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My cat won't stop vomiting: what to do and when to worry

My cat won't stop vomiting: what to do and when to worry

Although occasional vomiting is normal for cats, frequent or severe vomiting may signal an underlying health problem in your cat. In this article, our vets in Seattle explore the reasons behind cat vomiting, what to do when it persists, and when to consult a veterinarian.

My Cat Keeps Vomiting

Cats, similar to humans, can experience upset stomachs for various reasons. Your cat's upset stomach may have several potential causes, including parasites, viruses, adverse reactions to specific foods, or even more severe issues like organ problems or cancer.

If your cat frequently vomits or does so more than once a month, scheduling a visit to the vet is crucial. This step will assist in determining the root cause of their vomiting.

Reasons Your Cat May Be Vomiting

Eating Too Much, Too Quickly

Your cat may vomit shortly after eating if it has consumed too much food too rapidly. If this applies to your feline, you can find some enjoyable cat bowls that can assist in slowing down your cat's eating.

However, if your cat consistently throws up immediately after eating, it could indicate a more severe issue, like dehydration, hairballs, digestive tract blockages, or problems with the esophagus. In such cases, taking your cat to the vet for examination is essential.

Hairballs 

Hairballs form when your cat's stomach accumulates clumps of undigested fur. Longhair cats and those who groom excessively are more prone to this issue. When cats attempt to eliminate hairballs, they often make hacking noises, experience spasms, and may vomit.

Typically, cats can naturally expel hairballs without much trouble. Nevertheless, if your cat struggles to get rid of a hairball, it's essential to seek veterinary care. Trapped hairballs can lead to perilous intestinal blockages that could prove fatal.

Other Serious Conditions That May Cause Vomiting in Cats

  • Intestinal foreign bodies
  • Food allergies
  • Poisoning
  • Intestinal Parasites
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Metabolic Disorder (i.e., Kidney Disease)

When to Worry About Your Cat's Vomiting

If your cat occasionally vomits or does so infrequently, consider refraining from feeding them for approximately 12 hours. Give your cat a few tablespoons of water every 30 minutes during this period, or offer them ice cubes.

After the 12-hour timeframe, reintroduce your cat to small portions of bland food and gradually return to their regular feeding schedule if vomiting ceases.

Should your cat experience recurrent vomiting episodes, contact your veterinarian promptly. Persistent or severe vomiting may indicate a serious illness in your cat, necessitating immediate emergency treatment. Contact your veterinarian if your cat displays any of the following symptoms:

  • 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 can 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 indicate 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 smell strongly.

Treatment

Treating vomiting in cats centers around addressing the root cause. Depending on the source of your cat's symptoms, the treatment may involve something as straightforward as a temporary food restriction or something as intricate as surgery or chemotherapy.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Has your cat been vomiting consistently? Contact our Seattle vets to book an appointment.

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