Is it normal for my cat to vomit?
There are many possible reasons why your cat may begin to vomit.
Some of the most common causes of upset stomachs in cats include a reaction to eating something bad, viruses and parasites, or more serious problems such as cancer or organ conditions.
Pet owners should be aware that if their cat vomits more than once per month or repeatedly, they should consult a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause.
What are some reasons why my cat might vomit?
Hairballs / Furballs
Hairballs (furballs) are clumps of undigested fur that form in your cat's stomach as a result of self-grooming. Long-haired cats and cats that groom excessively are prone to developing hairballs. Vomiting is frequently accompanied by hacking sounds and spasms if your cat is attempting to expel hairballs.
In the majority of cases, hairballs are easily brought up by cats, but if your cat is experiencing difficulties when trying to expel a hairball it's time to see a vet. Occasionally hairballs become trapped and can lead to intestinal blockages which may be fatal.
Eating Too Much & Too Quickly
If your cat consumes too much food too quickly, they will likely vomit shortly after eating. If your cat frequently eats quickly and then vomits, there are a variety of bowls designed to slow your cat's eating and prevent vomiting.
That said, vomiting right after eating could be an indication of a more serious health issue such as hairballs, a digestive tract obstruction, dehydration, or esophageal issues. If your cat frequently vomits right after eating, it's time to visit the vet.
What serious conditions could be affecting my cat?
It may be tempting to dismiss your cat's vomiting as normal feline behavior, but vomiting can indicate a serious underlying health condition. Among the most serious causes of vomiting in cats are the following:
- Intestinal foreign bodies
- Intestinal Parasites
- Food allergies
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Metabolic Disorder (ie: Kidney Disease)
When should I bring my cat to the vet?
If your cat vomits periodically or frequently, do not feed it for approximately 12 hours. During this brief fasting period, provide your cat with a couple tablespoons of water or ice cubes every 30 minutes. After 12 hours, feed your cat small portions of bland food and gradually resume 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
- Blood in vomit
- Weakness / Lethargy
- Pain / Distress
- Blood in stool
The Diagnosis For Cats That Are Vomiting
When taking your cat to the veterinarian for vomiting, it is advisable to bring a sample of your cat's vomit with you. The sample will allow your veterinarian to determine the cause of your cat's upset stomach.
Some of the things your vet may notice thanks to a sample of vomit are:
- 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 your vet notices that bile is present in your cat's vomit, it may be an indication of pancreatitis or inflammatory bowel disease.
- Red blood in vomit is a sign that your cat's stomach may be ulcerated.
- Strong smelling vomit may indicate that your cat has an intestinal obstruction.
Treatment For Cats That Are Vomiting
The treatment for feline vomiting will depend on the underlying cause of the condition. Depending on the underlying cause of your cat's symptoms, treatment could range from temporary food deprivation to surgery or chemotherapy.