Catalina Pet Hospital
When deciding whether to worry about your cat's vomiting, there are quite a few things to consider. The first is to determine whether your cat is vomiting or regurgitating, which involves witnessing the act. Vomiting, which is much more common, involves active retching or heaving before anything is expelled from the mouth. With regurgitation, food or liquid is spewed from the mouth without any retching or heaving. A cat who is regurgitating should be seen by their veterinarian as soon as possible, due to risk of aspiration pneumonia and esophagus damage.
Vomiting has many causes. Cat owners are often familiar with their cats having hairballs or vomiting after eating too much food, too quickly. Other causes can include:
- motion sickness from travel
- medication side effect
- virus, bacteria, fungus, or parasite infection
- food allergy/intolerance
- ingestion of toxins, plants, or indigestible objects
- obstruction of the intestine due to indigestible object or cancer
- inflammatory bowel disease
- disease of the kidneys, liver, or pancreas
- metabolic diseases like hyperthyroidism and diabetes
- certain cancers
Specific patterns of vomiting, correlated with other symptoms, can help your veterinarian determine which diseases are more likely. This includes:
- How old is the cat?
- Does the cat go outside?
- How long has the vomiting been going on?
- How often is the cat vomiting? What is vomited?
- How is the cat's appetite?
- What kind of food does the cat eat?
- Is the cat lethargic or hiding?
- Is there blood in the vomit?
- Is the cat having diarrhea?
- Has the cat lost weight?
- Is the cat dehydrated?
Now, how do you decide whether you should go to your veterinarian? Any cat who is vomiting after every time they eat, has blood or worms in their vomit, is lethargic or hiding, was witnessed eating something inappropriate, or has stopped eating, should be seen right away by your veterinarian. Other causes for concern are if your cat vomits weekly or more frequently, has lost weight, has a decreased or increased appetite, increased thirst or urination, or also has diarrhea. Knowing the answers to the above questions will greatly assist your veterinarian in interpreting any bloodwork or xrays that may be needed to diagnose the cause of your cat's vomiting.