Feline Vomiting - Why Cats Throw Up

If you share your home with a cat, sooner or later you will encounter feline vomiting. All cats throw up sometimes.

Often there will be nothing seriously wrong with your cat.

A meal eaten too fast, too much eaten (especially too much dry cat food), nervousness, excitement, hairballs, and stress are among the non emergency situations that can induce your cat to vomit.

On the other hand there are many serious cat illnesses and diseases where vomiting is one of the symptoms, it will almost certainly not be the only symptom.

Usually you will be able to tell whether your cat throwing up is a minor or major condition. For instance, if you cat is thowing up yellow liquid or bile, there may be something seriously wrong.

If you are in any doubt about the cause do not hesitate to seek professional advice.

Hairballs Can Cause Cat Vomiting

longhaired ginger catLonger haired cats are more likely to vomit up hairballs.

Cats eat grass; it helps them to throw up hairballs. It is also believed that grass provides felines with roughage and vitamins.

Long haired cats suffer from hairballs more than short haired but it can be a problem for all cats.

To help prevent hairballs (and the subsequent feline vomiting,) groom your cat regularly. Grooming is the best way to reduce instances of hairballs.

Also, try feeding your cat a small amount of petroleum jelly occasionally.

The jelly will coat the hairs that kitty swallows when she is grooming herself and prevent them from tangling and forming a ball.

To get your cat to eat the jelly you may need to gently coat some of it on her paw, and she will ingest it as she licks it off.

Malt flavored petroleum jelly is available, many cats will eat this very willingly.

Caution. Petroleum jelly can cause diarrhea so should be used sparingly. As an alternative try unsalted butter.

Some branded cat foods claim to be hairball preventative, these have high levels of fiber to hasten the hair through the digestive system and may work with some cats.

After a spate of feline vomiting (when there are no other signs of illness) prevent your pet from eating for approximately one day.

You should also only allow your cat the smallest amount of water; a healthy cat will not dehydrate in this short time but water should not be withheld from a cat with kidney disease or from any cat for an extended period.

Large meals, or a large amount of water, will only make a vomiting cat throw up more.

If the throwing up ceases feed your pet a small amount of bland, low fat, cat food about four times a day and gradually return to giving your cat its normal diet.

You can offer your cat ice cubes to reintroduce water; it will take kitty longer to consume the cubes than liquid, so there is less chance she will vomit the water back up.

Feline Vomiting - Kitty Swallowed Something

A fairly common cause of feline vomiting is a cat eating or swallowing something it shouldn't.

Cats are pretty fastidious but sometimes do swallow objects, or eat food that does not agree with them or even sample poisonous plants.

If you suspect that your feline is vomiting due to nibbling a poisonous plant (or has ingested anything poisonous, antifreeze, slug pellets, medicine intended for humans for example,) contact your vet immediately.

Eating onions or chocolate can be toxic for cats and cause them to vomit.

Kittens, being naturally inquisitive, are more likely to swallow something than an older cat.

Objects that obstruct the feline's intestines are likely to be dangerous unless the cat passes the article naturally, or it is manually removed.

Sometimes swallowed string can be seen protruding from the cat's mouth or rectum. Do not try to pull it out yourself, you could cause serious damage, leave that job for your veterinarian.

Often feline vomiting is the first indication of your pet having swallowed something.

Elderly Feline Vomiting

Elderly felines may vomit more frequently as their internal systems start to wear down. This can be due to kidney failure, liver disease, intestinal lymphoma, tumors, thyroid problems, feline heartworm, parasites and other problems.

Vomiting puts a strain on an older cat's system; it uses up energy and causes strain on the muscles and organs. Frequent or unexplained throwing up by your older cat should be looked into by your veterinarian.

If your elderly cat has lost her teeth she may gulp dry cat food straight down causing indigestion or vomiting of undigested kibble.

Any sign of blood in the vomit must be taken seriously as it is most usually an indication of internal bleeding. Dark red, or brown flecks could be blood that is partially digested. Black vomiting in cats is a sign that there is bleeding in the stomach.

Sometimes parasites can be seen in feline puke looking like white thread or grains of rice. The vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration brought about by intestinal parasites will leave a cat weak, making her more open to infections and diseases.

healthy catA cat in full health. Even healthy felines vomit occasionally.

If your feline becomes infected with parasites, consult your vet who can prescribe appropriate medication.

Does your vomiting cat share her home with other cats or a dog?

Sometimes pets can be competitive and a feline will eat as quickly as she can, to prevent a rival from devouring her food.

Gulping her food frequently causes her to throw up. The stress brought about the threat to her meal may also contribute to feline vomiting.

Try feeding the worried kitty separately from your other household pets so she is not competing for her food.

Diet May Cause Cat Vomiting

Poor quality cat food can cause vomiting. The food may contain adequate proteins but could be largely made up of ground up skin, gristle, hooves and claws and even feathers.

The food is manufactured so that it is easy for the cat to eat, but it is not so easy for the cat to digest. The result is the cat throws it back up.

Being fed the same food over a period of time can lead to a cat developing an allergic reaction to the food.

Yes, felines are fussy eaters and when you find cat food that kitty likes it is tempting to just keep giving it to her. Too much of what she likes though could mean that she vomits due to an allergy.

It's not easy to change a cat's food, but it can be done by gradually swapping a small percentage each day until she is eating only the new food.

Call Your Veterinarian. . .

  • If there is any sign of blood in the vomit.
  • As well as vomiting your cat also has diarrhea.
  • The vomit smells particularly bad.
  • A cat vomiting bile. You will know by the yellow/green liquid that is vomited.
  • Your cat is vomiting for longer than a day or two, OR has many spates of throwing up in a very short space of time.
  • Your pet's stomach is swollen.
  • You suspect that your feline is vomiting due to sampling a poisonous plant or has ingested something poisonous.
  • As well as being sick, your cat is lethargic OR unsteady when standing, appears to be in pain, has difficulty breathing.
  • If you are in any doubt, consult your veterinarian.

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