Around 80% of cat parents say that their feline friends have experienced some type of digestive distress over the past six months. The most common digestive issues that cats can suffer from are vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. But the cause of all of these problems are different from one animal to the next, and they also have various clinical manifestations.
When it comes to vomiting, some cats do it because they actually have health problems, but others do it because of hairballs or because they are just too greedy with their food.
While it might be true that cats are a lot more rational when it comes to food compared to their canine counterparts, some can get a little crazy about food to the point that they eat too much, too often.
For example, if you feed your cat a diet composed of dry food and just the occasional canned food now and then, she might love it so much that she’s going to wolf down all the wet food portion even though she had some dry food just before. But should you be alarmed if your cat throws up after eating and what can you do about it? Find out the answers in this post.
Why is my Cat Throwing Up?
You can’t possibly keep an eye on your cat at all times, and that’s what makes it so difficult to tell what’s causing the vomiting. However, you can at least try to make the difference between something that could truly endanger your cat’s health and a gastric irritation that can be prevented.
Your cat can throw up after eating because she ate too much or too quickly. But this can also happen if your feline companion engages in physical exercise right after having a meal. Kittens can sometimes get overly enthusiastic about play right after eating, and this almost always results in a vomiting episode.
On the other hand, cats can eat grass or just generally indigestible things right before you feed them. Naturally, this happens more often with outdoor cats rather than indoor cats. This indigestible stuff can cause vomiting, as well.
The temperature of the food can also make your feline buddy throw up. One trick that I use since I’m a cat parent myself is to refrigerate the wet food but then let the can or pack sit in a bowl of hot water before I feed it to my cat. You can, of course, let it sit at room temperature, but that takes too long, especially in the morning when all cats are hungry and apparently desperate to be fed.
Last, but not least, your cat can throw up because of hairballs. Hairballs irritate the stomach lining, and if they aren’t passed on into the intestine, they will essentially take up too much space either in the stomach or in the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine, where most of the digestion takes place).
When Should You Be Worried?
If your cat tends to vomit every day and even twice a day every day, you should definitely be concerned. If the general health status of your feline buddy seems to have been affected or if you feel like she’s lost weight or just not getting the right amount of nutrients from the food that she eats, you should also be worried.
But if your cat vomits once in a blue moon, it’s probably nothing to worry about.
Has your cat eaten something potentially dangerous? If that’s so, get in touch with a vet as soon as possible. Cats that are weak, have no energy or sleep too much, or have weird urinating habits can be ill. They can also have parasites, which is not something you should rule out even if you deworm your cat on a regular basis.
If you notice any blood in your cat’s vomit, no matter the color, you should take your feline companion to the vet’s. The color of the blood can usually tell you where the bleeding is located – if it’s fresh (red) blood, it’s located in the first segments of the digestive tract. If it’s darker, it could be blood from the lower segments of the digestive tract or blood that has already been digested.
If the cat’s vomit has a foul smell and resembles poop or coffee grounds, get to the vet as quickly as you can. Your cat might be suffering from kidney failure in this case.
What Can You Do about It?
Most of the time, vomiting is caused by something that’s treatable and common. This means that, with your vet’s help, you can come up with several solutions for preventing this mishap.
Feed smaller portions, especially when it comes to something that your cat really loves. Get a flat cat food dish. It’s both more comfortable for the cat to eat from a flat surface rather than from a deep dish, but if you use a feeding mat, this can also mean that the cat needs to ‘hunt’ the kibble instead of scarfing it down all at once.
If your cat is like mine, meaning crazy about canned food, but you only feed it to her once or twice a day, remove the kibble when feeding her wet food. Even though the cat might feel like she hasn’t had enough, having no kibble available anywhere, at least for an hour, makes it impossible for her to overfill her stomach and vomit because of this.
Don’t transition to a new cat food type or brand at once. Gradually add the new food into the old one so that your cat’s digestive system can adapt. Mix increasing amounts of the new kibble with decreasing amounts of the old cat food over a period of at least a week.
Last, but not least, learn to make the difference between a vomiting episode that’s just a nuisance and one that genuinely calls for veterinary assistance. If your cat vomits intensely or constantly, get her to the vet as soon as possible.
My vet suggested we elevate the dish. This has reduced the frequency from almost daily to about once a week.