“My male 2-year-old cat constantly throws up wet food and sometimes his dry. I’ve tried meds, and he’s almost skin and bones now. He also drinks rainwater like he can’t get enough.”
A distressed pet owner named Dawn wrote to PetHelpful’s Ask A Vet section, which offers advice from expert veterinarians like Dr. Mark Dos Anjos, who has decades of experience in treating many kinds of animals, including dogs, cats, exotic species, and wild fauna.
In response, Dr. Mark asked Dawn if she has been treating her cat for hairballs, because she mentioned medications. Also, if she has taken her pet for a laboratory examination to determine the reason for her cat’s chronic vomiting.
According to Dr. Mark, there are various causes of chronic vomiting in cats such as the following:
- Garbage. If a cat roams outside, there’s a risk of it digesting garbage, carcasses, or other wastes, which can cause vomiting.
- Hairballs. Since a cat spends a lot of time grooming, there’s a risk of fur getting stuck in its esophagus or in the stomach. Treatments are available for this problem, although some cats with long hair or allergies may experience this condition more seriously.
- Constipation. When a cat cannot poop, it suffers from discomfort and strain that may make it vomit. This condition can help in diagnosing the cause of the problem.
- Allergies in food. Cats that suffer from itchy skin, ear infections, diarrhea, or hair loss from excessive grooming tend to vomit as well. It can be due to a certain food in its diet.
- Parasites. Roundworm or Toxocara cati cause more vomiting in cats than most other types of worm. Looking ill, with pot bellies and rough fur, coughing, and diarrhea are also among the symptoms.
- Other gastrointestinal Infections. The Feline Leukemia (FeLV) test is often recommended by veterinarians for cats that suffer from chronic vomiting. Infections that frequently cause this condition include feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), and feline distemper. Other culprits are viruses, bacteria, and fungi.
- Ingesting poison. Getting poisoned by plants that are toxic to cats is another factor that induces vomiting. It is why you should know which houseplants are safe to keep at home.
- Inflammatory bowel disease. Vomiting is one of the symptoms of this disease, for which there is no cure, but treatments are available. Change of diet also helps some cats, like feeding your feline pet a new protein or commercial diets with new or hydrolyzed proteins.
- Obstructions. This is a serious problem that must be prevented because it can result in death. Don’t give your cat things that can get stuck in the stomach, like a piece of string. This can block the intestines and cause your cat to vomit everything it eats.
- Hyperthyroidism. This condition can be identified through a blood test to determine thyroid hormone levels. Medications are available that will cause the thyroid to produce less hormone, but it requires monitoring, because the drug may function too efficiently, leading to hypothyroidism.
- Cancer: Cancers in cats may produce obstruction that induces vomiting, but the most common cause of this condition is lymphoma. It is a type of cancer that’s often linked to cats that roam outside the house and get afflicted with feline leukemia (FeLV) infection.
- Kidney disease. This disease is more prevalent in older cats, the signs of which are drinking and urinating more than normal. As the condition gets worse, toxins build up in a cat’s body, resulting in stomach ulcers and blood vomiting.
Dr. Mark also told Dawn that he would be concerned about a kidney problem due to her cat’s excessive thirst. In this case, she should take her pet to the local vet for blood testing, because this kind of condition cannot be diagnosed through the internet. This way, no matter what may be her cat’s underlying condition, the illness can be treated properly.Whizzco