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My Cat Keeps Vomiting Food: What should I do?

There are many reasons why a cat may vomit, and while it may not always be concerning there are moments that you may want to consider seeking care for your cat. Today, our Poway vets share some of the common reasons why your cat may be vomiting and when you should bring them to see a vet.

Is it normal for my cat to vomit?

There are many possible reasons why your cat may begin to vomit.

Some of the most common causes of upset stomach in cats include a reaction to eating something bad, viruses and parasites, or more serious problems such as cancer or organ conditions.

Pet parents should be aware that if their cat vomits more than once a month or continues to vomit, they should consult their veterinarian to determine the underlying cause of their cat's vomiting.

What are some reasons why my cat might vomit?

Hairballs / Furballs

Hairballs (furballs) are undigested wads of fur that clump in your cat's stomach as a result of self-grooming. Hairballs are especially common in longhair cats and cats who groom excessively. When your cat is trying to get rid of hairballs, hacking noises and spasms are common.

Hairballs are easily brought up by cats in the majority of cases, but if your cat is having difficulty expel a hairball, it's time to see a vet. Hairballs can become trapped in the intestine and cause fatal blockages.

Eating Too Much & Too Quickly

If your cat eats too much food too quickly, they will most likely vomit soon after. If your cat frequently eats quickly and then vomits, there are a variety of fun cat bowls available to help slow your cat's eating and prevent vomiting.

However, vomiting immediately after eating could be a sign of a more serious health problem, such as hairballs, a digestive tract obstruction, dehydration, or esophageal issues. It's time to take your cat to the vet if he frequently vomits right after eating.

What Serious Conditions Could Be Affecting My Cat?

It can be tempting to write off your cat's vomiting as typical feline behavior, but vomiting can also be a sign of serious health issues. The following are a few of the more severe causes of vomiting in cats:

  • Poisoning
  • Intestinal foreign bodies
  • Intestinal Parasites
  • Food allergies
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Metabolic Disorder (ie: Kidney Disease)

When Should I Bring My Cat To The Vet?

Avoid giving your cat any food for about 12 hours if it vomits occasionally or infrequently. During this brief period of fasting, offer kitty a couple of tablespoons of water every 30 minutes or some ice cubes. If vomiting has stopped after 12 hours, feed your cat bland food in small amounts and gradually resume regular feeding.

You should call your veterinarian right away if your cat is vomiting on a regular basis. Your cat may be seriously ill and need immediate medical attention if it is vomiting frequently or in large amounts. If your cat exhibits any of the following signs, call your vet:

  • Repeated vomiting
  • Blood in vomit 
  • Weakness / Lethargy
  • Pain / Distress
  • Fever
  • Blood in stool 

The Diagnosis For Cats That Are Vomiting

It may sound gross, but it's a good idea to bring some of your cat's vomit with you when you take it to the vet because it's throwing up. To help identify the source of your cat's stomachache, your veterinarian can examine the sample.

Some of the things your vet may notice thanks to a sample of vomit are:

  • Large amounts of mucus in your cat's stomach could indicate an inflamed intestine
  • Undigested food can be an indication of poisoning, anxiety or simply a sign that your cat has eaten too much or too quickly.
  • If your vet notices that bile is present in your cat's vomit, it may be an indication of pancreatitis or inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Red blood in vomit is a sign that your cat's stomach may be ulcerated.
  • Strong smelling vomit may indicate that your cat has an intestinal obstruction.

Treatment For Cats That Are Vomiting

When it comes to treating vomiting in cats, the treatment will depend upon the underlying cause of the problem. Depending on what's causing your cat's symptoms, treatment could be as simple as temporarily withholding food, or as complex as surgery or chemotherapy.

If your cat is frequently or excessively vomiting then you should contact our Poway vets immediately to have your cat treated. It may be an emergency situation so it is best to have your cat looked at right away.

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Best Friends Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Poway companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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