Pet Health | Why Do Cats Throw Up?

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Why Do Cats Throw Up?

Any cat owner is familiar with the less pleasant responsibilities that come with the role. Even the neatest cat can venture outside the litter tray due to illness or stress and leave something for you to clean up in the morning.

If you find yourself complaining ‘my cat keeps being sick’ this could be the information you need, that tells you whether you can solve the problem with some simple actions like diet changes, or if a trip to the vet is in order.

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  • Hairballs

One of the main causes of vomiting in cats is a hairball. Cats are fastidious groomers, and when they lick themselves, their tongue catches loose and dead hair, and weeds it out of their coat. Most of the hair passes harmlessly through their digestive system, but sometimes hairs can clump in the stomach. When this happens, the hairball needs to go somewhere, and your cat will hack and retch until it throws up.

While unpleasant, this is a harmless (and, in fact, healthy and necessary) process for your cat. You need to worry if your cat isn’t able to vomit up the hairball: retching without vomiting might indicate the hairball is stuck, which can cause breathing problems or digestion issues — depending where it’s lodged. If your cat is trying to vomit but can’t, you need to make a trip to the vets a high priority!

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  • Upset Stomachs

Unless you keep them indoors all the time, cats will hunt and scavenge. While the typical pet cat’s hunter’s instincts might be blunted by your care, it’s still possible for them to find or bring down another animal, and there’s every chance it could disagree with their digestion.

In cases where a cat has eaten or drunk something that’s upset it’s stomach, vomiting is often similar to similar situations in humans: a gruesome way to clear the system. If the spate of vomiting passes quickly, you likely have nothing to worry about. If it goes on for a day or longer, you risk your cat becoming dehydrated and even malnourished. In the short term, you can provide a bland but nourishing diet for your cat, with boiled chicken and rice replacing their usual food. This is easier for them to hold down.

If the vomiting persists in the long term, it could be a serious illness, a physical problem like damage to the intestine, or even stress. It’s well worth making an appointment with your vet to investigate the cause.

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