Vet Blog

Why Does My Cat Keep Throwing Up?

January 17, 2022

Even though cats are known for having hairballs, consistent vomiting is a red flag.

If your cat is throwing up more than once or twice a month in Chandler, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue. If your cat is throwing up multiple times a day or repeatedly, your cat needs emergency medical care as soon as possible.

When your kitty is struggling with excessive vomiting, it is essential to identify the cause and treat it accordingly.

Cat Hairballs

One of the main reasons that cats throw up is to get rid of a hairball. Hairballs are formed in your cat's stomach over time from their grooming practices. A cat that grooms more often or has long hair will likely experience more frequent vomiting due to hairballs.

If your cat is throwing up a hairball one or two times a month, this is normal. If you want to try to prevent so many hairballs from accumulating in your cat's stomach, you can try brushing them for a few minutes a day to remove loose fur and prevent it from ending up in your cat's stomach. Your cat could also be struggling to get rid of a particularly large hairball. If you notice your cat gag a lot without throwing up successfully, it may be that it is trying to get rid of a difficult hairball.

Your veterinarian can help you set a long-term plan to reduce your cat's hairballs if they are the source of excessive vomiting.

Foreign Object

Sometimes cats eat objects that they are not supposed to, like strings, feathers, plastic, tiny objects, and more. If this happens, the severity of your cat's reaction will depend on what they ate and how much they ate. Strings are especially dangerous because of the potential to get tangled up inside your cat's digestive tract.

When a cat eats a foreign object, there is a chance that that object will pass through its digestive tract and not cause further problems. However, this is not always the case. Foreign objects commonly become stuck in an animal's digestive tract and cause painful blockages.

When a cat has a blockage from ingesting a foreign object, vomiting is likely to occur. As the cat's digestive system tries to correct itself, vomiting is a natural course of action. The cat may continually vomit in an attempt to remove the foreign object.

If you know or suspect that your cat has ingested a foreign object, your kitty needs to go to the vet as soon as possible.

Cat Toxins

Poisoning is a probable cause of frequent vomiting in cats. Antifreeze and other household chemicals are extremely dangerous for cats. Certain plants are also poisonous to cats, so it is important to know what potential hazards you have around the house and remove them to prevent poisoning.

If your cat does ingest toxic material, its body will react by throwing up in an attempt to remove the toxin. If you suspect that your cat has been poisoned, you will need to take your cat to the emergency vet right away.

Cat Food Allergy

There are a few circumstances that may cause your cat to have a bad reaction to its food. If you have recently changed your cat's food type or brand, this can lead to indigestion and vomiting. This could be from the transition alone, or it could be because your cat has an allergy to the new type of food.

Another possibility is that your cat got a bad batch of food. This could apply to a new food brand or a food brand you've used before. Occasionally, there are recalls on pet foods due to various reasons. Check to see if there has been a recent recall on the brand of food you are providing your cat.

Lastly, your cat may simply be eating too fast. Some cats eat delicately, while others gorge on their food. If your cat eats really quickly, and you find it is throwing up shortly after, talk to your vet about strategies for slowing down your cat's eating process.

Serious Illness

Consistent vomiting can also be a sign of serious illness. Cancer, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, metabolic disorders, and parasitic infections can all cause irregular bouts of vomiting in cats. Your veterinarian can order bloodwork to identify possible underlying illnesses. You can help by observing the day-to-day behavior of your cat. Take note of how often your kitty vomits, eats, drinks, rests, and plays.

The more information that you can provide to your vet the more likely they are to be able to diagnose and treat your cat.

Next Steps

Excessive vomiting can be scary, no matter the cause. You can determine your next steps based on the severity and frequency of the vomiting.

When a cat is throwing up nonstop or multiple times in a day, that is the biggest cause for concern.

Your cat can react this way if they've been poisoned, have a blockage of their digestive tract, or an experiencing a sudden onset of illness. Whatever the cause is, your cat needs immediate emergency medical care if they are throwing up this much.

When a cat is throwing up multiple times in a week or more than once or twice in a month, this is still a cause for concern, but you have a little more time on your side. Hairballs could be the source of the problem, and you can talk to your vet to create a preventative treatment plan. New food, bad food, or a food allergy could also be the reason for the excessive vomiting. Consult your vet to discuss your cat's diet to determine if any changes need to be made.

Overall, if your cat is still regularly throwing up without a clear cause, an underlying illness may be the reason why. Your veterinarian can help guide you in the process of determining potential illnesses and how best to treat them. Call us at (480) 339-0406 asap if you suspect your cat to be having a serious medical condition in Chandler.