Cat Health Vomiting

by Deb
(Gravenhurst, Ontario, CANADA)

Hey Mom, Check Out My Belly.

Hey Mom, Check Out My Belly.

Babe is 12+ years of age (human years), Domestic Shorthair Tabby. She is overweight, and very possibly bloated. For the last 5+ years she has what appears to be allergies, and, or a sensitive stomach. Our veternarian prescribed a special diet suitable for cats with stomach sensitivies. The kibble is very expensive and it worked some of the time, but not all of the time.

I have done quite a lot of research on my own and have tried numerous cat food products, without success. I like to feed dry cat food supplemented with canned food. I have two cats, and everyday, or every other day they share a 85g tin of Gourmet soft cat food along with their dry kibble. Babe particulary enjoys the canned food. I started to feed both cats the Wellness, Indoor and Healthy Weight dry cat kibble, which I understand is a very good natural and wholesome dry food for cats. No preservatives and human grade protein (meat). Babe tolerated the Wellness quite well for a time, and now we are back at square one because she has started to throw-up again after eating the Wellness dry kibble.

Most of the kibble Babe throws up is still whole. It appears she swallows it whole and does not chew the kibble to break it into smaller pieces before swallowing. I find a slurry of slimy half chewed or whole cat food kibble on the floor/carpet. And, might I add, she favours throwing up on the livingroom carpet. Yuck, and it always leaves a stain.

I am also using a holistic product, a dietary supplement, Digestive Support from that I mix into the soft cat food for Babe. It was suggested that I might also try a larger size kibble, in hopes that she would chew it up before swallowing. I introduced this dry kibble slowly, but again have experienced the same old problem. Let's just say, it works most of the time but, not all of the time.

Babe is an incredibly lovable, gentle, and quiet family cat, gets along great with our Boxer, and other cat. But at this time, I'm preplexed as to what I can do, or give her to prevent her from tossing her cookies.

Given your expertise, what would you suggest? Look forward to your early reply. Thank you.


Hi, Deb,

Cats regurgitate or vomit for several different reasons, including

(1) metabolic disease (kidneys, diabetes, thyroid disease, etc.)

(2) intestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome or constipation

(3) excessive ingested hair

(4) food hypersensitivity

(5) eating too fast

(6) intestinal parasites

(7) heartworm

(8) dental disease

...and several other more rare conditions

Babe could fit into several of those categories and I don't know what diagnostic tests she has had.

Bloodwork would be needed to rule out metabolic diseases.

Irritable bowel is most often diagnosed through exclusive of all the other possible diseases although an intestinal biopsy is certainly the most accurate method of diagnosis.

Vomiting from excessive ingested hair usually goes away with the regular administration of hairball gel. My favorite is Laxatone. Also, a full-body clip (even though she is a short-haired cat) can help tremendously with this.

Food Hypersensitivity is difficult to diagnose. There are blood tests that are now much more accurate than they used to be and can be useful. The best method is still to feed one ingredient at a time for several weeks to see what is tolerated. For example, you would feed nothing but chicken for several weeks; if the vomiting continued, you would try only beef, etc. That requires patience and time. Only after you find a single protein that she digests well do you add a second ingredient such as rice or potatoes.

I don't know if your kitty was diagnosed in this way, but if not should be. You can't just say it's a sensitive stomach and feed a diet for sensitive stomach. You don't know what ingredients your cat is sensitive to unless you do the food trials and/or bloodwork suggested above.

I have known many cats who regurgitated simply because they ate too quickly. This can be solved by giving small meals more frequently and also determining which food they like the most and tend to eat more quickly. If it is dry, then cut out the dry for a bit and feed only canned in small amounts several times daily. If they inhale their canned food, cut out canned food.

This propensity toward eating quickly can result from having other animals around, even if they all seem to get along well. It can also just be a natural sequelae to having been the "runt" of the litter or having to fight too often with siblings to nurse on the mother cat.

There are several different intestinal parasites that can cause vomiting. A fecal sample should be analyzed for these, but even if it is negative, a trial of medication that kills possible parasites including something for stomach worms is something every vomiting cat deserves.

Heartworm is also possible, since the number one symptom of heartworm in cats is vomiting, not coughing. Testing should be done for heartworm.

Dental disease that is painful and keeps a cat from chewing it's food completely can lead to the kitty vomiting up whole chunks of food and not digesting food well. A complete physical exam including a thorough exam of the mouth and teeth is certainly in order.

Often, x-rays including perhaps a barium series is warranted and possibly ultrasound.

If all of the above has not been included in a diagnostic work-up for Babe, then it should be if she is still having symptoms.

Good luck and if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to write back. I LOVE the picture. Thank you for sending it.

From One Cat Lover To Another,
Dr. Neely

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