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Why is My Cat Vomiting?

A picture of a cat lying down with the blog title that reads, "Why is My Cat Vomiting?"
Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal is the founder and lead veterinarian for Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic. Coufal graduated from State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in May of 2000.

It’s not always easy to tell when your cat needs to go to the vet. This is especially true for cats when they are vomiting. You’re probably asking yourself, “Why is my cat vomiting?” It is important to know the reasons your cat may be vomiting so you can get your cat treated as needed.

At Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic, a vet in Colorado Springs, we help cats become the healthiest versions of themselves. Our expert veterinarians and staff are here to provide your furry friend with the best veterinary care in Colorado. We make sure you’re fully informed of your cat’s health so you can make the best decisions for their wellbeing. Compassionate care and top-of-the-line veterinary medicine are what you can expect from Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic.

Curious about why your kitty is throwing up? Continue to read more about why your cat is vomiting.

A picture of a cat lying down with their eyes closed.

Acute vs. Chronic Cat Vomiting

When it comes to cats and vomiting, there are two different types: acute and chronic.

Acute vomiting is the occasional episode of upchucking that may last for a few days. It usually resolves itself without the assistance of medical help. Chronic vomiting is more serious; it’s when your cat throws up more than six times in one month or more frequently over a longer period.

If your cat is frequently throwing up, can’t keep food down, is constantly tired, or doesn’t want to move, something more serious could be going on. In this case, you should take your cat to the vet as soon as possible for further evaluation.

What Causes Cats to Throw Up?

Cats vomit for many reasons such as hairballs, dietary indiscretion (eating things they shouldn’t have), parasites, food allergies, changes in diet, infections, or a more serious underlying medical condition.

You should look at your cat’s throw up to see if it contains any foreign objects, like grass or pieces of a toy. Also, observe the color of your cat’s vomit. Different colors may indicate different issues.

Differences in Cat Vomit Colors

The color of the vomit can give you clues as to why your cat is vomiting.

  • Clear liquid vomit usually indicates that your kitty has an empty stomach (stomach acid and saliva).
  • Yellowish-brown vomit with bits of partially digested food suggests that their stomach isn’t emptying properly.
  • Greenish-yellow vomit with a foamy texture may indicate bile.
  • Bright red vomit (or streaks of bright red in otherwise clear vomit) could indicate blood due to an ulcer or a tear in the stomach lining.
  • Black vomit may indicate bleeding from higher up in the digestive tract, such as the small intestine or esophagus.

If your cat’s throw up doesn’t look normal, you should take them to the vet. Your veterinarian will have a deeper understanding of your pet’s medical history and be able to provide the best advice on how to treat your cat’s vomiting.

A picture of a cat lying down.

Causes of Cats Throwing Up

The treatment for your cat’s vomiting will depend on the underlying cause. A few of the conditions that may lead to cats throwing up are as follows:

  • Hairballs: Your cat might vomit because it has an excess of hair in its stomach from grooming itself. Giving them a special diet or administering over-the-counter medications can help treat the problem.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD): IBD is a common gastrointestinal disorder in cats that causes inflammation and irritation in the digestive tract. The symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. Treatment typically involves diet changes and medication.
  • Food allergies: Cats can develop food allergies over time if they eat the same food too often. A food trial with a hypoallergenic diet is the best way to determine if your cat has a food allergy. If so, an appropriate diet can help control and prevent future vomiting episodes.
  • Infection: Cats can sometimes get infections from viruses or bacteria that cause vomiting as one of the symptoms. Antibiotics will usually be prescribed to treat these infections.
  • Toxins: Ingesting toxins such as poisonous plants or chemicals can lead to nausea and vomiting as well. Your vet may suggest activated charcoal to absorb the toxins in your pet’s body and clear out their system.
  • Cancer: Cancer can also lead to chronic vomiting in cats, although this is rarer than other causes on this list. Depending on the type of cancer, your vet may be able to treat it with surgery or medication.

How to Help a Cat Throwing Up

If you suspect that your cat is vomiting due to dietary reasons or hairballs, the best thing you can do is make sure they have plenty of fluids and rest. You should also feed them smaller meals more frequently rather than one large meal at once. This will help reduce nausea and discomfort associated with vomiting.

Vomiting in Cats: When to Worry

If your cat is vomiting frequently or if their vomit contains blood or anything other than saliva and partially digested food, you should take them to the vet right away. Chronic vomiting can be a sign of a serious medical condition and will require immediate attention.

Also, if your cat is experiencing other symptoms along with vomiting, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, diarrhea, or changes in behavior, it’s important to get them seen by a veterinarian. These can be signs of a more serious problem and should not be ignored.

Tests Your Vet May Run to Determine the Cause of Vomiting

Unfortunately, the cause of your cat’s vomit isn’t so straightforward. If your cat continues to have issues with vomiting, there are some different tests your vet can run based on the specifics of the situation. Some of these tests can be more in-depth, like blood work and x-rays. Your vet may have to run one or more of the following tests:

  • Abdominal x-rays
  • Blood work
  • Ultrasound
  • Endoscopy
  • Exploratory Surgery

Each of these tests will help identify foreign objects that may be in your cat. These tests will also help determine if there are any issues with internal organs, like swelling.

A picture of a cat up close.

Home Remedies for Cat Vomiting

If your cat’s vomiting is mild and infrequent, there are a few home remedies that can help soothe their stomach and reduce nausea. Here are a few tips:

  • Feed them smaller portions of food spread out throughout the day.
  • Make sure they have access to plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Give them probiotic supplements or plain yogurt with active cultures to help replenish their gut bacteria.
  • If you suspect your cat is vomiting due to hairballs, try giving them an over-the-counter medication. These products contain ingredients that coat the hairball and make it easier for your pet to pass it through their digestive system.

Finally, if your cat’s vomiting persists or gets worse, take them to the vet right away for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

It’s important to note that these remedies are not meant to replace professional medical advice. If you think your cat’s vomiting may be caused by an underlying condition, it’s best to get them seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Remember, always talk to your vet before trying any home remedy for your cat! They will be able to provide the best advice and treatment plan for your pet’s specific needs.

Keep Your Cat Healthy With Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic

Just like us, cats can get sick, too. If your cat is throwing up, this isn’t normally something to worry about, but it can be a symptom of something more serious. Home remedies can work great, but if your cat doesn’t stop vomiting, you should seek additional treatment. If you’re concerned about why your cat is vomiting, you should always take your pet to their vet. Your veterinarian will check your cat to ensure that your pet is in good health.

At Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic, our team of experienced veterinarians and staff are dedicated to providing the highest quality care for your pet. We offer a variety of services, including general wellness exams, vaccinations, spay and neuter services, microchipping, and much more. If you’re concerned about your cat’s vomiting or have any other questions, please give us a call today. We’re here to help keep your pet healthy and happy!

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