If you have a cat, you know they can be prone to the unpleasant habit of vomiting on the carpet (or in your shoes!) from time to time. Just like humans, cats can get upset stomachs on occasion, and vomit as a result. More often than not, this can be attributed to hairballs or something they ate, but sometimes, it can be an indication of an underlying health issue that should be checked out by your vet.
While it’s fairly common, it’s never “normal” for cats to vomit on a regular basis. So how can you tell the difference between an occasional stomach ache and something that’s cause for concern? Read on for our expert-vetted tips and signs to watch out for to help keep your cat in purr-fect health.
Common Causes for Cat Vomiting
One of the most common causes of a cat vomiting from time to time is furballs, which are ingested wads of fur that clump in a cat’s stomach as a result of self-grooming. When a cat’s body tries to rid itself of these hair clumps, they vomit to get rid of them (gross, we know).
Additionally, sometimes cats (indoor cats, especially), eat too much, too fast. This causes their stomach walls to expand too quickly, sending a signal to their brain to cause regurgitation. To help your cat slow down while eating (and prevent vomiting), consider breaking up meal time into more frequent, smaller meals throughout the day. If you’re not around all day to administer mealtime, automatic feeders dispense a specific amount of food at a time to help with this.
Along with eating too fast, dietary changes, including new food and treats, can cause upset stomachs for your cat. Try to introduce new foods and treats slowly by mixing half of their old food with the new food to help their sensitive stomachs get accustomed to new ingredients. If your cat’s stomach is still irritated, they may have a food allergy, and it’s best to chat with your veterinarian about different options.
When to be Concerned
If your cat doesn’t have hairballs, isn’t eating too fast, hasn’t been introduced to a new food, and is still vomiting, it may be time to voice your concern to your vet. In fact, cats that vomit more than once per week, or even consistently every few weeks, can be showing signs of an underlying problem.
If your cat vomits more than three times in a row, cannot keep food or water down, has diarrhea, or is acting lethargic, they should be seen by a vet as soon as possible. Additionally, if your cat has already been diagnosed with an illness (such as diabetes, kidney disease, or hyperthyroidism), this can indicate an emergency situation and, as PetMD recommends, your cat should be seen immediately, as this could mean that their disease is progressing.
Outdoor cats can arguably be a larger cause for concern given you don’t really know what they’ve ingested. If your outdoor cat is vomiting excessively (more than three times in an hour), and exhibiting common signs of possible poisoning – like drooling, discolored gums, or difficulty breathing – it’s a good idea to contact your local veterinarian or pet poison helpline to get them the care they need ASAP.
Unfortunately, there’s no over-the-counter pill or regurgitation remedy to treat your cat’s stomach pain. If you’re concerned about the frequency of your cat’s vomiting, the best thing you can do is contact your veterinarian to schedule an appointment to help determine why your cat is throwing up so much.