluid therapy may be required to restore electrolytes and fluids lost during vomiting. In some cases, you may be able to treat your cat at home with the help of prescribed drugs.


Bacterial infections are often treated through the use of antibiotics. If parasites are present, these can be eradicated through the use of anti-parasitic or deworming medications.


If an x-ray or ultrasound shows an obstruction, removing it will generally require surgery. Your vet will discuss specific options with you, including anesthesia and recovery times based on the type of obstruction.


Depending on the location and stage of cancer, treatment methods may include surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment. Your vet will discuss your options with you based on your cats specific needs.

Worried about the cost of chronic-vomiting treatment?

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