Everybody spews, it’s a fact of life. Gross, yes. Necessary, sure. Normal…not so much. Why cats vomit is a mystery to many of us, but the real mystery is why we think it’s ok.
Think about the last time you had a chuck, was it fun? I think not. I’m guessing you felt awful and it tasted disgusting, but you were able to pinpoint what might have caused it. Whether it was a nasty bug or a few too many martinis the night before, I’m guessing you also took steps to make it better and had a good long think about how to avoid it in the future. It makes sense to do the same for your feline friend.
Don’t watch this video if you hate techno – or if you’re eating. I warned you.
It’s Fine. My Cat’s Just a Puker
Nope. I’m not buying that. It’s true that some kitties chunder on a semi-regular basis, but the fact still remains: there’s something on the inside of your cat that needs to be on the outside.
Excuses for frequent barfing in cats include hairballs, sensitive stomachs, eating too fast and my personal favourite “it’s just what my cat does. It’s no big deal”. Ok so maybe it’s not a big deal, but it is definitely some kind of deal and something that needs to be addressed.
Let me drive my point home – unless you’re a creature that needs to regurgitate to feed its young, regurgitating is not normal. Even yacking up hairballs is not normal and should be investigated, for the sake of your cat as well as for the sake of your carpet.
Most of the reasons your cat might be spewing are fairly harmless and easy to fix. I say harmless because they’re commonly not symptoms of big bad diseases and can be solved by making a few small tweaks to your cat’s lifestyle. There’s no need to panic, but do make note of what’s going on and do what you can to make it stop.
Even though the occasional ralph is not dangerous, it’s still unpleasant and distressing for your cat. This should be reason enough for you to want to get to the bottom of it, particularly if your kitty is of the wheezy variety. Asthma cats will do better at life in general if we work to keep them in top form and eliminate anything undesirable, including their undesirable eliminations.
Common Reasons Why Cats Vomit
Hairballs – we all know this one. Loose hairs get swallowed in a cat’s normal grooming routine and all being well, these hairs are passed in the faeces. Cats who eat a lot of dry food and are not properly hydrated will have trouble as their gastrointestinal system can not transport a hairball through to the other end. Feeding an appropriate, moisture rich diet and regularly brushing your cat will help to alleviate this problem.
Food issues – switching to a new food too quickly can upset the delicate little feline stomach, so if you need to change it should be done gradually. Other food issues include having too much time between meals (which causes a buildup of digestive substances that irritate the stomach) and eating too fast. You can get around both of these issues by feeding smaller meals more frequently and if you have more than one cat, feeding them separately will help with competition-based scarfing.
Eating plants or grass – the reason cats like to chew on leaves is something of a mystery, considering they are carnivores. Some houseplants are toxic to cats and should be kept out of reach of curious kitties. Try planting a cat grass garden to give your little leaf muncher something safe to nibble on.
Swallowing foreign objects – some cats will chew on whatever they can get their gobs on. Paper, plastic, hair pins, rubber bands or anything that isn’t food is obviously uncool when it’s inside your cat. If you suspect this is the case, please get to your vet or head to the emergency room as this situation can be life threatening.
Ingesting toxins – common sense tells us to keep poisons out of reach of children and pets, but even something as simple as your household cleaning products can cause your cat to hurl. Anything that gets on your cat will end up in your cat, so whatever you use to clean your surfaces should be safe for your feline family member to roll around in. If your cat has swallowed any kind of poison you’ll need to get to the vet as quickly as possible.
When to See The Vet
A cat who hurls once or twice and appears normal before and after the event is probably fine. However, if your kitty has not recently eaten and is not bringing up hairballs, there could be a serious problem that requires the attention of a vet. Look out for:
Persistent vomiting – if your cat chucks, then continues to throw up a frothy liquid after, there’s probably something wrong going on in the stomach. Hairballs or grass can also cause persistent upchucking, so keep an eye out for other signs of sickness as well.
Sporadic vomiting – a cat that hoiks on and off over a couple of days could have any number of nasty things happening inside, including diabetes, gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome or a really bad hairball problem. As above, get to the vet if the vomiting continues or you notice any other signs that something’s wrong.
Vomiting blood – a very bad sign. If your cat is vomiting blood or stuff that looks like coffee grounds this could be a sign of internal bleeding.
Projectile vomiting – it’s not just for the movies. This is another very bad sign which could mean really bad hairballs, foreign objects in the stomach or blood clots in the brain.
Vomiting worms – this is a sign of a really bad worm infestation. Over the counter worming medication probably won’t cut it, so get to the vet for the strong stuff.
Vomiting is not a normal thing for cats to do. Even if it’s harmless and occasional, there’s something going on that needs to be addressed, so attend to your cat’s diet, grooming and environment before you panic. If your cat continues to spew for more than 24 hours, please get to the vet.
What do you think? Does your cat do the technicolour yawn? Head to the comments and share your thoughts.