Being a cat parent, you are likely familiar with your kitty throwing up. While occasional vomiting is normal for cats and is not a cause for concern, frequent and excessive vomiting may indicate a serious problem with a cat’s health.
If your cat is vomiting more often than normal, something in his diet may be causing digestive complications. Switching to the food that is right for him can get rid of the vomiting and give your pet the comfort you are anxious for.
This article will tell you when to be concerned about your cat’s vomiting, possible causes to consider, and our top picks for the best cat food for vomiting.
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When Should I be Concerned?
Occasional vomiting in cats is normal and does not indicate poor health. Some cats vomit once every week, some a couple of times per month, and some may only vomit once or twice a year.
The primary reason behind this occasional vomiting is that your cat is a very clean animal. Fastidious about grooming, cats get undigested hair accumulated in their stomach. These hairballs are expelled occasionally, sometimes accompanied with vomiting.
According to Dr. Richard Goldstein, who is an associate professor at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, you should absolutely not tolerate vomiting “if it occurs more than once a week.”
What Causes Vomiting in Cats?
If your cat is throwing up, it may be due to one of the following reasons:
Vomiting may occur due to intolerance or allergy towards a certain element in the cat’s diet. Grain, chicken, beef, and fish are common ingredients that can disagree with cats’ digestive systems. While allergies are more severe and show a variety of symptoms, intolerances usually reveal themselves in the form of gastro-intestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea.
Changing your cat’s diet suddenly can also upset his stomach and make him throw up. If you want to switch from one formula to another, introduce the new formula gradually; mix both foods and increase the ratio of the new formula day-by-day.
Poor-quality ingredients in your cat’s diet can also cause digestive issues like vomiting. Make sure the ingredients are of good quality and are close to a cat’s natural diet. This means no low-quality fillers, artificial additives, and preservatives. Try to know as much as you can about where the ingredients are sourced from.
A diet that is not balanced may deprive your cat of important nutrients or give him too much of a certain nutrient. This can also lead to digestive problems and cause vomiting.
Finally, keep in mind that cats are obligate carnivores i.e. animal proteins are the primary part of their diet and cats absorb nutrients from animal proteins better compared to plant proteins. To maintain your cat’s digestive and overall health, feed him a diet that has a high percentage of animal proteins.
As mentioned above, cats swallow some fur when they groom themselves. The undigested fur forms hairballs in their stomach, which they expel occasionally. Vomiting can accompany the disgorging of hairballs.
The expelling of hairballs is necessary for a cat – if the accumulated matter passes into the intestinal tract, it may cause a blockage that can be very serious. However, if your cat is expelling hairballs too often, it is uncomfortable for him and for you to watch. Grooming your cat regularly and changing his diet to minimize hair-shedding can help with the problem.
Pets.WebMD has a guide on managing hairballs here.
Cats are curious animals – some time or the other your own inquisitive feline is likely to end up snacking on something that is not food. Ingesting non-food items such as a plant, pieces of yarn, and human food like chocolate and onions can cause cats to throw up.
If your cat has an upset stomach, it may be because his food has gone bad. Check your cat’s food carefully when you feed him to avoid any chances of food poisoning.
Parasites like tapeworms can infect your cat’s digestive system and cause all sorts of discomfort to your pet, including vomiting. Proper treatment and de-worming are necessary.
The vomiting may be owing to a more serious medical condition. Causes may include inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, kidney disease and hyperthyroidism. In such a case, a diagnosis by your vet will lead to a specific course of treatment.
Digestive problems can also result in issues like smelly poop. For recipes that solve this problem, look at our picks for the Best Cat Food for Smelly Poop here.
Vomiting vs. Regurgitation
If your kitty is throwing up food, there is a possibility that it is not vomiting at all but regurgitating.
Vomiting is the expelling of contents of the stomach and upper intestine. It is an active action; it usually involves retching and effort from the cat such as the contraction of abdominal muscles. Food expelled as a result of vomiting is usually partially digested, has an acidic pH, and may be accompanied by a yellow fluid – bile.
Regurgitation is the expelling of contents of the esophagus. It is a passive action, which means that it is usually quiet and also effortless for the cat. Food ejected as a result of regurgitation is not digested enough and has a more neutral pH than that of vomited matter. The food may be thrown up in the shape of a tube.
A very common cause of regurgitation in cats is that they gobble up their food faster than their stomachs can take – so the excess stacks up in the esophagus.
This problem is sometimes magnified by food-bowl competition. To make sure meal times are stress-free, you can try separating the places of feeding for your different feline companions, in case you have more than one. Of course, it may be the fact that a particular kitty is just gluttonous, in which case you may try providing smaller amounts of food at a time.
Like vomiting, regurgitation is not a cause for concern if it is infrequent (once or twice a month) However, if very frequent, it may be linked to a more serious problem such as esophageal conditions, neurological problems, or hormonal issues.
Our Top 6 Best Rated Cat Foods to Prevent Vomiting
Here are our top picks in 2019 for the best cat foods that can provide relief to your pet’s sensitive stomach. Whatever your budget is, you will find a quality product in this list that fits.
Occasional vomiting in cats is normal, but if your cat is vomiting more often than usual, it may indicate that you need to change his diet. Proper dietary choices can relieve your cat of the problem. A trip to the vet and professional medical advice is also necessary if the vomiting is severe and does not stop.
A diet that is easy to digest, has natural, high-quality ingredients, and has lesser ingredients that cats may be intolerant to is a good option for a sensitive stomach. For a diet that is easier on your cat’s stomach, try one of the options from our list above.
*This article is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Your veterinarian can provide personalized suggestions relevant to your cat’s unique situation.