If you’ve own a cat, chances are you’ve had to clean up cat vomit. Vomit from time to time doesn’t always mean your cat is sick. It’s important to know that there are several reasons why cats throw up.
Often diet is the culprit. Frequent or abrupt diet changes can cause cats to vomit as well as food allergies. Chunks in gravy are usually harder on the cat’s stomach than pate. The gravy is carbohydrates and a cat’s diet should be primarly protein along with a high moisture content. If you are feeding your cat a good cat food diet but inexpensive treats that contain propylene glycol, FDC red #4, ethoxyquin, chemical dyes or emulsifiers, surfactants, and other stuff you can’t pronounce, you probably should toss them out.
Some people like to give their cat milk. Cats don’t have the enzymes required to break down the milk sugar in cow’s milk which also can result in vomiting.
As a rule of thumb, if your cat throws up infrequently and then seems to eat, play and poo normally, there is no reason for concern. By taking a good look at your cat’s vomit, you can tell a lot. Yes, I know you’d rather not but don’t you want to know why? The following are the most common reasons for vomiting:
Does the vomit contain undigested food? Your cat may be gorging. Did you know that a kitty’s esophagus is horizontal rather than vertical? Their stomachs become full and food backs up into the esophagus. Split your meals into smaller, more frequent meals if you have a gobbler.
Does the vomit contain a yellow liquid? If your cat is fed on a regular schedule, they will begin to anticipate their next meal in advance. Typically, a cat digests a meal within eight hours. Your cat may wake an hour early because he knows his meal time is approaching. Your cat’s stomach will begin releasing hydrochloric acid, gastric juices and bile, which are all needed to digest his meal. He throws up white foam and a bit of yellow bile because this acid irritates his tummy and since he has no food for the acid to digest, his body gets rid of it to avoid further irritation. Giving your cat a small treat will help until it’s meal time.
Does the vomit look like a mass of fur? This is the most frequent cause of vomiting. Cats with long hair or daily groomers need some assistance from us. Meaning, we need to brush our cats daily to help reduce the amount of hair they swallow. Loose hairs get stuck on the comblike barbs on a cat’s tongue. Cats can’t spit out that fur, so he swallows it. It’s similar to a ball of yarn, starting off small and gradually increasing in size. It doesn’t leave much room for food, so your cat will bring it up to prevent blockage.
Is there a mass of spaghetti-like worms? If you see evidence of worms in your cat’s vomit or feces, scoop them up and take them with you to your vet.
Some cats like to eat rubber bands, paper, cat toys, etc. If you suspect your cat has eaten a foreign object, get to the vet right away, this can be a life-threatening situation.
Common household toxins for cats are houseplants. Some cats like to eat houseplants, trying to compensate for a lack of certain nutrients that are available only by eating raw food. Supply your cat with kitty grass and it might help to keep him away from the houseplants. But be forewarned, eating too much cat grass can also cause vomiting.
Now, if you see a frequency of vomiting in a day, diarrhea, lethargy, blood in vomit, weight loss or a change in appetite and water intake, please see your vet immediately.