By: Dr. Sarah-Jane Molier MRCVS we’re all about pets
It is not uncommon for cats to vomit (vomit) from time to time. Vomiting itself is not a disease, but a symptom. This means that there is always an underlying cause for cat vomiting. There are many potential reasons why your cat may be vomiting. Many of them are harmless, while some are more serious. So how can I stop my cat from vomiting?
photo by engin akyurt on unsplash
What can cause cats to vomit?
Cats have quite sensitive stomachs and it doesn’t take long for them to get sick, which means there are many reasons why cats vomit. Here are some of the most common causes of vomiting in cats:
Hair ball: It is one of the most common causes of vomiting in cats, especially among long-haired breeds.
Eating too fast: The food was promptly returned. Many of our feline friends feel guilty about it!
Poisoning: Eat spoiled food or something that is poisonous to cats.
Food allergy or intolerance: This is often closely related to skin problems.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Chronic inflammation (irritation) of the stomach and intestines, with many possible causes.
Parasites: Ascaris, for example, is a common cause of vomiting in kittens.
Infect: Like stomach problems or urinary tract (water) infections.
strange body: Something got stuck in the stomach or intestines, causing a blockage.
Endocrine (hormonal) disorders: Examples include an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and diabetes.
Organ disease: Includes disease of the liver, pancreas, heart, or kidney.
cancer: Vomiting is often caused by the feeding tube, stomach, or intestines, but any type of cancer has the potential to cause illness.
How to treat vomiting in cats
Occasional vomiting in healthy cats is usually not a cause for concern. However, it is always best to exercise caution and seek your vet’s advice.
“Acute” vomiting occurs suddenly, lasts only a few days, and usually resolves without medical treatment. If your cat vomits once or twice but is otherwise fine, you can try fasting for two hours and then offering a small amount of wet food. You must not retain water. It’s not okay to starve a vomiting cat; it can lead to dehydration quickly and the stomach needs food to heal. You can buy prescription diets designed specifically for cats with indigestion. Feed small amounts, often over 24 hours (one tablespoon at a time).
If your cat continues to be sick, bleeding, or looking unwell, you should see a veterinarian. Cats can become dehydrated quickly and their electrolytes can become unbalanced.
Also, if the cat goes more than 24-48 hours without eating, this can cause serious liver problems.
Your vet will examine your cat for evidence of a more serious cause of vomiting. If the tests are normal, they can be given “symptomatic” treatment. This may include injections to prevent vomiting, antacids, and soft foods. Antibiotics are rarely used because they can further disrupt the gut.
For more serious cases, your cat may need to be hospitalized for tests and dripping. Further treatment will depend on the underlying cause.
How can I prevent my cat from vomiting?
While many causes of cat vomiting cannot be prevented, there are things you can do to reduce your cat’s chances of vomiting.
- If your kitty has long hair or is prone to hairballs, regular brushing can reduce the amount of hair she swallows while grooming. There are also special hairball diets to aid digestion, as well as food to help your cat expel hairballs. Your vet will be able to advise your cat on the best hairball prevention tips.
- If your cat vomits from eating too quickly, you can try feeding smaller amounts more frequently. You can also purchase special feeders, such as educational feeders, designed to help your cat eat more slowly.
- While it’s hard to have complete control over what your cat eats outdoors, you can minimize the risk indoors. Keep all chemicals, plants, and food (including food boxes!) out of the reach of cats.
- If your cat has food allergies or intolerances, your vet may recommend a diet trial to see what foods your cat cannot tolerate. A prescription or custom diet that does not include these foods may help reduce vomiting.
- Keeping your cat or kitten up to date on their deworming medication can reduce the chance that they will vomit from worms.
So how can I stop my cat from vomiting? The simple answer is, usually you can’t. However, there are things you can do to reduce the amount of vomit your cat will throw up. Before attempting preventative measures at home, you should always seek veterinary advice to ensure there is no underlying cause that requires treatment.
Dr. Sarah Jane Molier BVM&S MRCVS Bachelor of Science
Sarah-Jane Molier has wanted to be a veterinarian since she was about ten years old. After hard work, she realized this dream and graduated in 2009. Since then, she has been working in a small animal clinic. She is involved in a combination of clinic management, private and charitable work. Sarah lives in the country with her husband, two children, a cat and two dogs. She loves gardening with the children, especially growing her own vegetables.
The information presented in this article and the entire website is for informational purposes only. If you need sensitive information regarding your pet, we recommend that you consult a professional.