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Vomiting In Cats When To Worry

What Should You Do When Your Cat Is Vomiting From Illness

Vomiting In Cats When To Worry

There is nothing pleasant about this discussion. However, if you think that your cat is vomiting excessively or has any of the other signs mentioned above, call your vet immediately. When you call them, though, be prepared to talk about these different attributes to help your vet determine the cause as quickly as possible:

When Does A Cat Vomiting Need Veterinary Attention

Most cat owners have experienced the unpleasant sensation of cat sick between the toes on a nighttime bathroom trip, or as a nice addition to your favourite rug. Vomiting is the active expulsion of stomach contents, which in cats can be violent, and may have many causes. It needs to be differentiated from regurgitation: where food is brought up with minimal effort from the oesophagus before ever reaching the stomach.

You may see warnings signs such as drooling, swallowing, licking their lips more, or hiding away. Short-term vomiting consisting of one or two episodes, or lasting less than 24 hours, in an otherwise healthy cat is usually nothing to worry about.

  • What will my vet do?
  • How Do I Recognize Vomiting

    Vomiting may begin with a stage of nausea, in which the cat appears restless, and possibly anxious. The cat may lick its lips, salivate, and repeatedly swallow. Vomiting itself involves forceful contractions of the abdominal muscles, leading to expulsion of fluid, froth, or food. The severe effort associated with vomiting may be distressing to the cat.

    It is important to differentiate this from the abdominal contractions associated with coughing. Cats may cough up some froth or foamy material that they subsequently swallow. Cats usually crouch down on all four legs when coughing with the neck stretched out. It is helpful if you can show a video to your veterinarian of your cat exhibiting the behavior so they can help you distinguish coughing versus vomiting.

    “It is also important to differentiate vomiting from regurgitation.”

    It is also important to differentiate vomiting from regurgitation, which is usually associated with problems affecting the esophagus and is a more passive process. Features that help to differentiate vomiting from regurgitation include:

    • vomiting typically involves abdominal contractions and effort
    • regurgitation typically occurs quickly without abdominal contractions
    • regurgitation often occurs right after eating or drinking

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    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 cant be dissolved the same way a normal food does. They accumulate within and form a furball. These hairballs irritate the cats 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.

    Chronic and severe causes of vomiting are:

    Reasons Your Cat May Be Dry Heaving

    Vomiting in Cats

    There are a wide variety of reasons your cat may be repeatedly dry heaving, some less serious than others. Here are two of the most common reasons and a list of other, more serious, potential causes for dry heaving in your cat.

    Dry heaving, in particular, can be a relatively generic symptom. It is associated with a wide range of conditions and diseases.

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    How Pet Health Insurance Can Help

    If your feline friend throws up regularly, you and your veterinarian will need to investigate. Your pal could require blood work, fecal analysis, X-rays, ultrasounds, and even biopsies.

    Depending on the diagnosis, your kitty could be facing anything from antibiotics to surgery. Help yourself focus on care and not cost during this process by getting a quote for cat health insurance today.


    *Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Waiting periods, annual deductible, co-insurance, benefit limits and exclusions may apply. For all terms and conditions visit Preventive and Wellness Care reimbursements are based on a schedule. Complete Coverage reimbursements are based on the invoice. Levels 1-4 reimbursements are based on usual and customary eligible costs. Products, schedules, and rates may vary and are subject to change. Discounts may vary and are subject to change. More information available at checkout.

    What About A Cat Who Is Throwing Up Bile Or Making Gagging Sounds

    If your kitty has a singular episode where she vomits up nothing but some stomach juice, its probably because she has eaten something that has irritated her empty stomach. Vomiting bile is not normal though so if your kittys episode is not a one-off you should get in touch with your veterinarian straight away. This also goes for kitties that seem to be gagging. Something could be stuck in their throat or it could be a sign of something more serious.

    A very real concern for cats who arent eating is a condition called hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver disease which can occur quite quickly. Cats have high nutritional requirements for proteins, as they are strictly meat eaters, so that a lack of protein or inability to process proteins will quickly develop into malnutrition,note the experts at PetMD. This condition also frequently occurs in conjunction with illness, periods of stress, changes in diet, diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, aggressive weight loss attempts by owners, and being lost .

    As always it is better to be safe than sorry so definitely call your vet if you have concerns.

    When it comes down to it, vomiting in cats is something we sometimes laugh about but if your cat is vomiting on a regular basis or multiple times a day, its likely not a laughing matter. Get your kitty to the vet as soon as possible so you can get to the root of the problemand make you both feel better.

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    How Will My Veterinarian Decide What Type Of Testing And Treatment Is Necessary

    Features that you may be able to identify that will help the veterinarian decide whether symptomatic treatment or further investigations are appropriate include:

    • if your cat is depressed, lethargic, or has a fever
    • if your cat is eating
    • if there has been weight loss
    • if there has been any blood in the vomit
    • if there is any pain or distress, particularly affecting the abdomen
    • whether normal feces are being passed, or if your cat has diarrhea or constipation
    • what is the frequency and amount of vomiting
    • what is the relationship of vomiting to feeding
    • whether there is any offensive odor or abnormal color to the vomit
    • what your cat has been fed and if there has been a recent change in diet
    • whether your cat has any access to other foods or other substances
    • whether any treatment or supplements have been given recently
    • whether any other cats in the household are affected

    How To Clean Up Cat Vomit

    8 Reasons Your Cat is Vomiting and When to Worry

    Lets get down to the dirty truth cat puke can leave stains and odors in your carpets. You will want to act fast.

    If youre dealing with a particularly bad mess, you may need to bring in a professional carpet cleaner. There are also a lot of store-bought sprays and powders you can try. Look for an enzyme-based product that will help break down the proteins that cause permanent damage.

    Here are some cleaning tips that use items you probably already own:

  • Remove as much vomit as you can with a dry paper towel, a spoon, or a knife. Be careful not to press the puke into the carpet!
  • Spray cold water on the remaining mess and blot with a dry paper towel, taking care to fold your towel so that youre always using a dry surface.
  • Fill a spray bottle with homemade cleaner and saturate the area. Wipe away any remaining mess with a sponge.
  • Sprinkle the entire area with baking soda and let dry. Make sure you keep your kitty away, or you could end up with a second mess!
  • Vacuum up the baking soda once the area is completely dry.
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    Diagnosing The Cause Of Vomiting

    It can be difficult to diagnose the cause of vomiting in a cat. Most cases of acute vomiting are transient and improve with just symptomatic therapy and time. However, a basic workup is often recommended to ensure that a more serious problem is not going on.

    The starting point in determining the cause of vomiting is getting an accurate history. Here are some questions your vet might have:

    • Was the cat exposed to plants and other toxins?
    • When did the vomiting start?
    • What is the cats normal diet?
    • Does the cat go outside and if so, does the cat hunt?
    • What is in the vomit?
    • Is the cat on medication?
    • Is there also diarrhea?
    • When does the vomiting occur ?
    • Is the cat losing weight?
    • Is the cat drinking a lot or urinating a lot?
    • Does the cat play with string?

    Based on the answers to these questions, your veterinarian will have a better idea of which diagnostics, if any, to use. What the vomit looks like does not give a definitive answer about why the cat is vomiting, but it can give the vet a place to begin looking. Though by no means a perfect correlation, the following vomit characteristics can offer some clues:

    Common Causes Of Vomiting In Cats

    Cats might vomit for any number of reasons. Some are easy to detect, while others will require a professional diagnosis. Here are some of the most common:

  • Hairball: One of the reasons cats vomit is likely the most familiar to their owners: hairballs. Cats cant digest the hair they inevitably swallow during their fastidious daily groomings. Although most hair passes through the digestive tract and exits in stool, some hair clumps get too big in the stomach and must be regurgitated up the esophagus. Hairballs typically look different from most vomit, since theyll largely be composed of clumps of fur.
  • Ate too fast: When they get super hungry, some kitties just cant control themselves and will eat as fast as they can! Unfortunately, with all that food hitting their empty stomach, your cat might begin to feel sick shortly after finishing their meal. When cats cough up intact food and fluids, its called regurgitation. Occasional regurgitation usually isnt an issue, but it shouldnt happen every time your cat eats.
  • Foreign object: Some cats are too curious for their own good and might eat non-food items that irritate their stomach. In these cases, the body forces the cat to vomit to protect them. This often happens when cats eat grass from the backyard.
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    When A Cat Vomiting Is Serious And When Its Not

    First off, it is normal for a cat to hurl up a hairball every once in a while but it is not normal for a cat to be vomiting on a regular basis. Although some cat owners might think that vomiting is a normal part of feline behavior, its not, says Richard Goldstein, DVM, an associate professor of small animal medicine at Cornell Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine. Any episode of a cats vomiting that occurs more than once a week should certainly be brought to the attention of a veterinarian. And if it happens routinelyeven less often than once a weekit should be investigated.

    If your kitty seems to be having trouble keeping things down, gagging, or is throwing up green, yellow or even clear bile, youll want to make an appointment with your vet right away.

    Treating A Cat That Keeps Throwing Up

    Why is My Cat Throwing Up? Types of Cat Vomiting and When to Worry

    If your cat continues to vomit or has a history of chronic vomiting, further testing would be indicated as described below:

    • Gastrointestinal panel: This will test the pancreas enzymes to rule out pancreatitis. It will also look at cobalamin and folate to determine if there is evidence of malabsorption in the small intestines.

    • Abdominal ultrasound: This imaging modality is very sensitive at identifying smaller foreign objects that x-rays cannot. This ultrasound looks at the pancreas and helps measure the wall of the gastrointestinal tract. It will also help rule out any enlarged lymph nodes that can sometimes be seen with cancer.

    • Chest x-rays: These may be recommended if it is not clear whether your cat is vomiting, regurgitating, or coughing. Chest x-rays are also recommended in older cats to rule out evidence of cancer.

    In some cases, the diagnostics come back normal or do not provide a definitive diagnosis. This can be seen if the disease is at the cellular level of the small intestines.

    In this instance, the next step would be obtaining biopsies of your cats gastrointestinal tract to differentiate between inflammatory bowel disease, food hypersensitivity, and gastrointestinal lymphoma. Your veterinarian may try a new diet prior to obtaining biopsies in the event that this is related to a food allergy.

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    Importance Of Finding A Raw

    If your vet isn’t raw-friendly, they may blame vomiting on the food instead of investigating further into your cat’s case. If you’re choosing to feed raw, it’s important that your vet supports this and understands the raw food diet in its totality.

    If you don’t already have one, you can check out ourFind A Vet page where we are happy to recommend a reputable vet in your area!

    When Should I Worry About My Cat Vomiting

    We start to worry about cats being sick when theyve vomited frequently in a single day or a couple of times over a few days. Its also a cause for concern when they stop eating altogether or will try and eat but bring the food and water back up. This can be considered an emergency because your cat isnt able to keep anything down and can quickly become dehydrated and lead to an issue with sugar. If your cats vomiting is accompanied by any other symptoms such as lethargy, diarrhoea or pale gums, if theres blood in their vomit or theyre showing signs of pain, dont delay in contacting your vet.

    • Allergic reaction to a food
    • Heat stroke

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    Cat Vomiting: The Bottom Line

    We know that your feline companion means the world to you and realizing that something isnt quite right can be extremely nerve-wracking for a doting pet parent.

    The first step is recognizing any change as soon as possible. The sooner a symptom like vomiting is noticed, the sooner a diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan can begin. We sincerely hope your four-legged friend feels better soon!

    Vomiting In Cats When To Worry

    Cat Vomiting

    There are several reasons why cats vomit. It is wise to remember that even the healthiest pet feline may vomit once in a while. Most often, this is nothing to really worry about. If your cat does have issues and is vomiting more than one time a week, you would be wise to take the cat to the veterinarian.

    When a cat begins to vomit shortly after it has eaten, more than once a day, once a week there is likely an issue that needs to be remedied. If the same cat seems to be gagging much more often, or seems to be lazy and does not want to get up, call the vet and get an emergency appointment.


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    How To Prevent Vomiting

    You can also take action to help prevent or decrease the frequency of vomiting in your cat:

    • When should I be concerned about my cat throwing up?

      If your cat is vomiting for more than 24 hours, or you see something concerning in the vomitlike blood or wormsit’s time to call the vet immediately.

    • What do you give a cat that is throwing up?

      It really depends on why your cat is vomiting. If it’s routine hairballs, eating too fast, or tummy upset that doesn’t last more than 24 hours, take away your cat’s food and give it small bites till nausea has passed. If, after a day, your kitty continues vomiting, it’s time to call the vet.

    • How long does an upset stomach last in cats?

      Upset stomachs in cats rarely last more than 24 hours. If they do, Please call your vet.

    Diagnosing The Cause Of The Vomiting

    Vomiting thats considered chronic or severe is a cause for concern, and it can lead to other issues, such as electrolyte imbalance and dehydration, so you should talk to your vet right away. Acute, minor vomiting that only lasts a short while, on the other hand, might not be a serious issue, but you may want to ask your vet to be sure.

    Whether or not the vomiting is worrisome will depend on what your veterinarian finds during an examination. Your vet can perform tests, such as a fecal exam and blood test, to figure out if there are any diseases or parasites, or toxicity, thats causing the vomiting. He or she can also order a biopsy to rule out IBD or cancer. And imaging tests like an ultrasound or x-rays can be used to see if there are any ailments of the gastrointestinal tract that might be causing the vomiting, if there are foreign objects in the digestive tract, or if there are masses that are causing problems.

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