Symptoms

A forceful expulsion of the contents of the cat’s stomach and/or small intestine through the mouth.

Causes

These include:

  • sudden change in diet
  • motion sickness
  • heatstroke
  • conditions that affect the chemical composition of the blood, such as diabetes mellitus, renal failure, liver disease or a bacterial infection
  • a foreign body in the stomach
  • gastric dilation/torsion
  • stomach cancer
  • parasitic worms
  • fear and stress
  • trauma to the head
  • infections
  • ingestion of emetic substances such as grass
  • furballs

What to do
If your cat suddenly and repeatedly vomits, you should withhold food and water, and contact the vet. Keep the cat where you can see him, covering the floor with newspaper, or something similar, to keep your home clean. Note the times of vomiting, and also the consistency, colour and quantity of the vomit. By doing this, you will help the vet to find the cause and therefore treat the problem effectively.

Occasional vomiting is normal, and no action need be taken in such cases. In cases of recurring vomiting, or where large amounts of vomit are produced, or there is blood in the vomit, seek veterinary advice.

Vomiting that you consider to be a result of your cat’s scavenging, and which is therefore spasmodic and not severe, is best treated by starving the cat for 24 hours. During this time, it is vital that the cat is offered regular small amounts of water to drink, to help prevent dehydration.

After this time, reintroduce food with small, light meals, such as scrambled eggs or boiled chicken, gradually building up to his former feeding regime. If the vomiting continues or starts again when food is reintroduced, seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.

You can help prevent some of the causes of vomiting by treating your cat on a regular basis for internal parasites worms, discouraging him from scavenging, not making sudden changes to his diet, not feeding him prior to travelling, and not overfeeding him.

Treatment
In severe cases, it is not unusual for the affected cat to be placed on an intravenous drip to keep him hydrated. Where a foreign body is wedged somewhere in the digestive system, surgery will be needed to remove it.