Cat throwing up

Cat Vomiting: Is It Serious?

Cat vomiting is not uncommon and usually it is nothing to worry about. However, sometimes acute vomiting can be dangerous or can be a sign of something more serious. Even if not, you do not want to be constantly cleaning up the mess. So what are some of the causes of cat vomiting, and what can you do about it?

1. Digestive Upset

Like people, some cats have sensitive stomachs that will react to something they have eaten. They may eat all kinds of things outside of the house that you cannot control, but if they throw up after eating their prepared meals, you should try a different brand or style of feeding. Some cats can be allergic to ingredients in their food, so if you think this might be a problem switch to a brand with minimal additives.

Many cats do not like to be petted after they have vomited so do not be concerned if your cat prefers to slink off into a corner to recover. If you suspect that your cat has eaten something bad, keep them off food for 24 hours to let the digestive system recover.

2. Hairballs

Hairballs can often cause cats to vomit. Hairballs affect long haired cats more than short haired but all cats will get them at some time. They swallow the hairs that get onto their tongue while grooming and these form a tangled ball which can stick in the stomach. If you see your cat coughing as if trying to throw something up, it is probably a hairball. You can reduce the frequency of cat hairballs with a hairball remedy which may contain petroleum jelly to prevent the hairs from tangling in the stomach so that they pass through the digestive system.

3. Pregnancy

Again like humans, cats will sometimes throw up in the early stages of pregnancy. If you have an unspayed female over four months or if you recently adopted a cat without being sure she had been spayed, this is a possibility that you will want to check out.

4. Acute Vomiting

Acute cat vomiting is more serious. If the cat is constantly vomiting, or appears in pain when vomiting, or has blood in the vomit or stool, you should consult your vet as soon as possible. You also need to see a vet if the cat has other symptoms along with the vomiting, such as diarrhea, weakness or lethargy, pain or breathing problems.

Causes of acute vomiting in cats include:

  • Serious underlying disease e.g. kidney or liver diseases, tumors
  • Obstruction in the esophagus
  • Dislocation of the stomach
  • Heat stroke
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Worms
  • Poisoning

Most of these can be treated but you will need to see a vet who will examine the cat and prescribe treatment for the cat vomiting or any underlying health problem that is revealed.