Tabby dropped a dead mouse on your doorstep. Then she left you an even more pleasant surprise: She got sick. It’s no surprise that rodents don’t always agree with your cat’s stomach. After all, vomiting in cats is a natural reaction to something that shouldn’t be in your pet’s system.
Cats often vomit after swallowing prey or fighting with a stubborn hairball. But the problem could also be a symptom of parasites, poisoning, food allergies, kidney or thyroid malfunction, or a disease such as distemper, diabetes, parvovirus or cancer.
What’s Going Down When Your Cat’s Throwing Up
A cat vomiting more than two or three times during a 24-hour period, or one that appears to have lost weight, or is lethargic or dehydrated, should be seen by a vet. Give your pet’s doctor a head start in diagnosing and treating your vomiting cat by reporting all the details you can about your sick pet:
- Has your cat’s diet or appetite changed?
- Is it possible that he’s swallowed a foreign object or been poisoned?
- Does your cat have a fever?
- Does his breath have a urine-like smell, which could indicate kidney failure or diabetes?
If your cat vomits no more than three times in a 24-hour period and shows no other signs of illness, it’s safe to use these home remedies to help her bounce back to her frisky self.
Cat Puking? Think Fast
If your cat has vomited a couple of times but still appears alert and isn’t demonstrating other symptoms of illness, pick up her food and water dishes for 24 hours. Withholding food and drink may sound cruel, but it’s not. It gives your cat’s tummy a chance to rest and return to normal. Providing your cat with water could make him queasy again, and he might vomit even more fluid, which could lead to dehydration.
Soothe a Cat Stomach with Ice
Observe your cat after 12 hours of fasting. If she seems quiet and comfortable and is not throwing up, offer her an ice cube to lick. This will help slowly reintroduce fluids to her body without overloading her stomach.
Proceed to Slow Sips
If your cat is still not getting sick after 24 hours without food, offer him a small dish of water. If she drinks it without vomiting, offer up another small drink an hour later. Although they need fluids, too much water may make vomiting cats queasy and rev up the puking process all over again.
Strike Up the Bland
If your kitty stops vomiting during her fast, you can start feeding her again. But don’t return to her normal diet right away. Instead, stick to bland foods. Make you kitty a dinner of equal parts cooked white rice and cottage cheese. Feed her about one-quarter to one-half cup at regular mealtimes for two or three days. Then start introducing her normal cat food back into the routine, continuing the rice-cheese mixture for most meals but replacing one rice-cheese meal with a small helping of regular food. Keep your cat on the bland diet for three days. If she’s still holding down his food after that, return completely to her regular diet.
If Cat Keeps Vomiting, Call the Vet
If your cat starts vomiting again once you resume feeding or didn’t stop after the 24-hour fast, call your vet.
Young or Old Cat Throwing Up? Give Him a Pinch
Vomiting can leave a cat dehydrated, especially if she is very old, a kitten, or very small. Check for cat dehydration by pinching your pet’s skin; if it doesn’t revert back into place, your kitty is probably dehydrated. Offering her a big bowl of water isn’t enough to solve the problem. Call your vet, who may want to rehydrate your cat with intravenous fluids.
Please Keep Off the Grass
Some cats develop a habit of eating grass, then throwing it up. While this isn’t an indication of a medical problem, it isn’t pleasant for either you or your cat. So if kitty has a taste for the green stuff, try to discourage the habit by distracting your pet in any way you can when she’s outdoors. Toss your kitty a little ball, a wadded-up piece of aluminum foil or a toy mouse to play with.
Routine Vomiting Could Mean Cat Heartburn
If your cat vomits regularly at night, she may have acid reflux, a condition in which digestive juices spill out of your cat’s stomach and into his esophagus (yes, the same way it works in humans). Nothing is medically wrong with your cat, but the condition is messy, inconvenient and upsetting to both of you. Try serving your kitty’s dinner an hour earlier than you normally would. This way, she’ll be able to rid his body of waste before she hits the hay. And if your cat still throws up even after eating the early bird special, at least you’ll be prepared to do a little cleaning before you both retire for the night.
They Always Say It: Small, Frequent Meals
If the vet diagnoses your cat with acid reflux disease, try feeding her three small meals each day instead of two bigger ones. If she has less food in his stomach at any given time, she may be less apt to get sick. You won’t be changing the overall amount of food you give her; just splitting it into three portions instead of two.
If your cat wolfs down his food, vomits, and continues munching, she’s eating too fast. Try offering your pet smaller portions of food at mealtimes. Divide her breakfast or dinner in half. Wait until she’s through with the first helping before giving her the second. This will force your pet to slow down.