Cats Symptoms Cure
> Cats Digestive System Symptoms (Gastrointestinal Tract)|
|Cats Vomitting Symptoms |
Vomiting is the forcible expulsion of stomach and/or intestinal
contents through the mouth. It is important to try to distinguish between true
vomiting and regurgitation, which is the passive act of returning the
contents of the esophagus or pharynx through the mouth. This distinction
will help your veterinarian make a diagnosis if home treatment is
unsuccessful. Vomiting is a sign of various illnesses, not a disease in
itself. For example, vomiting may accompany thyroid disease, liver
disease, kidney disease, cancer of the bowel, intestinal parasite infection,
or chronic inflammation of the intestine.
Vomiting occurs commonly in cats, and it is often accompanied by
diarrhea. It seems to be caused most often by irritation of the stomach,
which veterinarians call acute or simple gastritis. Gastritis is usually
caused by the ingestion of an irritant substance—for example,
decomposed food, grass, paper, or bones. The cat often first vomits frothy
clear or yellow fluid. Cats with gastric irritation may seek grass to eat in an
attempt to disgorge any irritant or foreign material which remains, but
grass eating is often an enjoyable pastime for cats and not a sign of
Some cats vomit occasionally following meals. This type of vomiting is
usually not serious in nature and may have several causes. Among the
most common seem to be food gobbling, overeating, or a particular
sensitivity to certain kinds of food. If your cat is an after-meal vomiter, trying
one or more of the following things may help you:
1. If your cat eats with other animals, separate him or her at feeding
time. Not only offer an individual food bowl but place the food bowls at a
distance from one another. Competition encourages food gobbling.
2. Feed smaller meals more frequently.
3. Try a food that has to be chewed well before swallowing (e.g., largesized
dry kibbles instead of canned food).
4. See if you can associate the vomiting with the kind of food being fed.
Some cats have food intolerances to certain ingredients in commercial
foods, e.g., food colorings or flavorings. In such instances, you may find
that only one brand or flavor of food seems to cause the vomiting. If you do
find a specific food which seems to be the cause be sure to eliminate it
entirely from your cat’s diet.
Cats Food Allergies May Cause Vomiting
Cats with food allergies may also develop vomiting when fed certain
foods, but the mechanism causing the vomiting is more complex than that
of simple food intolerance. The immune system must react to the presence
of the food allergen before any signs appear. The association with a
specific food may be more difficult for you to make in these instances
since the particular ingredient to which these cats are allergic must usually
be withheld for several weeks to resolve the vomiting problem. Be sure to
consult a veterinarian for diagnostic help if a simple diet change does not
stop your cat’s signs.
Hairballs can also cause vomiting of a nonserious nature, but
sometimes they cause serious obstructions and must be removed
surgically. When hairballs are vomited they usually are tubular, brown
masses and are emited by themselves or accompanied by a small amount
of clear, foamy fluid. If you look closely at such masses or tease them apart
you will find that they are composed primarily of hair. If you find vomited
hairballs and your cat is acting normally you may assume that the current
hairball problem is solved. This should alert you, however, to do something
about hairball prevention to avoid future problems, as should stools that
have a large amount of hair in them. A hairball problem can also cause
lack of appetite or constipation.
Prevent hairballs by brushing your cat regularly, providing some
insoluble fiber in his or her diet, and by the routine administration of
commercial hairball prevention preparations available through your
veterinarian or at pet stores. A fiber source cats enjoy is fresh grass. Grow
wheat, rye, or oats in a pot and allow your cat to nibble them a few times a
week. A home remedy for hairball prevention is mineral oil or white
petrolatum. Other oils are not efficient hairball preventives because they
are digested and absorbed by the cat. Add mineral oil at a rate of one
teaspoonful per 10 pounds of body weight to the food once or twice a
week for hairball prevention. (White petrolatum can be given directly by
Home Treatment for Vomiting
Vomiting cats may or may not be interested in their normal food. If
your cat vomits once or twice, has no fever or obvious abdominal pain, and
is no more than slightly depressed you can probably treat the vomiting at
home. Do not feed your cat for twelve to twenty-four hours following
vomiting. At the end of twelve hours (if you can’t stand to wait longer), you
can offer a very small (about a tablespoonful) of soft, easily digested food
such as a soft-boiled egg, meat baby food, or cottage cheese. If your cat
keeps this small meal down for about four hours, another small meal can
be offered, then another about four hours later. If no further vomiting occurs,
the next day’s meals can be normal-sized portions of bland food, and the
following day you can return your cat to a regular diet. Water or other
liquids should be offered frequently only in small amounts at a time to
combat the tendency to dehydration that accompanies vomiting. Large
amounts of food or water distend the already irritated stomach and usually
cause vomiting to recur. An easy way to have water available in small
portions is to place ice cubes in the water bowl. This allows the cat to drink
the liquid that accumulates as the cubes melt.
Antacid liquids containing aluminum and/or magnesium hydroxide
designed for humans may help soothe the irritated stomach lining. Dose
aluminum or magnesium hydroxide antacids to provide 10 milligrams per
pound (22 mg/kg) body weight every six hours until the signs have passed.
If vomiting is present with diarrhea (gastroenteritis) intestinal adsorbents
are best. Do not give any preparations containing aspirin.
Times to Seek Veterinary Help
If your cat vomits more than a few times; if the vomitus is ejected
extremely forcefully (projectile vomiting); if there is blood in the vomitus or
obvious abdominal pain; if your cat seems particularly depressed, weak,
or has a fever, or retches unproductively, do not attempt to treat the
condition at home. Even simple gastritis cannot always be treated
successfully without the help of a veterinarian, and there are many other
serious causes of vomiting—among them foreign objects in the digestive
tract, stomach ulcers, inflammation of the pancreas, panleukopenia, and
kidney failure. Expect your veterinarian to perform diagnostic tests such as
complete blood counts, biochemical analysis of the blood, and
radiographs (X-ray pictures) of the abdomen when the cause of vomiting is
not immediately evident. Even more sophisticated tests are necessary in
some cases, including endoscopic examination of the gastrointestinal tract
and biopsy (removal of tissue for a pathologist’s examination.)
Diarrhea is the passage of abnormally soft and/or frequent stools.
This sign is often associated with vomiting, but may also occur by itself.
When present, diarrhea often causes cats to fail to use their litter pans. bacterial infections of internal organs such as
liver, heart, and lungs.
Cause of Cats Diarrhea
Diarrhea has many causes; the most common are related to diet.
Diets containing cows’ milk often cause diarrhea. Spicy table scraps and
decomposed food are other common offenders, but any food, including
commonly fed commercial diets, can cause diarrhea in certain cats.
Viruses, bacteria, and intestinal parasites (e.g., worms, coccidia) may
infect the bowel and cause diarrhea. This occurs most often in kittens.
Diarrhea can also be caused by diseases of the liver and/or pancreas,
bowel obstruction, cancer, and metabolic problems. Even psychological
stress gives some cats diarrhea. Trips to the veterinary hospital or the
addition of a new cat to the household may result in stress-induced
diarrhea, but this type usually subsides quickly without any treatment being
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is also frequently accompanied by
diarrhea. In this disorder, various types of blood cells that become active
during bowel inflammation infiltrate the small intestine and/or colon and/or
the stomach causing chronic dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract. Unlike
other causes of diarrhea, in IBD the veterinarian is not usually able to
identify any specific agent that triggers the inflammatory process.
However, food allergies are not uncommonly involved. Vomiting is one of
the frequent signs of inflammatory bowel disease in cats, but diarrhea is
also a common sign that may occur by itself or accompany the vomiting.
When the large intestine (colon) is involved the affected cat may pass soft
bowel movements containing excessive mucous and fresh blood. Left
untreated diarrhea associated with inflammatory bowel disease can result
in permanent damage to the bowel and an increased incidence of bowel