Pet Health

Is Your Cat Throwing Up? Look to These 7 Common Causes

Not unlike humans, cats experience occasional hacking, coughing, and vomiting, but if your feline’s regurgitations are frequent, it may be time to take a closer look at the underlying cause. Whether your cat just began to vomit for the first time, he or she seems to be ill, or you’re worried about an ongoing, chronic condition, read on for several common factors that may be the cause of your cat’s upset stomach.

1. Diet

If you notice an increase in vomiting following a recent change in your cat’s diet, your four-legged friend may have stomach issues due to a reaction to any modifications to the time, amount, or frequency of their meals.

Make sure you introduce a new food or feeding schedule gradually in order to give your cat’s body time to adjust and keep an eye on your pet in case the situation does not improve with consistency.

2. Feeding Behaviors

The speed at which your cat eats, as well as how much they consume, may be one reason for his or her vomiting, especially if it occurs immediately after or soon after meals. Many cats are overeager with the amount of food they eat, and some eat their food entirely too quickly.

If you suspect either is the case, invest in a specialized food bowl to slow the pace at which he or she eats, but pay attention to whether the problem persists, as this could indicate a separate issue exists to cause vomiting in your pet.

3. Hairballs

Because cats lick their fur to self-groom, clumps of hair may accumulate in his or her stomach, where they can sit undigested and come back up as a hairball. Hairballs should typically pass through your cat’s digestive tract without issue, but the occasional regurgitated hairball is considered a normal occurrence for healthy, active cats.

However, if your cat hacks up a hairball more than a couple of times a month, it may indicate an additional digestive issue and a call to your veterinarian is in order.

4. Foreign Materials

From chewed pieces of inorganic material to unhealthy parasites, your cat’s vomiting may be a sign that his or her body is trying to expel a foreign object or presence. Vomiting may indicate a bowel obstruction, an indigestible material in his or her digestive tract, or a parasite in the intestines. In each of these instances, medical attention is necessary to resolve the issue.

5. Digestive Illness

Cats are vulnerable to many of the same digestive issues as humans, including gastroenteritis, constipation, ulcers, and inflammatory bowel disease. While many stomach bugs will resolve on their own in a matter of hours, keep in mind that severe, and even some moderate, digestive illnesses will require a visit to your veterinarian.

Maintain a watchful eye on your cat to ensure the condition is acute and that he or she does not become dehydrated.

6. Allergies & Toxins

Vomiting is the body’s way of rejecting an unfamiliar, harmful, or unwelcome substance, so it could mean your cat has eaten something it shouldn’t. Many common houseplants and materials are actually toxic to cats, which can prompt them to vomit if they’ve begun to chew or ingest anything their bodies consider harmful.

As well, vomiting could be a sign that your cat’s body is sensitive or allergic to something in his or her diet or environment. If you suspect allergies or an intolerance, make note of any other symptoms and make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

7. Other Diseases

In some cases, vomiting is a symptom of more serious conditions. If your cat’s vomiting does not appear to be caused by benign factors, an underlying illness may be the source of your cat’s distress, such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Kidney disease
  • Thyroid disease
  • Cancer

If you’re concerned about your cat’s vomiting, make note of how long it’s persisted, the appearance, the frequency, and any other important details that would help a veterinarian more accurately and swiftly diagnose and treat your pet. The providers at 1st Pet Veterinary Centers can evaluate and treat your cat so your pet can feel as happy and healthy as possible.