When your cat starts gagging, the first thought that might go through your head is, "Oh no, what did she get into now?" There are many reasons why your cat might throw up, some of the more serious than others. Even as a seasoned cat parent, it is important to understand the reasons behind cat vomiting. As cats age, their bodies change, and their vomit may be a way to tell you if those changes are normal or abnormal.
Cats sometimes eat too much too fast. When the stomach wall expands too quickly, a signal is sent to the brain to cause regurgitation. In these cases, the mess on your floor is from regurgitation, not actual vomiting.
How do I get my cat to stop puking?
The easiest vomit comet to stop is hacking up hairballs. By brushing your cat regularly, keeping her active and feeding her food with balanced nutrition, you may be able to reduce the number of hairballs. When it comes to regurgitating, make sure you feed your cat at the same time every day.
Why does my cat throw up undigested food?
There are several reasons for cats to regurgitate or vomit: Gorging – Cats that eat too much too fast may regurgitate from triggering a stretch reflex in the stomach. These cats regurgitate right after eating and the food is undigested in a tubular shape. It can also look like a round pile of undigested food.
Is it normal for cats to throw up?
It is common for cats to vomit, but it's never normal for them to do so. With that said, it is also not always something that has to be treated, nor does the cat need to be rushed to a veterinarian every time she vomits.
Illustration: The Spruce / Katie Kerpel
Although cat vomiting might be due to eating a part of a houseplant or ingesting a piece of a toy, your cat can get an upset stomach from over-grooming. This most often resurfaces as a hairball. Although a cat vomiting up a hairball every so often is normal, there are times when you may need to be concerned.
Chronic and acute vomiting in cats
Throwing up can be separated into two broad categories: chronic and acute vomiting. Chronic vomiting means throwing up with some regularity (at least monthly, but it can be daily) for a long period of time. The cat usually only vomits once or twice with each occurrence. When a cat who usually doesn’t vomit starts vomiting, that’s the acute type. This is generally a concern for you and your veterinarian only if the cat vomits multiple times. The diagnostic workup and treatments for acute and chronic vomiting can differ, as does the urgency of when to bring the cat to the veterinarian.
How to Prevent Vomiting
You can also take action to help prevent or decrease the frequency of vomiting in your cat:
- If your cat eats too quickly, try to slow things down. Feed frequent small meals. Offer food on a paper plate rather than a bowl. Automatic feeders dispense a specific amount of food at a time.
- If your cat still vomits after eating too low, so a bowl that fits the height of your cat will better help your cat eat. The scientifically advanced cat bowl better protects the cat’s neck and food digestion. Choosing a high bowl will provide better protection for your cat.
- If you suspect food allergies, a diet change is in order. Talk with your veterinarian about different options. Be sure to read the ingredient list carefully.
Remember, cats are curious and can get into or jump on things you might not suspect. Make sure there are no antifreeze spills on your garage floor or driveway. Keep your cat out of the garage. Pet-proof your home regularly.
To prevent hairballs, brush your cat and prevent it from over-grooming. Frequent use of a high-quality cat brush or de-shedding tool can go a long way toward preventing a veterinary emergency. You can also try hairball-reducing food that includes more fiber. Although laxatives are available to help hairballs move more smoothly through the digestive tract, it is not recommended that you give your cat a laxative without the approval and supervision of a veterinarian.
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