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

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

There are many reasons why a cat may vomit, and it's not always concerning. However, if you're unsure, seek medical attention from our veterinarians at Gilbert.

Is it normal for my cat to vomit?

There are many possible reasons why your cat may begin to vomit.

Cats can experience an upset stomach due to various reasons, such as consuming harmful substances, exposure to viruses and parasites, or potentially severe conditions, including cancer or organ-related issues.

Pet parents should be aware that if your cat vomits more often than once a month or keeps vomiting repeatedly, it's time to see your vet to determine the underlying cause of your cat's vomiting.

What are some reasons why my cat might vomit?

Hairballs / Furballs

If you have a cat that loves to groom itself, you may have noticed some hacking noises or spasms that accompany vomiting. This could be a sign that your cat has hairballs, which are clumps of undigested fur that accumulate in their stomach. Hairballs are more common in longhair cats or those that groom themselves excessively.

In the majority of cases, hairballs are easily brought up by cats, but if your cat is experiencing difficulties when trying to expel a hairball, it's time to see a vet. Occasionally hairballs become trapped and can lead to intestinal blockages, which may be fatal.

Eating Too Much & Too Quickly

If your kitty eats too much food too quickly, vomiting will likely result soon after they eat. If your cat often eats quickly and then vomits, many fun cat bowls are available to help slow your cat's eating and help to prevent vomiting.

That said, vomiting right after eating could be an indication of a more serious health issue such as hairballs, a digestive tract obstruction, dehydration, or esophageal issues. If your cat frequently vomits right after eating, it's time to visit the vet.

What Serious Conditions Could Be Affecting My Cat?

Although it may seem like normal cat behavior, it's important not to ignore your cat's vomiting as it could be a sign of a severe underlying health issue. Some of the more significant reasons for a cat to vomit include:

  • Poisoning
  • Intestinal foreign bodies
  • Intestinal Parasites
  • Food allergies
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Metabolic Disorder (ie: Kidney Disease)

When Should I Bring My Cat To The Vet?

If your cat is vomiting periodically or infrequently, avoid giving your cat any food for about 12 hours. Provide kitty with a couple of tablespoons of water every 30 minutes or provide them with ice cubes during this brief fasting period. After 12 hours, begin providing your cat with small amounts of bland food and gradually return to normal feeding if vomiting has stopped.

If your cat is repeatedly vomiting, it's important to contact your vet immediately. Continuous or severe vomiting could indicate a serious illness that requires prompt treatment. Be sure to get in touch with your vet if your cat displays any of the following symptoms:

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

The Diagnosis For Cats That Are Vomiting

When taking your cat to the vet due to vomiting, it may sound 'icky' but 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.

Some of the things your vet may notice thanks to a sample of vomit are:

  • 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 your vet notices that bile is present in your cat's vomit, it may be an indication of pancreatitis or inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Red blood in vomit is a sign that your cat's stomach may be ulcerated.
  • Strong smelling vomit may indicate that your cat has an intestinal obstruction.

Treatment For Cats That Are Vomiting

When it comes to treating vomiting in cats, the treatment will depend upon the underlying cause of the problem. Depending on what's causing your cat's symptoms, treatment could be as simple as temporarily withholding food, or as complex as surgery or chemotherapy.

If your cat is vomiting frequently or excessively, it is advisable to contact our vets at Gilbert without delay to ensure prompt treatment. This could be a potential emergency, and it is best to have your cat examined as soon as possible.

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