Why Do Cats Vomit?

Every cat owner knows what a puddle of cat vomit looks like and the sound it makes when it comes out. But when should cat owners begin to become concerned about the appearance of cat vomit? When is it okay to just sigh and reach for a paper towel? When should the vomiting be taken more seriously? Keep reading to find out why cats vomit and when you should worry!

Cat feeding on milk

The Extra-Long List of Reasons Why Your Cat is Vomiting

If you have owned a cat for a long time, you will no doubt have heard the hairball defense.

It’s the number one explanation pet owners give for an unexpected pile of regurgitated cat mess on the floor, even when there is no sign of hair or a ball. The hairball defense is dangerous because there are many things other than fur that can be collected in the stomach such as:

  • Worms or parasites
  • Bacterial or viral diseases
  • Ingestion of a foreign object
  • Gastro inflammation
  • Cancer
  • Diet (food allergies, overeating, strange prey consumption)
  • Disease manifesting itself in the form of vomiting
  • Toxins (poison, household products, toxic plants)
  • Motion sickness

You must be aware of whether the vomit is an acute (one-time) occasion or if your cat is displaying signs of a more chronic nature. Observe the overall behavior of your cat and make your decision.

When to Visit the Vet

If your cat has chronic, long term problems with vomiting, this could indicate it has internal digestive system complications. If your cat has a sudden attack of acute vomiting or seems to be struggling to dislodge something from the throat, make an appointment at your local veterinary practice as early as possible. The good news is that these attacks are usually because of acute gastritis. A benign condition that will resolve with supportive care such as fluids and rest.

If your cat vomits when it is in the car or on the way to the vet for a check-up in a carrier, this is most often a bad case of travel sickness. Cats can become excessively distressed when confined to a moving vehicle, so always transport them in a carrier. An unrestrained, angry cat lose in a moving car is a nightmare.

Cats are also obligate carnivores; vomiting might be a sign your cat has been eating things they should not have or that your cat needs a change in its diet.

Are Some Cat Breeds More Prone to Vomiting Than Others?

The quick answer to this question is no. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that one breed of cat is more prone to vomiting than others. Furthermore, it is a myth to believe that cats as an entire species are prone to vomiting.

Cats that have bouts of chronic vomiting need to have a full set of tests to make sure there is no underlying problem. Chronic vomiting is rarely caused by hairballs as this is usually a discreet cat trait that cats attempt to hide and not perform in public.

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