How Will My Veterinarian Decide What Type Of Testing And Treatment Is Necessary
Features that you may be able to identify that will help the veterinarian decide whether symptomatic treatment or further investigations are appropriate include:
- if your cat is depressed, lethargic, or has a fever
- if your cat is eating
- if there has been weight loss
- if there has been any blood in the vomit
- if there is any pain or distress, particularly affecting the abdomen
- whether normal feces are being passed, or if your cat has diarrhea or constipation
- what is the frequency and amount of vomiting
- what is the relationship of vomiting to feeding
- whether there is any offensive odor or abnormal color to the vomit
- what your cat has been fed and if there has been a recent change in diet
- whether your cat has any access to other foods or other substances
- whether any treatment or supplements have been given recently
- whether any other cats in the household are affected
When Is Vomiting Considered An Emergency
Stop all food and water and call the veterinarian when:
- Vomiting persists for more than 24 hours and the cat is neither eating or drinking.
- Vomiting occurs when the cat attempts to eat or drink.
- Vomiting is accompanied by diarrhea.
- Cat is vomiting fresh blood or brown material .
- Cat is weak, lethargic or shows signs of illness.
When To Contact Your Vet
It may not be necessary to see your vet each time your cat vomits , but it is important to monitor them and call your vet for advice if they vomit more than once, seem unwell, or have any other symptoms. Contact your vet straight away if your cat has been vomiting for more than 24 hours, is unable to keep food or water down, is very young or old, is otherwise unwell, or has any of the following symptoms:
- Has eaten something they shouldnt have
- Has pale gums
- Is drinking or peeing more than usual
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Is It Time To Seek Professional Help
Although you might be able to help your cat overcome periodic vomiting due to minor stomach issues, if your cat is experiencing any of the above symptoms, then you might want seek the help of your veterinarian. An experienced veterinarian will be able to determine the best course of action in order to diagnose and then treat whatever ails your fluffy friend. By reviewing your cats medical history and performing a thorough examination, a veterinarian can choose the most appropriate tests to perform to get to the root of the problem.
Eating Too Much Too Quickly
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 catâs 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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I Have 2 Kitties And One Of Them Throws Up A Ton I Know People Say That Cats Throw Up It’s No Big Deal Why Do Cats Vomit
Most cat owners have experienced the unpleasant surprise of finding a pile of cat vomit. Fortunately, at my house I have two dogs to clean up the mess! Before we discuss vomiting, we have to discuss the differences between vomiting and regurgitation. Vomiting is an active process that involves stomach noise, retching and heaving before the food is expelled from your cat’s mouth. Regurgitation is a passive process where the food just pops out, often undigested in a tube or cigar shape. There are several reasons for cats to regurgitate or vomit:
- Gorging Cats that eat too much too fast may regurgitate from triggering a stretch reflex in the stomach. These cats regurgitate right after eating and the food is undigested in a tubular shape. It can also look like a round pile of undigested food.
- Hairballs Cats spend a lot of time grooming. In the process, they eat a lot of hair. Some cats are able to pass hair through their digestive tract into their stools. For other cats the hairball grows in the stomach until it causes irritation and is vomited up. Hairballs look like vomit mixed with hair.
Grassor other foreign bodies If a cat eats something other than food such as grass, leaves, plastic or a hair band, it may lead to vomiting. Obviously in this type of vomit you will see some non-food item that was probably the cause of that vomit.
- Constipation Cats that pass a dry hard stool every few days may be constipated and vomit from feeling bloated and plugged up.
Veterinarian Examination And Testing
The next step is a thorough physical exam by your veterinarian. The veterinarian can look for things such as abdominal pain, masses in the abdomen or elsewhere, an obvious foreign body , evidence of weight loss, a heart murmur, an enlarged thyroid gland and a fever. Again, the exam can help determine which, if any, diagnostics are needed.
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In Conclusion Theres No Need To Worry If Your Cat Regurgitates Has Hairballs Or Even Vomits Digested Foodoccasionally
But if your cat is throwing up regularly or her vomiting is accompanied by other symptoms of illness, its time to contact the veterinarian. Causes of vomiting range from inconsequential to deadly and it can be hard to know where your cats condition sits on that spectrum.
If you dont have access to a veterinarian, consider getting a free veterinarian consultation from PetCoach.co. Through PetCoachs veterinarian consultation service, you can reach out to verified pet experts and receive personalized advice based on your cats unique situation.
Youll still want to visit an emergency clinic if your cat has been vomiting or having diarrhea for a day or more or exhibits any other symptoms of serious illness.
More resources to help you find out why your cat is throwing up:
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.
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Your Cat Has Food Allergies
This means that the food has gone through a special process that breaks the protein down into individual amino acid components. This is effective as it prevents the catâs immune system from figuring out that the food contains an allergen. The result is that the cat will not have an allergy flare-up.
If youâre wondering where to find hydrolyzed food for your cat, Pawp veterinarian Dr. Laura Robinson recommends shopping at your veterinary clinic or most major pet stores.
âOnline pet pharmacies are also a great place to look,â Dr. Robinson added, âAlthough, remember to factor in shipping costs if youâre comparing prices.â
How Often Do Cats Vomit
We used to think that some cats were just pukers but we now know that chronic vomiting is a sign of an underlying problem. Its normal for cats to have the occasional hairball due to their fastidious grooming behaviors, but vomiting thats not related to hairballs is a sign of a medical issue.
If your cat vomits multiple times in a day or if you notice an increase in the frequency of vomiting, its best to discuss the problem with your veterinarian.
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Diagnosing The Cause Of Vomiting
It can be difficult to diagnose the cause of vomiting in a cat. Most cases of acute vomiting are transient and improve with just symptomatic therapy and time. However, a basic workup is often recommended to ensure that a more serious problem is not going on.
The starting point in determining the cause of vomiting is getting an accurate history. Here are some questions your vet might have:
- Was the cat exposed to plants and other toxins?
- When did the vomiting start?
- What is the cats normal diet?
- Does the cat go outside and if so, does the cat hunt?
- What is in the vomit?
- Is the cat on medication?
- Is there also diarrhea?
- When does the vomiting occur ?
- Is the cat losing weight?
- Is the cat drinking a lot or urinating a lot?
- Does the cat play with string?
Based on the answers to these questions, your veterinarian will have a better idea of which diagnostics, if any, to use. What the vomit looks like does not give a definitive answer about why the cat is vomiting, but it can give the vet a place to begin looking. Though by no means a perfect correlation, the following vomit characteristics can offer some clues:
A Word Of Warning When It Comes To Cat Vomiting
Cat vomiting can also be caused by poisoning or by very serious diseases. If you suspect your cat has eaten something toxic, call your vet right away for first-aid instructions. If your cats vomit is bloody or black like coffee grounds, get to the vet immediately. If your cat is vomiting every day, refusing to eat or drink, acting weird or isnt grooming properly, call the vet and get him in for an appointment as soon as possible.
Tell us: Do you have a cat who frequently vomits? How do you handle cat vomiting? Please share your experiences in the comments!
Thumbnail: Photography by Valery Kudryavtsev/Thinkstock.
This piece was originally published in 2013.
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Why Do Cats Vomit
There are many possible causes of throwing up in cats, including:
- Eating something they shouldnt have .
- Food allergies and food sensitivities.
- Eating too fast .
- 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.
Allergic To Food Ingredients
Cats can develop food allergies at any stage of life. Food that was previously fine can suddenly make a cat feel unwell, seemingly without warning.
Vomiting suggests that an ingredient in the meal is to blame. As the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine explains, youll need to check the ingredients of the food and source alternatives with different contents.
It is also possible that your cat has developed an allergy to its bowl. Plastic allergies are common in cats. Serve your pets meal on cardboard or a china plate. If this stops your cat from vomiting, the vessel was the problem.
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Your Cat Ate Too Quickly
Itâs possible that the reason that your cat is regurgitating food is that they simply ate their meal too rapidly. If you find this is occurring over and over, take note of how long it takes your pet to eat. This observation could be valuable when you bring the issue up to the vet.
Instead, try to give your cat their food by using a food puzzle. This will allow them to slow down and take their time consuming their meal instead of guzzling it down. In addition to that, your cat will find the food puzzle to be enjoyable and amusing.
Sometimes, you can even find a food puzzle that will stimulate the catâs foraging and predatory instincts, too shop around to find the one that is right for your pet. This will also help you sort out if the speed that your pet is eating their food is the culprit. If you have transitioned your cat to a food puzzle and they have slowed their eating speed and are still getting sick, itâs time to chat with a vet.
Is My Cats Vomiting An Emergency
The most important question we need to answer is: Should I stop reading this article and take my cat to the ER? If your cat is experiencing any of the following, go to the emergency room:
Cant keep down any food or water. Vomiting many times per day.
Vomiting what looks like coffee grounds
The greatest health risks, all of which are rare, that are associated with vomiting are bleeding, obstruction of the digestive system, and severe dehydration. Thats what this list is trying to address.
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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.
When Should I Worry About My Cat Vomiting
We start to worry about cats being sick when theyve vomited frequently in a single day or a couple of times over a few days. Its also a cause for concern when they stop eating altogether or will try and eat but bring the food and water back up. This can be considered an emergency because your cat isnt able to keep anything down and can quickly become dehydrated and lead to an issue with sugar. If your cats vomiting is accompanied by any other symptoms such as lethargy, diarrhoea or pale gums, if theres blood in their vomit or theyre showing signs of pain, dont delay in contacting your vet.
- Allergic reaction to a food
- Heat stroke
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There Are Many Reasons For A Cat To Throw Up:
One of the Most Common Reasons for Vomiting in Cats is DietIts important if your cat is vomiting regularly to address diet as a central cause. A poor quality, rendered diet could be a contributor. Feeding the same type of protein, even if its high quality, can ultimately result in GI inflammation and food allergies. So its not just about the quality of the protein, but also about switching proteins frequently.
Treats and Milk as Potential CulpritsAnother area to look at is kitty treats. When you look at the label on your cats treats and see they contain things like propylene glycol, FDC red #4, ethoxyquin, chemical dyes or emulsifiers, surfactants, and other stuff you cant pronounce. All those additives, preservatives and just plain junk can cause GI inflammation and vomiting.
Last but not least is milk. Your kitty doesnt have the enzymes required to break down the milk sugar in cows milk his pancreas doesnt secrete the lactase necessary to break down the lactose in cows milk.
Does Your Cat Gobble Up Every Meal?If your kitty eats too fast, it can cause regurgitation of undigested food shortly after its consumed. Slowing down gobbling will help. You may need to split her meals into smaller portions and feed her more often so the food doesnt come right back up. If you have more than one kitty, try separating them during feeding time.
If you suspect your pet has ingested a poison, you should immediately call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at 1-888-426-4435.
Treating Cat Vomit At Home
A vomiting cat can become dehydrated very quickly, so it is best not to try and use home remedies first because most over-the-counter medication is not suitable or easily administered to a nauseous cat. Also, human anti-emetics are not appropriate for cats rather, consult your vet for medication.
If the cause is simply due to hairballs, you can consider over-the-counter hairball treatments, pastes, or even a hairball diet. However, a new diet needs to be introduced gradually to avoid upsetting the GI tract.
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What Are The Main Causes Of A Cat Being Sick
While cats dont have the same reputation as dogs for scavenging, some do habitually eat things they shouldnt.
Common causes of cats being sick include swallowing foreign objects such as pieces of string, rubber bands and ribbons, dangerous human foods such as onions and chocolate, and poisonous substances such as antifreeze, plants and human medications.
Internal parasites and serious diseases such as cancer or diabetes are also reasons for cats throwing up. If your cat is being sick regularly, there may be an underlying problem that will need to be diagnosed by your veterinarian.