Have you ever been woken up by the sound of your cat retching? Does seeing your cat throwing up cause you to worry?
As a cat owner, you’re not alone. We are all too aware that our cats have a tendency to vomit. While it can be frightening, it isn’t always a cause for alarm.
So how can you know when it’s a natural part of your cat’s wellbeing, and when it’s time to call the vet? What’s the difference between a hairball, food not sitting well, and something more serious?
Today we’re sharing more about the types of cat vomit, what causes your cat to throw up, and when it’s worth being concerned about it
Types of Cat Vomit
Cats throw up for a wide range of reasons. Depending on the reason, the vomit’s appearance can change.
Unless you have a naturally hairless cat, you know that hairballs are a part of cat ownership. This happens when your cat has ingested a lot of its own hair during its regular grooming. Since this hair cannot be digested, it has to be thrown up.
On the other paw, blood, bile, mucus, or partially digested food can all be found in the vomit of other, more serious conditions. Take note the frequency, timing, and appearance of the vomit as these are all significant issues, and worth talking to your veterinarian about.
Understanding the distinctions between regurgitation and vomiting can also be important for pet parents.
Regurgitation is the forceful ejection of the contents from the mouth, throat, and esophagus.
Vomiting is the forceful evacuation of the contents from the stomach and upper intestinal tract.
Vomiting is an active procedure that frequently lasts several minutes. During this time, the cat may act sick, drool, retch, exhibit belly heaving, and eventually vomit.
Regurgitation occurs abruptly and frequently. Usually, the cat is fine for one minute before abruptly “spitting up” without retching or heaving.
Your veterinarian and you may be able to narrow down the potential reasons for the issue by determining which of these two processes your cat is going through.
Common Reasons Causing Cats To Throw Up
Beyond knowing how to distinguish between regurgitation and vomiting, let’s look at some of the ways to determine whether a trip to the clinic is necessary. There are many reasons why your cat might vomit, including:
- Hairballs – As mentioned, hair is difficult to digest. All the dead, loose hair your cat ingests thanks to their grooming procedure ends up gathering into a ball in their stomach. After a time, your cat simply has to get rid of that ball of hair.
- Foreign objects – A cat’s curiosity can lead it to being the subject of an entertaining video. It can also, unfortunately, lead them into things they shouldn’t be getting into. That can include eating human foods, plants, string, or other materials that are not intended for eating by cats. The result? Your cat may vomit as a response to trying to digest those foreign objects.
- Medical conditions – Like with humans, vomiting in cats can come from an illness.
The following conditions frequently affect cats and are known to result in vomiting:
- IBD (inflammatory bowel disease)
- Diabetes in cats
- Kidney disease
- Gastrointestinal growths
- Internal parasites
How To Know When It’s Time To Take Your Cat To The Vet
Has your cat coughed up more than one hairball over the course of the week? This is likely due to more grooming than usual, and isn’t often a cause for alarm. If you do see anything odd about the reasons why they’re throwing up, or the vomit itself, you could always call your vet to explain.
If there are other symptoms, make a note of them and be sure to share them with your veterinarian with as much detail as possible. That’ll help get an accurate diagnosis and the right care your cat needs.