And why do they either do it loudly at 2 a.m. or somewhere that I’ll step in it? Sorry, we can’t answer those two questions – but we can discuss some of the reasons why your feline friend may be bringing things up, and what should be done about it.
There are three separate ways that your cat may bring something up. The first is vomiting, which is the forceful ejection of the contents in your cat’s stomach and small intestines. The second is regurgitation, which is a passive motion that ejects fluid and food from the esophagus – possibly because your cat ate too fast. Unlike vomiting, no gagging or retching is associated with regurgitation. In fact, if you don’t notice anything coming out, regurgitation can be mistaken for the third method of bringing something up – coughing. Cats cough for much of the same reasons as we do, and unless the coughing is for an extended period of time, or is a chronic condition, it is most likely not a cause for concern.
When is vomiting or regurgitation a cause for concern – when should you give us a call?
Your cat vomits more than two or three times in a row
Your cat has not eaten or drank in the last 12 hours, and has vomited several times in a row
They have diarrhea in addition to vomiting.
There appears to be blood in the vomit.
Your cat has previously been diagnosed with other issues, such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or kidney disease.
They vomited a worm.
Or – and this is a valid reason to call us – none of the above apply, but you’re concerned about them.
Things to think about in relation to their vomiting:
Have they had a change of diet – have they been eating a different food?
If they’re on the same food, what is it? Are they getting anything else, like treats? Are they still eating, or have they stopped?
Are they still drinking their normal amount?
Have they recently started any prescribed or over-the-counter medications?
Is your cat indoor/outdoor, or indoor-only?
Any other symptoms – diarrhea, weight loss, constipation?
How long, and how often, has your cat been vomiting?
It will also help us if we know what the vomit looks like. Is it clear, or is it foamy? If it is tinted a color – is it yellow, red, brown, or green? This can help point us in the right direction for diagnosis.
There are a large number of reasons that could be causing your cat to vomit – eating the wrong thing, constipation, a foreign body, toxin ingestion, kidney disease, liver disease – the list is long and varied. Cats are not all the same – they each have their own personality, quirks, likes, and dislikes. Why they vomit, and what causes it, can be as unique as they are. You are our partner in keeping them healthy, and in bringing them back to health when they’re not. So, when you’re speaking with one of our veterinarians, the more you can tell us about them, the better. As the saying goes, help us help them!
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