My Cat Won’t Stop Vomiting: What to Do & When to Worry

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While almost all cats will sometimes vomit, frequent or severe vomiting can be a symptom of a more serious issue. Today, our Los Angeles vets explain the causes of vomiting in cats, why it won’t stop, and when you should seek veterinary care

Cat Vomiting

Similar to a person, a cat may experience stomach upset for various reasons, including a bad reaction to a certain food, viruses, parasites, or more serious internal health issues such as cancer or problems with vital organs.

If your cat vomits frequently or more than once a month, it’s important to take them to the vet so the underlying cause of their vomiting can be diagnosed.

Reasons Your Cat May Be Vomiting

Your cat may be vomiting frequently for various reasons, including:

Eating Too Much, Too Quickly

Is your cat often vomiting soon after eating? If so, they’ve likely eaten too much, too quickly. Some special cat bowls are designed to help slow your cat’s eating if this is true for your feline friend.

That said, throwing up right after eating can also indicate a more serious problem such as digestive tract obstruction, dehydration, hairballs, or esophageal issues. If your cat vomits frequently right after eating, it’s time to call a vet.

Hairballs

Hairballs re clumps of undigested fur that build up in your cat’s stomach. These tend to happen more frequently in longhair cats and those that groom themselves excessively. When cats attempt to get rid of hairballs, they often experience spasms and hacking noises alongside vomiting.

Typically, cats can easily bring up hairballs on their own. However, if your cat is struggling to expel a hairball, it’s critical to take them to a vet. Trapped hairballs can cause dangerous intestinal blockages that may become fatal.

Other Serious Conditions That May Cause Vomiting in Cats

  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Diabetes
  • Food allergies
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Intestinal foreign bodies
  • Metabolic disorder (i.e. kidney disease)
  • Poisoning

When to Worry About Your Cat’s Vomiting

If your cat is vomiting occasionally or not very often, it’s a good idea to withhold food for around 12 hours. During this time, you can give your cat a few tablespoons of water every 30 minutes or offer them some ice cubes.

After the 12-hour period, start giving your cat small portions of bland food and gradually resume their regular feeding routine if the vomiting has stopped.

If your cat is having repeated bouts of vomiting contact your vet immediately. Continuous or severe vomiting could be a sign that your cat is seriously ill and requires immediate emergency treatment. Contact your vet if your cat displays any of the symptoms below:

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

Diagnosis

When taking your cat to the vet due to vomiting, it’s a good idea to take a sample of your cat’s vomit with you. Your vet will be able to examine the sample to help determine the cause of your cat’s upset stomach.

  • 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 bile is present in your cat’s vomit, it may be an indication of pancreatitis or inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Red blood is a sign that your cat’s stomach may be ulcerated.
  • An intestinal obstruction may cause your cat’s vomit to have a strong smell.

Treatment

Treatment of vomiting in cats focuses on treating the underlying problem. Depending on what has caused your cat’s symptoms, treatment can be as simple as temporarily withholding food or as complex as surgery or chemotherapy.

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