Why is My Cat Vomiting?

Do you have a cat? Have they been vomiting a lot? Are you concerned about what might be causing your cat to vomit so much and whether it’s an issue?

Many cat owners find themselves faced with a cat throwing up more often than they would like. Although most causes of vomiting in cats are nothing to worry about, it is important to consider all the possibilities when determining what’s going on with your pet. In the article below, we’ll explore some of the potential causes of vomiting in cats and help you narrow down the issue for your feline friend.

cat vomiting

Hairballs

The most common cause of vomiting in cats isn’t really vomiting at all, but hairballs. Hairballs occur in any cat except for those that are completely hairless. When a cat grooms themselves, they lick loose hairs off their body and end up swallowing them. Over time, they form a wet clump in the stomach that must be regurgitated.

Although hairballs can be unpleasant for humans to have to clean up, they aren’t a cause for concern in your cat. Some cats have hairballs a couple of times a week, and this is still okay too. Just be sure your cat is eating, drinking, and using the litter box normally otherwise.

Food Intolerance

Food intolerance and food allergy can cause vomiting as well. Some cats are incapable of tolerating certain types of food and ingredients, even those that are found in cat food blends. If your cat’s vomiting typically occurs shortly after eating, this could be the cause.

Try changing your cat to a healthier food blend and choosing dry food made specifically for cats with sensitive stomachs. If this food change resolves the issue, you can probably safely assume your cat’s vomiting came from food intolerance and nothing more sinister.

Consuming a Foreign Object

Cats are notorious for eating objects they shouldn’t. If your cat finds an interesting small item on the floor, they may ingest it, which could lead to vomiting. In many cases, and especially if the object is small, cats may vomit it up without much trouble. However, it is possible that ingesting a foreign object could lead to an intestinal blockage, which is a potentially life-threatening emergency.

If your cat’s vomiting is black or contains stool, this is a sign of intestinal blockage. Take your cat to the emergency vet immediately if you notice this dangerous symptom.

Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites are not common in housecats who live indoors all the time. However, if your cat goes outside now and then or if you have just recently adopted them from a shelter or rescue, your cat could have a parasite that needs to be treated.

Take a sample of your cat’s stool from the litter box to be tested by the veterinarian. The vet can tell you if your cat’s stool contains any parasites, and if so, can also provide your pet with a deworming treatment to get rid of the problem quickly. Keep your cat up to date on vaccinations to reduce the risk of parasites as well.

Illness

Many types of illness, both acute and chronic, can cause vomiting in cats. If your cat becomes sick, they may start vomiting along with other symptoms. This type of vomiting typically lasts longer than a day or two and may be accompanied with fever, pain, diarrhea, and dehydration. 

If your cat seems to have symptoms of an illness and is vomiting for more than a day or two, go to the vet as soon as possible. And if your cat seems to be suffering from dehydration, go to the emergency vet, as they may need fluids.

Being a Cat

While it may seem strange to first-time cat owners, it’s important to keep in mind that some cats simply vomit every now and then for no discernible reason, and this is typically okay. As long as your cat is only vomiting once or twice and seems fine—and as long as they don’t have other concerning symptoms or dehydration—then this is nothing to worry about.

Always double-check with your veterinarian if you have any reason to be worried about your cat’s vomiting, or if the vomiting goes on for several days.

Talk to Your Vet if Your Cat Keeps Throwing Up

Based on this information, it’s easy to see why vomiting isn’t often a cause for concern in cats. However, if your cat’s vomiting lasts longer than a day or two, or if it is accompanied by any other concerning symptoms, take them to the vet or emergency vet as soon as possible for treatment and diagnosis.

It is important to remember that vomiting is often perfectly normal behavior in cats, and that the cause is typically hairballs. Just pay close attention to your cat’s behavior, symptoms, and overall wellness to be sure they don’t need medical care.

Does your cat keep throwing up and you need to talk with a vet? Book an appointment through the online form to talk with a Heart + Paw team at any of our locations!

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Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.

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