My cat won't stop vomiting: what to do and when to seek help

Cats vomit for various reasons and it's not always a cause for worry. However, there are times when you should get your cat checked. Our vets at Brodheadsville explain common causes of cat vomiting and the signs that indicate a vet visit is necessary.

Is it normal for my cat to vomit?

Your cat could start vomiting for several reasons. It could be due to eating something it shouldn't have, having viruses or parasites, or facing more serious health issues like cancer or organ problems. If your cat vomits more than once a month or if the vomiting continues, you should take it to the vet to find out what's causing this.

What are some reasons why my cat might vomit?

Hairballs / Furballs

Hairballs, or furballs, are balls of fur that accumulate in your cat's stomach when they groom themselves. These are more frequently seen in longhaired cats or those that over-groom.

Hairball expulsion often involves hacking noises and spasms, and while it's usually straightforward for the cat, it can occasionally cause trouble.

If your cat struggles to vomit up a hairball, you should seek veterinary help. In rare cases, these hairballs can get stuck, potentially causing dangerous intestinal blockages.

Eating Too Much & Too Quickly

If your cat eats a lot and fast, it might throw up shortly after its meal. If this happens often, consider getting a special cat bowl designed to slow down their eating, which can help stop the vomiting. 

However, if your cat vomits immediately after eating, it could signal serious health problems like hairballs, blocked digestive tract, dehydration, or esophageal troubles. Regular vomiting after meals should prompt a vet visit.  

What Serious Conditions Could Be Affecting My Cat?

While brushing off your cat's vomiting as typical feline behavior may be tempting, it's important to remember that vomiting can indicate a potential health issue. Some significant reasons for cats vomiting include:

  • Poisoning
  • Intestinal foreign bodies
  • Intestinal Parasites
  • Food allergies
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Metabolic Disorder (ie: Kidney Disease)

When Should I Bring My Cat To The Vet?

If your cat vomits occasionally, wait for 12 hours before feeding them. Give them small amounts of water every half an hour or offer them ice cubes during this time. After 12 hours, start giving your cat small portions of bland food. If the vomiting stops, gradually return to their regular feeding routine. However, if your cat vomits repeatedly, you must contact your veterinarian immediately. Continuous or severe vomiting might indicate a serious illness that needs immediate treatment. Get in touch with your vet if your cat shows any of the following symptoms:

  • Repeated vomiting
  • Blood in vomit 
  • Weakness / Lethargy
  • Pain / Distress
  • Fever
  • Blood in stool 

The Diagnosis For Cats That Are Vomiting

When you bring your cat to the vet because it's throwing up, although it might not be pleasant, it's recommended to bring a sample of the vomit. This way, the vet can analyze the sample to understand better what's causing your cat's stomach discomfort.

By examining the vomit sample, your vet may identify certain things that could provide valuable insights, such as: 

  • Large amounts of mucus in your cat's stomach could indicate an inflamed intestine
  • Undigested food can be an indication of poisoning, anxiety or simply a sign that your cat has eaten too much or too quickly.
  • If your vet notices that bile is present in your cat's vomit, it may be an indication of pancreatitis or inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Red blood in vomit is a sign that your cat's stomach may be ulcerated.
  • Strong smelling vomit may indicate that your cat has an intestinal obstruction.

Treatment For Cats That Are Vomiting

When it comes to treating vomiting in cats, the treatment will depend upon the underlying cause of the problem. Depending on what's causing your cat's symptoms, treatment could be as simple as temporarily withholding food, or as complex as surgery or chemotherapy.

If your cat vomits frequently or excessively, it's crucial to reach out to our vets at Brodheadsville immediately for treatment. This could indicate an emergency, so having your cat examined without delay is important.