Cat vomiting is often absolutely normal and natural and there is nothing to worry about. It can be
the result of the cat eating too much, too fast or eating something that is not digestible (for example grass) and the cat is simply using a natural mechanism to get it out of her system.
So, as long as your cat looks healthy and happy, and everything is well otherwise, an occasional episode of cat vomiting should not worry you.
On the other hand, if your cat keeps on vomiting on a frequent basis, or if there are other symptoms as well, your cat may be suffering from a more serious illness that needs to be taken care of.
Typical causes of feline vomiting are:
- Intake of irritant or toxic substances
- Gastric disease
- Minor digestive upset
- Cat needs to eliminate a hair ball
- Travel sickness – caused by a disturbance of the balance organs in the inner ear
The video below explains hairball vomiting and some possible treatments:
In case your cat or kitten is throwing up, food should not be given for about eight hours (except your cat is vomiting a hair ball – that’s normal and there is nothing to worry about), but a small quantity of water can be given after two hours as long as this does not provoke more vomiting.
Continue to give water every hour until the cat is no longer thirsty. When feeding is resumed, offer a small quantity of a bland food at first and then gradually increase the quantity to the normal amount. If vomiting resumes, is persistent or is accompanied by other symptoms, take the cat to a veterinarian.
If the veterinarian suspects a serious underlying problem, further treatment and tests may be required. In certain cases it may be necessary to hospitalize your cat in order to provide intravenous fluids to prevent severe dehydration and to correct any electrolytes imbalances.
Also, certain medication may be required to control the vomiting. In less severe cases you can administer special solutions at home. In most cases you will do so using a syringe. You must be patient, giving only small quantities at frequent intervals. If your cat becomes unduly distressed, contact your vet for further help.
Additional tests could be required in cases of chronic cat vomiting (when vomiting persists for more than 2-3 weeks)), even though the vomiting may be intermittent and the cat may appear otherwise well. The underlying causes need to be determined in order to assure proper treatment.
Here are some of the tests that may be required:
- Blood tests: Allows to check for infections, kidney and liver problems, and provide other clues to the diagnosis.
- X-ray: Allows to identify abnormalities of the esophagus or stomach. It may be necessary to give barium to help identify any blockages, tumors, ulcers, foreign bodies…
- Endoscopy: Viewing the inside of the stomach through an endoscope viewing tube may provide additional information to properly diagnose the problem.
- In some cases of severe cat vomiting an exploratory operation may be required, particularly if some obstruction or blockage is suspected. This may also allow surgical treatment of the problem.