Do you have a cat who throws up a lot? Many people think that’s normal, but we now know it’s not. Here’s what I told a reader:
Q: My 3-year-old female cat gets a quarter of a can of wet and 1 tablespoon dry food for dinner. She gets the same thing for breakfast, but she frequently throws it up. She’s on a diet, so we switched to meat in the morning. She used to get 1 tablespoon every 10 minutes, for a total of three, because she’d throw up if we gave it all at once. I know that she eats too fast. She eats grain-free, holistic foods. Is there anything else we can try?
A: Cats have a reputation for upchucking, and their anatomy allows them to vomit easily, but it’s really not normal for them to do so. If your cat is throwing up on a regular basis — more than once a week — it’s a good sign that she needs to see the veterinarian to rule out a physical cause for the problem. Throwing up too often can have a cat suffering dehydration quicker than he can twitch a whisker.
Some of the common reasons cats vomit are hairballs and intestinal worms. They may also throw up after nibbling on grass or plants, eating too quickly or from digestive upset after being switched too quickly to a new diet. Some cats are allergic to certain ingredients in their food. More serious causes of vomiting include hyperthyroidism and diseases of the digestive tract. If your cat is a senior, frequent vomiting may suggest kidney disease.
Be prepared to tell your veterinarian what food your cat eats, how often she vomits (keep a record for a week or so), how soon after eating she vomits, whether she goes outside or has access to indoor plants and what the vomit looks like. If you can bring a sample, so much the better. If your veterinarian rules out a health problem, try one of the “slow food” dishes to prevent her from gobbling.
Read more, including all about Olympic pets, in this week’s Pet Connection!