Why Does My Cat Vomit?
One of my feline friends and I had a discussion about why cats puke more frequently than dogs. I did some research also and here is what I learned.
Vomiting is an active process that involves stomach noise, retching and heaving before food, fur or a foreign object is expelled. Regurgitation is a passive process where the food just pops out, often undigested in a tube or cigar shape.
What may cause a cat to vomit or regurgitate?
1. Gorging – My feline friends may eat too fast and too much just like we dogs may do. This triggers a stretch reflex in the stomach and the undigested food is regurgitated back up.
2. Hairballs – Cats waste a lot of their time grooming. Who are they primping for? Anyway, some cats are able to pass hair through their digestive tract into their stools but for other cats, the hairball grows in the stomach until it causes irritation and is vomited up. It is common for a cat to expel a hairball every week or two as a serious complication might occur if it is left to move into the intestinal tract where it may cause a blockage.
3. Grass or other foreign bodies – Dogs are not the only animals that like to eat things they shouldn’t. If cats eat grass, leaves, plastic, bugs and other foreign objects, it may lead to vomiting.
4. Food allergies – Believe it or not, food allergies are very common in cats – they may be allergic to either the protein or carbohydrate in their food. The most common cat food allergens are beef, fish, eggs, wheat and milk. Even if a cat has been eating the same food for years, an allergy may develop.
5. Internal parasites – Excessive vomiting could be the result of internal parasites such as hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms and whipworms. We dogs are susceptible to these same parasites!
6. Constipation – Cats that pass a dry, hard stool every few days may be constipated and vomit from feeling bloated and plugged up. How miserable!
7. Disease symptom – Frequent vomiting may be a symptom of liver failure, kidney disease, irritable bowel disease, gastritis, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, adrenal gland disease or cancer.
When should you be concerned? If your cat is vomiting several times a day, has blood in the vomit or if the vomiting is accompanied by other symptoms, contact your Vet. Treatment will ultimately depend on the cause but there are ways to help your cat avoid tummy upset. Those include offering smaller portions, providing plenty of fresh water and withholding certain ingredients.
Sources: Cornell University Feline Health Center, Kristel Weaver, DMV at webvets.com and PetCare Rx.