Route Isabelle
Route Isabelle
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01481 723863
Route Isabelle
Route Isabelle
01481 723863 Mon - Fri 08:00 - 18:30 | Sat 08:00 - 17:30 | Sunday by appointment
01481 241056 Mon - Fri 08:30 - 18:00 | Sat 08:30 - 12:30 | Sunday by appointment
01481 723863

Vomiting in my cat

Vomiting is defined as the forceful ejection of gastric and occasionally, proximal small intestine content through the mouth.

Most cats will very occasionally vomit. Because humans hate to vomit, we assume that the same applies to our cats. The concern is not the act of vomiting but the frequency and the potential cause.

Vomiting occurs under the control of a series of complex activities originating in the vomit centre of the brain and a chemical receptor in the heart. Between them, they recognise stimuli from elsewhere in the body which triggers gastric and diaphragmatic contraction leading to vomiting. Many animals will have increased salivation indicating nausea before vomiting.

The importance of the owner’s assessment is to determine the importance of the symptom and whether it warrants professional help by visiting the veterinarian or whether home care and nursing will suffice. The following symptoms should be noted?

  • How often does your cat vomit? Weekly, daily, hourly?
  • How long has it been vomiting? One hour, one day, one week?
  • How well is your cat? Is it bright, dull, collapsed?
  • Are there other symptoms? Diarrhoea, inappetence, incontinence?

Unfortunately, only experience, common sense and professional knowledge can give you all the answers, but the general rule is that if the vomiting is only occasional, of recent duration and if your pet is reasonably bright, then probably there is not too much to worry about and, vice versa.


Causes of vomiting

There are too many causes of vomiting to list here. However, the article will look at a few of the more compelling causes and solutions.

  • Fur balls in cats are probably the most common cause.
  • Swallowed ‘foreign bodies’. This can be anything from an undigested mouse to sewing needles in the cat. Many smaller foreign bodies will cause initial vomiting but then pass on their own accord. However, they occasionally become lodged and become a surgical emergency. If your pet is vomiting regularly (several times per day) and NOT passing faeces, there is a potential intestinal blockage, and you should visit your vet.
  • Parasitism is divided into Roundworm and Tapeworm categories. The former is often incriminated in causing partial intestinal blockages, especially in kittens. If you have not wormed your cat in the past three months, it may be worth doing so.
  • Dietary problems are a common cause of vomiting whether they are primary (over eating, gorging, too rich, too fatty food) or secondary to some other cause of vomiting (such as a gastric infection). If your cat has a delicate stomach, we would suggest a low fat, easily digested, medium protein diet fed in several small portions over the day.
  • Metabolic diseases such as kidney disease, liver disease, sepsis, changes in mineral balance can all lead to vomiting. They usually present with other symptoms as well and will need veterinary attention.
  • Poisons. It depends on the type of poison, but, if known then consult your vet immediately.
  • Infections of the stomach (gastritis) often also affect the upper intestine so that your cat may also present with diarrhoea. Certain infections may also affect you. Use gloves when handling vomit and faeces and wash well afterwards with an antiseptic solution. Most infections are self-limiting after a couple of days when the bodies immunity overcomes the bacteria or virus.


Treatment for vomiting

Treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms. If your cat is reasonably bright, passing faeces and vomiting just a couple of times per week, then home nursing may be all that is required.

  • Starve for 24 hours
  • Keep in the house for three days with a litter tray to evaluate faeces and to prevent eating elsewhere.
  • Remove water and offer a rehydration electrolyte to prevent dehydration. In the first 24 hours, this should be given at the rate of five to ten ml every half hour by mouth. If too much is given at once, vomiting will reoccur. This can be continued on an ad-lib basis for a further three days along with bottled water as required
  • Change to a low fat, low fibre, medium protein diet for a minimum for three days or if a dietary sensitivity/allergy is suspected. Feed 4 small feeds daily.
  • Worm your pet regularly.

If vomiting persists for more than 48 hours, seek veterinary attention.