When to Worry About Cat Vomiting

Cat owners recognize as early as meowing, gagging, or heaving retch that a cat will vomit not long after. Just as suddenly as the symptoms show is the return of your cat back to its seemingly good health, as if no vomiting ever happened. Leaving you a rug full of bodily fluid.

This is a very familiar situation for me and maybe for a lot of cat owners. Owning a Scottish Fold cat, I have cleaned up my share of cat vomits. It happens once or twice in a month, but after it happens, its as if no throwing up occurred.

Cats throwing up is an unpleasant thing

Nobody wants to deal with cats throwing up, but you have to understand that they do it on cue. Sure, it is part of owning a pet, but there is always something you can do. Understanding the triggers and what you can do about it will let you know when to worry about your cat vomiting.

vomiting in cats - When To Worry About Cat Vomiting

Why Cats Vomit and When You Should Be Worried

The most common culprit in cats vomiting is hairballs. But, it could very well be a lot of things that it may be careless to assume your cat vomiting is associated with hairballs. Also, vomiting may be occasional or chronic.

Occasional vomiting is usually caused by eating too fast, eating too much, eating spoiled food, and hairballs.

  • Hairball – a cats constant grooming with their tongue causes them to ingest some, if not a lot of their hair. This hair, as they pass through the digestive tract can’t be dissolved the same way a normal food does. They accumulate within and form a furball. These hairballs irritate the cat’s stomach that they eventually expel them normally by vomiting.

Frequent vomiting caused by hairballs may indicate the need to check with the vet. They may introduce diet and treatments that will help reduce hair build-up. Hairball can be prevented by grooming your cat regularly and in some cases with their food diet. That way, they lose the chance of ingesting more hair.

  • Eating too fast – A lot of times, cat do not chew their food. They simply gobble too quickly that they swallow food that can be in huge chunks. Cats eating too fast may sometimes be because they are trying to compete with another cat in the household.

If this is the case, try to separate feeding locations for different cats to avoid competition. Serve cat food in controlled food dispense so that it initiates slow eating.

  • Eating too much at once – As with humans, when you eat too much, your stomach may not be able to hold it and may send a signal to the brain to expel what’s in excess. This is the same with cats. Therefore, the best practice in feeding them is to feed them 5 small meals a day.

Dry food soaks itself up in fluid in the cat’s stomach then swells up. This causes vomiting and can more likely happen with senior cats.

  • Eating spoiled food – Spoiled food irritates the cat’s tummy just as much as excessive eating and unchewed food.

Check this article on cat foods for older cats that vomit for some helpful advice

Chronic and severe causes of vomiting are:

  • Ingestion of foreign bodies – While cats are more particular about what they gobble up than dogs, it is often in them that we see intestinal blockages. A lot of instances are caused by cotton, string, or small toys at cause blockage and trauma to the gut.
  • Ingestion of specific toxins – Toxicities happens lesser in cats than in dogs simply because of their fussy and picky nature.

However, there are a few exceptions:

  • Grass – cats love to nibble on grass and with its unavailability inside the house, they may become bored that they will start to nibble on house plants instead. Plants like Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane) and lilies are toxic so be sure to cat-proof your house and avoid plants like these.
  • Antifreeze – The taste of antifreeze is appealing to cats despite it’s being toxic and poisonous for them. Do not use this in ornamental water features. Make sure to keep all bottles labeled, and wipe up spills instantly.
  • Food allergies – Not every food is suitable for felines, therefore any change in diet should be slow and transitional. At a minimum, it should take at least a week to transition from the old food to the new one.
  • Parasites – The most prevalent intestinal parasite, roundworms affect cats of all ages. A huge chunk of them found in cats results in vomiting, diarrhea, or worst – failure to thrive. Another kind is the tapeworm which is transmitted when cats hunt or by fleas. This is why tapeworm is more common in older cats than younger ones.

Pet stores may offer medications, however, a lot of them are proven ineffective so it is still better to reach out to your vet.

Blood in the Vomit Or Disease Signs

  • Kidney / Liver Disease – These ailments cause cats to vomits. Not only that, but it will also make them feel lethargic and lose appetite that will, later on, result in weight loss and intensified thirst.

Liver disease in cats may show symptoms like yellow discoloration of skin and gums. They can also happen alongside pancreatic and intestinal ailments known as triaditis.

Your vet may suggest blood tests and investigations find out underlying reasons as well as to understand the best treatment option they can advise.

  • Gastrointestinal diseases – Bacteria, viruses, or other small parasites cause infectious intestinal diseases. These may result in your cat having inflammatory bowel diseases.
  • Cancers – Lymphoma and adenocarcinoma are two of the most common cancers in cats that cause partial blockage and result in vomiting, weight loss, diarrhea, and appetite loss. Treatment options for this situation depend upon the cat’s age, condition, cancer location and severity of the disease.

What To Do – Contact Veterinary Diagnosis

Should I take my cat to the vet for Vomiting?

When you see the following symptoms in cats and your gut tells you that you need to visit the vet, do so:

  • Continued vomiting
  • Not keeping any meals down
  • Change in appetite
  • Change in drinking pattern
  • Change in toilet pattern
  • Blood in vomit and stool
  • Lethargy
  • Change in behavior
  • Change in grooming

Your vet will check the cat and this may include investigations such as blood tests, x-rays, urine samples, or ultrasound. Only then will the vet be able to know what is going on in your cat and the best course of action to take.