Feline Gastritis: A Common Cause of Cat Vomiting

Cat vomiting is one of the symptoms of feline gastritis, a term that refers to inflammation of the stomach lining. The most common sign of feline gastritis is vomiting. In most cases, symptoms are mild, but sometimes feline gastritis requires veterinary treatment, including hospitalization.

Causes of Acute and Chronic Gastritis in Cats

Acute gastritis causes feline vomiting symptoms for about seven days. Causes of acute gastritis include:

  • Ingestion of spoiled food, hair, plants or foreign objects
  • Overeating
  • Ingestion of chemicals or toxins
  • Drug side effects
  • Infection
  • Systemic infection
  • Chronic gastritis causes vomiting for up to two weeks
  • Long term exposure to any of the agents that can cause acute gastritis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Stomach cancer

There are several systemic diseases that can cause acute and chronic gastritis. These include kidney failure, liver disease, hypoadrenocorticism, neurologic disease and ulcers.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Gastritis in Cats

Most cases of acute gastritis in felines clear up on their own after a few days. Veterinary supervision may not be required. Cats who display severe symptoms, whose symptoms endure for longer than a week or who display accompanying symptoms such as diarrhea, should receive a full diagnostic workup from a licensed veterinarian.

Here are some danger signs that indicate that your cat's feline gastritis could be serious:

  • Excessive vomiting
  • Blood in the vomit
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Melena (tarry black stool that indicates digested blood)

Your vet will need to perform a thorough physical examination including:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Biochemical profile
  • Urinalysis
  • Fecal examination
  • Abdominal radiographs (X-rays)
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Endoscopy

Treatment of Feline Gastritis

Your vet will recommend a course of treatment that helps relieve your cat's symptoms, so his gastrointestinal tract can recuperate properly. You'll need to withhold food and water for several hours, then gradually reintroduce water and bland food. If your cat is dehydrated, he'll need fluid therapy to replace lost electrolytes. Antiemetics can decrease frequency of vomiting and antacids can block acid production in the stomach. Gastric protectants can soothe the GI tract.

Home Care for Feline Gastritis

If your cat begins showing signs of feline gastritis, withhold food and water until you speak to your veterinarian. Follow your vet's instructions carefully and observe your cat for signs that he may be getting worse. If symptoms do not improve, or if they worsen, your cat may need veterinary care.

Most cats suffer from non-serious cases of acute feline gastritis more than once during their lives. If your cat seems to be feeling well otherwise, withholding food and water for a few hours and then gradually introducing a bland diet, can help his gastrointestinal tract recover quickly. If your cat continues to display symptoms after you've kept him off food and water, or if there is blood in his vomit, then he needs emergency veterinary treatment. If your cat seems to be in pain, distressed or displays additional symptoms, seek veterinary attention immediately, as his symptoms may be due to a more serious condition than gastritis.

Other disorders that cause symptoms similar to feline gastritis include:

  • Allergies or food intolerance
  • Infectious disorders
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Intestinal blockage
  • Gastrointestinal ulcers
  • Neurological disorders that disturb your cat's balance
  • Pain, fear, or other psychological disturbance