Vomiting in Cats: When to Worry – Cat Mama

Posted: September 3, 2020 by Anita

vomiting in cats

The cat’s throwing up, and you’re not sure why?  That is a concern that cat parents face every day.  And who hasn’t accidentally stepped in cat vomit and panicked?

No cat owner likes seeing their cat sick.  Since your cat can’t tell you what’s wrong, it’s up to you to figure out the why and how.  Most likely, the episode of vomiting will pass and your cat will be normal again.

But is there something you could have done to keep the vomiting from happening?

In this article, I discuss:

  • reasons cats throw up
  • what to look for when your cat keeps throwing up
  • vomiting in cats – treatment
  • vomiting in cats – when to worry

Why is my cat throwing up

As a  first-time cat owner, you might ask, “Is it normal for cats to throw up?  Well, let’s talk about it …

What causes cats to vomit?  Most of the time when a cat vomits there’s nothing to worry about.  But if you happen to see your cat drooling (cats don’t usually drool) and heaving check to see if maybe it’s caused by:

1. Eating too fast or too much

Have you ever wondered “why is my cat throwing up undigested food”? When a cat throws up after eating it could be due to his stomach walls expanding too fast causing the brain to send signals to the stomach to regurgitate.

Is your cat throwing up or regurgitating

Regurgitation in cats looks different than vomiting in cats. When a cat regurgitates it brings up food and maybe some liquid from the esophagus by opening the mouth. Vomiting involves gagging and retching – which looks kinda different.

  • vomiting involves contractions of abdomen
  • regurgitation is more passive – no contraction of abdomen
  • regurgitation usually occurs after eating or drinking

Home remedies for cats vomiting after eating

Eating too fast or too much can be fixed with behavioral changes and perhaps a switch in diet.  Try the following behavioral modification:

  • Try offering a few treats before your cat starts eating their cat food.  This will stall them a bit, allowing them to calm down, and it will take the edge off the hunger.
  • Allow the cat to calm down after vigorous playing by speaking to them in a calming voice, then petting them once, then offering them one treat.  Keep up the calm voice, then pet your cat twice when you see the cat starting to calm down.  Offer two treats; keep up the cycle until your cat has calmed down enough to eat.
  • stop free feeding your cat. Instead, schedule feeding and control portions of cat food
  • If the vomiting persists or gets worse, please take your cat to the Vet.

Does your cat have health insurance?  I love the plans through Pets Best!  Monthly premiums are affordable, offer routine care coverage, and Vet Direct Pay (where available).  For more information, click here.

2. Hairball

A hairball is a damp, cylindrical wad of undigested hair, moistened by bile and other digestive fluids.

Cats can take in a lot of hair inside their digestive tract because of their constant self-grooming or cleaning of their fur.  Most of the time, the hair will pass through and is pooped out.

However, if your cat is vomiting bile along with hair, it can be caused by hairballs.

Hairball remedy

You can cut down on the number of hairballs your cat throws up by brushing/combing your cat 3-4 times a week. 

Brushing and combing cut down on the number of stray hairs disgested by your cat, thus decreasing the number of hairballs. 

Some vets also suggest switching the cat to a diet that has more fiber or a hairball formula. I recommend Iams Proactive Hairball Care Dry Cat Food; click here for more information.

May I also suggest Temptations Hairball Control Treats? Click here for more information from Chewy.com. Temptations Hairball treats are good in the prevention of hairballs in cats. And they help control tartar buildup on your cat’s teeth.

3.Curiosity that leads to ingestion of a foriegn body

Cats are curious little beings. One of the ways they interact with the world is through tasting it. Sometimes this can lead to cats ingesting stuff that’s not good for them.

Things like string, toy parts, and feathers can lodge in the stomach or intestine, making a cat vomit a lot.

If your cat happens to ingest a foreign object take him to a veterinarian immediately. Surgery might be necessary to remove the object.

Preventing foriegn bodies in cats

Keep tempting items and objects away from your cat. Make sure that all toys are large enough so your cat can’t swallow them.

vomiting in cats

What to look for when your cat keeps throwing up

Once your cat’s vomiting becomes frequent, that’s a game-changer.  Now the cat might be throwing up cat food, bile, and other unsightly stuff.

Imagine stepping in that on a late-night trip to the bathroom.  If the vomiting is frequent and your cat seems out of sorts, it might be time to see a Vet.

Along with vomiting, there are additional signs to look out for:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody stool
  • Bloody vomit
  • Acting abnormal; totally off its game
  • Aggression

Possible reasons for the above symptoms could be parasites, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, or kidney disease.

The veterinarian might ask you to describe the color of the vomit. The color of the vomit will give the vet a clue as to what is going on with your cat:

  • Cat vomiting yellow liquid – the cat is throwing up bile, which could sign liver problems.
  • Cat throwing up clear liquid – your cat is probably regurgitating, or his stomach is empty.
  • Cat vomiting coffee ground looking liquid – possible bleeding from the stomach, possible ulcers.
  • Cat puking smelly, dark liquid – possible upper GI bleed or cat ate something brown.
  • cat vomiting undigested food – intolerance to the cat food you are feeding it or food allergies

Treatment for your cat throwing

If your vet has run a series of diagnostic tests such as labs and x-rays and hasn’t found anything critical now it is time to treat your fluffball.

Fluids

A lot of vomiting can cause your cat to become dehydrated. So making sure your cat is getting plenty of fluids is key. This might have to be done by a vet via IV fluids because your cat might not feel well enough to drink water.

Diet change

In mild cases of vomiting switch your cat to a bland diet in small quantities.

If you’re looking for a good limited diet dry cat food, check out Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diet Dry Cat Food by clicking here.

Vomiting could be due to food allergies.  So switching your cat to a limited diet will help nail down the cause of the food allergy.

Your cat’s vet might encourage you to switch your cat to a home-cooked diet. Your cat can benefit from a diet free of preservatives and chemicals.

Check out this very informative video on how to home-cook food for your cat.

https://youtu.be/vs9zUuw-Gvs

Anti-vomiting medication

In some cases, an anti-vomiting medication might have to be prescribed in order to stop the loss of fluid in your cat. Anti-vomiting medication will also alleviate any uncomfortable symptoms in your cat.

Home remedies for cat vomiting

I absolutely love this youtube video from Dr. Jones, who gives a great explanation about cat vomiting, tips on how to check your cat for proper hydration, proper diet, and home remedies.

Vomiting in cats – when to worry

Your cat throwing up could be nothing to worry about. If your cat appears fine – eating normally, active, etc., after the vomiting session, continue to monitor him.

When should you worry? You should worry if:

  • cat keep throwing up for 2 days in a row
  • cat vomiting frequently
  • cat vomiting a lot – a large amount
  • cat vomiting blood
  • cat is lethargic and vomiting
  • cat is vomiting and has diarrhea

If your cat is exhibiting any of the signs listed above, contact the veterinarian.

Conclusion

Remember: Be sure to consult with your cat’s veterinarian if you have any questions or your cat’s health gets worse.

In this article, I discussed:

  • reasons cats throw up
  • types of cat vomit
  • vomiting in cats – treatment

What causes cats to vomit?  Most of the time when a cat vomits there’s nothing to worry about.

Once your cat’s vomiting becomes frequent, that’s a game-changer.  Now the cat might be throwing up cat food, bile, and other unsightly stuff.

Along with vomiting, there are additional signs to look out for:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody stool
  • Bloody vomit
  • Acting abnormal; totally off its game
  • Aggression

If you vet has run a series of diagnostic tests such as labs and x-rays and hasn’t found anything critical now it is time to treat your fluffball.

Just as humans can have food allergies, cats can also.  It is best to switch your cat to a limited diet if they have issues adjusting to their food.  This will help nail down the cause of the food allergy.

Nine times out of ten, cat vomiting is nothing serious.  A little behavior modification and change in diet will set your cat right again.

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