Gas/Burping/Vomiting/Diarrhea in a Cat

by Jonathan
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Hi All,

So I am still experiencing difficulty with my cat, Obi - so I thought I would write a comprehensive history as best as I can and see if anybody can see anything they have seen before.

Obi is 2 years old. He was the picture of a healthy cat up until March. Up to that point he had been eating Now dry cat food and Turkey Wellness cat food. In mid march there were 3 days in a row when we left early in the morning and returned late at
night - our cat was fed in the morning and late in the evening.

On the following day he began to vomit once or twice daily for 3-4 days. He also had a bad bout of cat diarrhea for 2 days, 5 or 6 times a day.

We took him off the dry cat food and put him on a bland diet of chicken and rice. An x-ray showed he had some thickening of his stomach/intestine but nothing more. A blood test came up normal. He gradually improved.

However, after this incident I noticed our cat did not eat as fast as he used to. He also seemed to have some difficulty eating on one side of his mouth. We gradually moved him to Almo Chicken and Pumpkin cat food, but the difficulty eating and the occasional vomiting - once a week - along with what seemed to be stomach upset continued (he would often burp after eating). We tried moving him to a raw cat diet and he did not go for it at all.

We took him to the veterinarian and asked that they do a complete feline mouth exam and x-rays under anesthesia. The mouth exam came up normal with the exception of some sensitivity in one or two teeth for which they did the x-ray. I was disappointed because I wanted the x-ray on all the teeth so we could rule it out completely. Later, they also x-rayed his esophagus and stomach area a few hours after eating. The stomach was gassy on the x-ray.

Since then we have also phased in Natural Balance Venison cat food. The vomiting has only happened about 3-4 times since the beginning of April, and diarrhea only 1-2 twice. When he does vomit which isn't often, it's almost always the chicken. One of those times was after eating grass (but he is an indoor cat).

However, I have noticed he still swallows quite a bit of air when he eats. I also noticed that my cat does worse on days after we have been away quite a bit on the previous day. He does better when he eats several times through the day (ie. 6-7 small meals). He is a high energy/high maintenance cat and wants to play constantly.

I have wondered about if he still might have some issues with some teeth (although they keep telling me the teeth look good and he is a young cat), or if it might be IBS? Or if the long time between meals those days in March may have created some kind of an irritation or sensitivity that is now irreversible? Or if it's psychological?

I have already spent a couple of thousand of dollars on him, not to mention the other cats I rescued. Plus I don't want to put my cat through test after test which will only stress him out more. Any help is appreciated.


Hi, Jon,

It sounds as if your kitty is actually doing quite well if he has only vomited "about 3-4 times since the beginning of April, and diarrhea only 1-2 times." That is actually a normal amount or even on the low end of normal for a healthy cat.

The thickening of the bowel could indicate Feline Inflammatory Bowel Disease and the fact that he has improved since a change of diet would support that.

However, it also appears that your cat does best when he gets multiple small meals and his difficulties began when he was limited to two larger meals per day. Many cats eat too fast and vomit from doing so.

Eating grass almost always makes cats vomit and should be avoided.

Regarding your cat's teeth, did the veterinarian do anything about the sensitive teeth? Cats that have pain in their mouths will sometimes swallow their food whole instead of chewing it and that can lead to increased cat vomiting.

All in all, it sounds as though your kitty is doing well. It also sounds as if the original problem could have been caused by psychological reasons or inflammatory bowel or painful teeth or eating too fast. I would continue feeding your cat the way you have been and the only other thing you may consider is a second opinion regarding your cat's teeth if nothing was done for the sensitive ones.

Thank you for writing,
Dr. Neely

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