If your cat vomits once in a while, consider yourself one of the lucky! Cats are known for their sensitive stomachs and then there is the whole hairball performance. Anyone who has heard that telltale retching coming from their poor cat knows all about it and why is it cats always head to the lightest, cleanest stretch of carpet in the house to vomit?
Cats vomit for many reasons – a sudden change in food, ingestion of a toxin or dead animal, allergies, exposure to bacteria or parasites, and disease are all common causes of why cats vomit. There are other reasons as well and then there is just the fact that it’s a cat and cats like do odd things sometimes. In the words of one great emergency veterinarian ‘dogs we can treat, cats get sick, or get better, to spite us’.
Keep in mind any cat vomiting must be taken seriously. Cats can become dehydrated quickly which can become a life threatening condition in the space of a heart beat. If your cat is vomiting frequently, if there is blood in the vomit, or if he is retching but nothing is coming up, take him to the vet hospital immediately!
How to Treat Cat Vomiting
There are two classifications to most types of illness: acute and chronic. Acute illness comes on suddenly, is violent in nature and usually has a definite resolution. Chronic describes a longstanding disease that lasts indefinitely and may or may not be entirely treatable.
Treating Acute Cat Vomiting
Acute vomiting can often be caused by a sudden change in food and you can treat your pet at home. Pull their food and water up and make sure they are not sneaking drinks from other parts of the house. This break from food allows the inflammation of the stomach and digestive tract to decrease, an essential part of returning your pet to normal. Once a few hours have passed without further vomiting, begin to reintroduce small amounts (half a teaspoon or less at a time) of water to your cat and if he keeps it down, repeat every thirty minutes for a several hours. If he continues to keep the water down and seems bright in all other aspects, give him a teaspoon or less of his food and wait an hour. If he keeps it down, repeat the process each hour for the next few hours. He should be back on his feet in no time!
However, because of how quickly cats become dehydrated, acute vomiting in cats can be dangerous and care must be taken to monitor their hydration levels as well as their energy. If they appear lethargic or their gums become tacky, it is important to get him to the hospital as quickly as possible.
Other causes of acute vomiting in cats are more difficult to treat. If you feel your cat has eaten something toxic, whether a poison or a ‘kill’, a trip to the vet is in order. Treating a cat suffering from acute vomiting at home is only recommended if you know exactly what is causing the problem and are able to monitor their health throughout the treatment.
Treating Chronic Cat Vomiting
Chronic vomiting in cats is a very different problem then acute vomiting. Often the cat only vomits once in a while or may go through a few days of semi-frequent vomiting with month or many month long breaks between bouts. Diagnosis can be difficult under these circumstances.
How you treat cat vomiting is dependent on many factors:
Is it an occasional occurrence or reoccurring?
Does your cat only vomit up hairballs?
Does your cat vomit after eating or between meals?
Your vet may find anything from an infestation of worms or other parasites to chronic conditions requiring medication and long-term treatment. Hairballs are best treated with careful grooming so the cat ingests less fur while bathing and vomiting shortly after eating can indicate a food allergy or sensitivity.
Keep careful track of your pet’s day to day health, what they eat and when, and when they vomit for your vet as a detailed schedule can help narrow down the many possibilities. You may find you are forced to work with the vet to come up with a solution but it is worth it in the end. Be patient.
A Healthy GI Tract goes a Long Way in Successfully Treating Cat Vomiting
Most veterinarians strive for an accurate diagnosis but with treating chronic cat vomiting, it is often a battle. One way to help make sure your cat is on the winning side is to help support a healthy digestive tract.
Supplements including soil-based probiotics, calmatives, amino acids, deacidifiers, and enzymes are available to speed recovery of the GI tract.
The most important part of treating cat vomiting is consistency and patience. Speak with your vet about an appointment with a holistic veterinarian or veterinary nutritionist and work with them to find a resolution.