How to Stop a Cat From Vomiting After Eating
It isn’t uncommon as a cat owner to see a pile of throw up on your carpet or furniture occasionally. After meowing for food like they were starving, they seem to have expelled it all over your floor. Maybe they’re re-eating it. Maybe they’ve walked away, leaving the pureed version for you to tend to.
Or similarly, you may notice your kitty acting uncomfortable. Soon, they begin heaving and expel whatever is upsetting their stomachs to end up feeling fine. While you may have just chalked it up to a normal occurrence, you may be curious as to what causes it and if there is anything you can do.
Regurgitating Vs Vomiting
There is a difference between a cat regurgitating their meal and vomiting.
Regurgitation typically happens within 30 minutes to two hours after eating. When regurgitation takes place, your cat will expel undigested food. Cats typically do not show signs of abdominal distress, and it tends to happen effortlessly. It may look much the same as it did before eating, only now it is in a tubal shape.
Regurgitation is usually not a cause for concern if it happens infrequently. If it happens quite a lot or every time your cat eats, you may want to discuss this with your veterinarian.
Vomiting occurs when your cat begins dry-heaving or gagging. It may take several minutes of this motion before they finally eject the contents. It is recognizable from foul smell and stomach acid liquid which can be foamy or yellow.
Cats may give off warning signs before vomiting, like meowing excessively, behaving erratically, or acting uncomfortable. After vomiting, they may resume normal behavior as nothing happened. They may alternately seem lethargic or unwell.
Causes of Regurgitation
Regurgitation can have both simple and not-so-simple explanations. Certain causes can be dealt with at home while others may need vet attention.
Main causes of regurgitation are:
- Competitive eating
- Drinking too much liquid immediately following the meal
- Undiagnosed condition
Gorging is not an uncommon reason. They may gobble up their food without realizing when they become full. If they overeat, this will cause them to regurgitate the excess food. It may be best to break up their meals into smaller, easily digestible meals throughout the day.
If you have more than one cat, your cat may be trying to eat too quickly as to ensure they get enough or get more than the others. It could be a better idea to feed cats separately if you think this may be the case. That can reduce any stress in the situation, helping your kitty pace themselves better.
If the belly is full and they drink too much fluid following a meal, it can cause regurgitation as well. If you find your cat drinking directly after eating for an extended period, you can try removing the water source to allow the food to digest a bit. 15-30 minutes following the meal, you can give them fresh water.
There can be other underlying issues that your vet can help diagnose. Your cat could have a condition called a stricture, which makes it hard for them to swallow. Your pet could also be suffering from acid reflux, hormone imbalances, or even cancer.
You will want to monitor the behavior to get an understanding of underlying causes. If you find the simpler solutions are not working, you can arrange an appointment for them.
Causes of Vomiting
If you have ruled out regurgitation as the problem, let’s discuss vomiting. Again, for cats, vomiting can be both normal and manageable or require vet care. It will depend on severity and frequency. It is common to see vomiting from a cat one to three times per month before it is considered a concern.
Some causes for vomiting include:
- Eating inedible substances
- Food allergies – you can try hypoallergic cat food
- Underlying illness
Cats don’t always keep their inquisitiveness at bay. You may find them eating your houseplants, grass, strings, or whatever piques their interest. Once it upsets their stomach, it will be on your carpet or furniture. Try to find a culprit so that it can be removed from their reach to see if the vomiting improves.
Most commonly, hairballs are the cause of vomiting in cats. While this is normal behavior, you can reduce the number of times it happens. Be sure to brush your cat regularly to reduce the amount of hair intake. That will, in turn, reduce the number of vomiting episodes.
Your cat may be sensitive to an ingredient in their diet. If you have found your recently switched foods or the issue has been worsening over time, switch to a higher quality dry food or raw diet. You will want to make sure to switch up the proteins to rule out a meat sensitivity.
Underlying illness or undiagnosed condition can be to blame if no other change seems to improve. Your veterinarian can help you find the answers based on your cat’s general behavior. Even the color of the vomit can be an indicator of what could be going on.
If other symptoms seem to accompany the vomiting, such as lethargy, coat changes, diarrhea, or overall malice, this symbolizes a larger issue. Keep an eye on any other signs that your kitty may be unwell, so your vet can take the best path towards wellness.
Some other underlying issues can be poisoning, feline inflammatory bowel disease, hyperthyroidism, chronic kidney disease, and feline diabetes, to name a few. After ruling out simpler issues and food allergies, your vet may suggest additional testing to get a better idea about what is going on.
In-Depth Informational Tips
Here is a video with Dr. Karen Becker, a licensed veterinarian, who creates videos to help pet owners understand many issues that they may face. She addresses reasons that may cause vomiting in cats, what you can do for them, and elaborates on each potential cause.
She addresses various issues in a thorough, quick manner. She takes time to explain the importance of checking off a list to get an excellent idea of exactly where the issue is coming from at home before speaking to your vet.
She goes over exactly what causes food allergies, stating that this is one of the most common issues that cause vomiting. She breaks down exactly why certain ingredients can cause intestinal distress and how you can help your feline through it.
She also explains in further detail more serious conditions that may require medication.
Addressing the Issue
Educating yourself on potential causes is a surefire way to help your cat efficiently and get some peace of mind. Learning the key differences between regurgitation and vomiting is your first step in pinpointing the problem.
Once you have a general idea of what could be the cause, you can begin at-home trials to see if you can alleviate the vomiting. If nothing you do seems to make a difference or you notice symptoms worsening, you can address the concerns directly with your vet.
It is always best to be safe and be certain that your cat is healthy and thriving. Hopefully, you can confidently move forward to correct this issue once and for all.
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