Cat vomiting is always a concern to pet owners who wonder if it indicates something serious. Unless you see your cat vomiting bile or blood, however, most causes of cat vomit are relatively easy to treat. Some will require professional treatment by a veterinarian. Here are some of the common causes of vomiting in cats.
Probably the number one cause of cat vomiting is hairballs. When your cat grooms and cleans himself, the fur goes through his intestinal tract and generally comes out in the stool. But sometimes cats have tender stomach and you'll hear the hacking cough that's a precursor to them vomiting a hairball. Unless your cat coughs up hairballs more than twice a month, there's no cause for alarm. You could give him food with hairball remedy or try a separate hairball cream sold by veterinarians and pet supply companies.
Eating Too Fast
Your cat may be an aggressive eater, or may be stressed out by competition for the food bowl in multi-cat households. The remedy for overeating is simply to put less in the bowl for the cat or, if it's competition, provide a separate bowl for each cat. Be prepared for the stressed-out cat to check out both bowls, however. You could also try feeding the cats at different times of the day. Another remedy is to put a small ball in the food bowl, causing the cat to eat around it and, consequently, to eat less.
Being curious creatures, cats like to chew on all kinds of things, from grass, carpet, newspaper, plastic, toilet paper and tissue, to pieces of string and fuzzy parts of toys. Any one of these can cause your cat to vomit to rid himself of the item. In fact, some indoor cats make a beeline for the outdoors specifically to chow down on grass in order to promote hairball removal. Be sure to watch for signs of chewing on magazines, books and other items. Also check the vomit to see if there are traces of the substances.
Cats will try to consume strangely-shaped objects. This may be a piece of wood or a stick, a ball, piece of bone (especially meat, fish and poultry bones). These can become lodged in their throats and they will try to get rid of it by vomiting.
Sometimes cat vomiting is caused by a rapid change in their diet. If you have recently switched from wet cat food to dry cat food, for example, this could cause your cat to vomit. Try going back to the previous food, and re-introducing the new food on a gradual basis.
Food Allergies and Food Intolerances
When a cat has an allergic reaction to one or more ingredients in his cat food, he will most likely vomit. This is the cat's protective mechanism for cleansing its system. Most common food allergies are to fish, beef, eggs, wheat and milk. Your cat may become allergic to food even after eating it without incident for a long time.
Food intolerances are similar to allergies, but may mean your cat now suffers from a disturbance in their digestive system caused by something in the food. Milk is the most common food intolerance in cats.
Cat vomiting may be caused by an infection such as salmonella, giardia and others. You need to take the cat to the veterinarian to be treated.
Another common cause of cat vomiting is parasites. These include hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm and whip worm. Excessive vomiting is one sign, along with weakness, weight loss, diarrhea and a pot belly. See your veterinarian for treatment, which may include multiple treatments with medicine and other preventative measures.
Cats who ingest aspirin, poisonous plants (both indoor and outdoor varieties), anti-freeze and other poisons may react by vomiting. Some poisonous plants include oleander, Easter lily, philodendron, English ivy, geranium, foxglove, lily of the valley, asparagus fern, baby's breath, bird of paradise and clematis. If you think your cat has eaten from a poisonous plant, you should contact your veterinarian immediately and follow his instructions. You may need to induce vomiting by giving him a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide every 10 minutes, or place ¼-teaspoon of salt at the back of the tongue, or another method the veterinarian suggests.
There are other things that may cause vomiting in cats. One is motion sickness. If your feline must travel by car, don't feed him before you leave. Other more serious causes include heatstroke, kidney disease and uremia, liver disease and adrenal gland disease, among others. If your find your cat vomiting blood or bile, contact your veterinarian immediately.