Reasons for Your Cat Vomiting

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No pet parent likes to hear that sound: the hacking noise from the other room that tells you are going to have a mess to clean up. When your cat starts gagging, the first thought that might go through your head is, "Oh no, what did they get into now?" There are many reasons why your cat might throw up, some of them more serious than others. As a new pet parent, it is important to know the reasons your cat may be vomiting and when an upchuck warrants a visit to the veterinarian.

Long haired cat with open mouth nibbling on grass

Hairballs: A Common Cause of Cat Vomiting

Even as a seasoned cat parent, it is important to understand the reasons behind cat vomiting. As cats age, their bodies change and vomiting may indicate something is abnormal..

Although cat vomiting might be due to eating a part of a houseplant or ingesting a piece of a toy, your cat can get an upset stomach from ingesting hair fromgrooming. This most often resurfaces as a hairball.

Although a cat vomiting up a hairball every so often is normal, there are times when you may need to be concerned. Hairballs shouldn't be painful, frequent or difficult for your cat to pass. Untreated hairballs can also go the other way and cause painful intestinal blockages in extreme cases, according to Cornell Feline Health Center , so keep track of your cat's normal routine and watch out for signs of constipation, lethargy, and anorexia if they have not passed a hairball in a while. If your cat has a consistent hairball problem, you might want to look into a cat food that is formulated for hairballs.

Cat Vomit Diagnostic Hacks

A hairball every now and then (often with foamy or yellow liquid) may not be a reason to call your vet, but if your cat starts vomiting frequently or the hairballs are large and seem to be causing your pet discomfort, you may want to have your feline friend in for a checkup.

According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, most vets start by determining if the vomiting is related to hairballs. Then they maymove to discussing possible ingestion of harmful objects or substances in your home.  If the cause is not obvious, your vet may recommend additional testing such as bloodwork, a fecal examination or X-rays or an ultrasound to find the problem.

It's helpful to know that most vets will approach cat vomiting this way so that you can gather useful information prior to your appointment. When visit your vet, be prepared to describe your cat's recent surroundings, activities and vomiting frequency and appearance.

Other Reasons for Cat Vomit

If your cat barfs, but resumes regular activities, continues to eat and seems otherwise healthy, youmay not have much to worry about.  For example, sometimes cats vomit undigested food shortly after eating.  This can happen when your pet eats the food too fast. In these cases, you may just need to feed your cat smaller, more frequent meals.  

However, in some cases, frequent or excessive vomiting may be the result of a serious condition.  A number of different diseases such as kidney and liver disease can cause vomiting.  Food allergies, intestinal parasites and infections can also result in vomiting.   Testing is needed to help determine the cause and find the best solution to help your cat. 

Food Allergies

Some cats can also experience digestive turmoil from food sensitivities and allergies. Pay close attention to any behaviors your cat exhibits before and after eating. Besides vomiting, do they have diarrhea, bald patches or itchy skin? Discuss these observations with your vet and take your vet's advice on food changes and medications that are needed for your pet.  

Do not attempt to diagnose your cat's allergy at home, since changing her food on your own could end up upsetting your cat's stomach more if not done properly.

Always err on the side of caution, and if something doesn't seem right, get your cat to the vet immediately.  Every cat is different and your vet is the person best qualified to diagnose the underlying issue that is causing your cat to throw up.

Ways to Prevent Cat Vomiting

Wouldn't all pet parents love to know the secret to eliminating vomiting? Or even a way to train your cat not to do it on your bed or carpet? Unfortunately, there's no magic word. But there are a few things you can try to ease your cleanup and your kitty's discomfort.

If your cat is vomiting hairballs, make sure to brush  your cat regularly, keeping themactive and feed a  food with balanced nutrition that is designed to help cats with hairballs. 

To help keep your cat’s stomach happy,  give them the type and amount of food recommended by your vet and have clean, fresh water available at all times.  If your cat eats too quickly you can try a puzzle feeder or a dry food with large, crunchy pieces to slow them down.  If your veterinarian recommends medications or therapeutic foods, it will be important to follow their instruction in order to keep your cat healthy.  \ Be sure your cat sees the vet regularly and discuss your concerns.

Though cleaning up messes and bodily fluids is something all pet parents will experience at some point, following these tips and knowing when to seek the help of a professional can hopefully make these experiences few and far between.

Contributor Bio

Chrissie Klinger

Chrissie Klinger

Chrissie Klinger is a pet parent that enjoys sharing her home with her furkids, two of her own children and her husband. Chrissie enjoys spending time with all her family members when she is not teaching, writing or blogging. She strives to write articles that help pet owners live a more active and meaningful life with their pets.

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