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augustlan's avatar

What on earth is causing my cat to throw up so damn much?

Asked by augustlan (47399points) October 5th, 2010

My 6-ish year old cat has been vomiting just about every night for the last week and a half. It’s almost always pure liquid (brown), and a lot of it. In the past, this was an occasional thing, and there was usually more… substance to the vomit. She seems quite distraught while it’s happening, but is her normal self at all other times. If it doesn’t stop by this weekend, I’ll take her to the vet, but I’m just wondering what could be causing this and if there’s anything I should be doing for her in the meantime?

My other cat isn’t having this problem, but has been sneezing like crazy for the last day or so. Could these issues be related in any way?

Bonus question: Anyone know how to stop her from throwing up on my upholstered furniture? She usually hits the floors (hardwood or vinyl, so no big deal), but the other night managed to puke on the couch, a chair, and an upholstered ottoman. It’s making me a tad crazy.

This one’s for you, bob_.

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41 Answers

crisw's avatar

Take her to the vet! This can be a sign of many things, and some of them are not good. I wouldn’t wait until the weekend.

augustlan's avatar

@crisw Oh, no! I was just thinking it was something like a stomach virus. :(

bob_'s avatar

Anyone know how to stop her from throwing up on my upholstered furniture?
Get a new, non-vomiting cat :P

lillycoyote's avatar

Yes, as @crisw points out, vomiting in a cat can be a symptom of any number of things, some relatively benign, some very serious. You really need to take your cat to the vet. Sooner rather than later.

augustlan's avatar

@bob_ In my experience, there is no such animal. :/

lillycoyote's avatar

@bob_ Yes! Order now! The Amazing Ronco Pompeil Non-Vomiting Cat! If you order now you will receive 3 Non-Vomiting Cats for the price of 1 and we will also include 3 of the Miracle Upholstered Furniture Recovery Kits for the price of 2. Only 173 easy payments of 19.95!!

You want a non-vomiting cat? You’re going to have to pay.

Plucky's avatar

I would take her to the vet before the weekend as others suggested.

Does your cat go outdoors? Have you changed the food recently? Is she drinking alot of water or not much? Are there any new stressors in the home? Is her stool “normal”? Does she hack alot before vomiting? There are so many possibilities, at this point, what may be wrong with her.

As for your furniture ..I’d consider covering it until the matter subsides (old blankets, towels, etc).

augustlan's avatar

@PluckyDog They’re strictly indoor cats, and I can’t think of anything that has changed recently. She doesn’t really hack, she kind of cries… pitiful little mewling sounds, like she’s alarmed, then a gag noise or two, then out it pours. Poor little girly.

lillycoyote's avatar

@augustlan You can’t come up with anything at all that has changed recently? Something you brought into the house? A new plant? Some new product? Nothing at all that your cat might have ingested? Some new thing that she has been exposed to?

augustlan's avatar

@lillycoyote The only new things either happened well before she started puking, or after. I painted a bedroom about 3 weeks ago, but the door was shut the whole time (plus, I’ve used this paint before, with no ill effects). Then, I had some plumbing work done on Friday, but she was already sick by then. The only thing I have noticed is that the cabinet under my kitchen sink has been opened by one of the cats several times lately. I suppose it’s possible that there’s something in there she’s getting into, but I really don’t think so. I never see or hear her in the cabinet.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Has she had a bowel movement since this started? She may have an intestinal blockage. The “distraught” just before she throws up set off warning bells in my mind.

syz's avatar

You mention that she vomits at night, but is she eating in the meantime? If she’s eating and drinking and holding it down, but vomits intermittently, the situation’s not quite so urgent. She may just have a hairball that’s irritating the lining of her stomach.

If she’s not eating, however, you need to get her seen earlier than this weekend. She’ll likely be severely dehydrated and quite ill. Cats, unlike dogs, can become very ill if they stop eating and can develop hepatic lipidosis.

tedibear's avatar

I just went through this with a cat a few months ago. Along with throwing up, he wasn’t eating. I suggest that you take her to the vet for bloodwork because this could be any number of things, including kidney trouble, liver trouble, major hairball, pancreatitis, irritable bowel syndrome or cancer. With the bloodwork we were able to rule out kidney, liver and pancreas. An x-ray ruled out major hairball blockage. We decided to treat him for irritable bowel because if it was cancer, he would likely decline further health-wise, while if it wasn’t, he would just get better. The vet gave him an anti-nausea shot, which I had to continue with a liquid version at home. He also gave him an appetite stimulant shot. They told me to offer him small amounts of canned food when we got home. It took about 4 days but once he was able to stop throwing up, he started eating again.

Through my own research online, I found that a low-fat, low-protein diet was supposed to be best for cats with stomach trouble. I found one and we’ve not had any more incidents except for the occasional hairball, which he did anyway.

Let us know what your vet says!

Oh! I see syz up there typing. That will be good info!

JilltheTooth's avatar

@augustlan ; Can you update us, please when you know something? Now I’m worried about your poor little felinette.

Cupcake's avatar

Sorry your kitty is sick @augustlan. I had a daily puker, myself. Sounds nasty, but I found it a lot easier to clean the puke once it had started to dry a bit (although I don’t think he ever puked on the couch).

One vet didn’t take it very seriously, but the other did. It cost us a lot of money to get to the bottom of it, but I was grateful to finally understand what was going on with the poor little guy. Even though he had a biological reason for the puking, the gentle wet food the vet gave us helped A LOT.

I hope it’s something simple and inexpensive. Please let us know!

NaturallyMe's avatar

My kitty threw up clear stuff (with a little foam sometimes) due to kidney disease. :( Take your kitty to the vet immediately.

augustlan's avatar

I was gone all day yesterday… sorry I haven’t responded sooner! I’m calling the vet now. Thanks for all the concern, and I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes. :)

augustlan's avatar

Update: She is at the vet, receiving an enema. Poor girl is, quite literally, full of shit. :(
They didn’t see any obstructions in the x-rays, so we’re all hoping this is just a bout of constipation. We’ll pick her up later this evening, and if all goes well, problem solved. If not, it’ll be back to the vet for blood work.

My other cat misses her buddy. She’s wandering around looking a bit lost.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Poor kitties

crisw's avatar

@augustlan

Thanks for listening and taking her to the vet! Poor kitty.

bob_'s avatar

Well, that’s one shitty problem.

Cupcake's avatar

Good luck to @augustlan‘s kitty!

wait…

lillycoyote's avatar

Poor kitties! Glad you got her to the vet and that it seems to be something minor. My last two kitties I adopted as kittens, from friends who were leasing a small ranch in Texas and for one reason or another ended up with whole hell of a lot of cats and kittens from a bunch of different litters. One night I was visiting them, they had invited some people over for horse riding and my friend Melanie’ exasperated husband said “Take a cat, take two!! We’ll throw in a free litter box! A crate to transport them!” so I did. I picked from one litter Bugsy, about 8 weeks and Casper, from another litter, about 11 weeks and they grew up together. They would often miss each other when one of them had to go to the vet overnight or for a day or two. Bugsy died when he was 18 and it was just so very sad to see how Casper had to adjust to the loss of his “brother”, his best friend. They used to clean each other’s head and ears and after Bugsy died, the first time I saw Casper lick his paw and use it to clean his head, a site so common to other people who have cats, it just broke my heart. I had never see him do that. They do love each other, our little cat friends. Except for when they want to tear each other’s ears of their heads, and they are quite capable of doing it. Little buggers. So sweet, yet so capable of butchery. I love them anyway. :-)

When Bugsy started vomiting on a regular basis it turned out that he had developed hyperthyroidism. But glad this one seems to be minor. You still need to take care of it because a constipated and vomiting cat is not a happy cat nor one that is easy to live with; and because once you have taken a cat into your household they demand and expect full medical coverage and if you don’t provide it you will be hearing from their lawyers and their lawyers really do have teeth and claws!

Plucky's avatar

Keep us posted :)

NaturallyMe's avatar

Awww….. my kitty had to have an enema one time too because she was so constipated that her stomach was bigger than it should be, almost like she had a big belly. She felt awful after the procedure and seemed to be in quite a bit of pain, but she got over it again after a few days. Maybe it would be a good idea to keep your kitty’s litterbox very near to her when she gets home, because mine didn’t feel like walking all the way to the box or outside, so i had wee on my bed…

augustlan's avatar

The vet tech said the enema had a ‘successful outcome’, but that she likely had quite a bit more still in her. When we brought her home, she laid in my bed all evening (smearing a bit of poop on my top blanket, just to add to my level of cat grossness for the week ~).

About two hours ago, she threw up again. In addition, my other cat threw up liquid just before that. She never throws up liquid… it’s always solid. Now I’m super concerned. I just can’t think of anything they could have gotten into! Maybe something in this last batch of food is off? I’m going to the store today, and will pick up some new food, see if that helps at all. If not, we’ll go back the vet again, this time with both of them. Keep your fingers crossed for my kitties, please. :(

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I think new food is a great idea. Anything new in their environment at all? Anything that has changed? Fingers firmly crossed.

augustlan's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Nothing at all that I can think of, and I’ve been wracking my brain! I sincerely hope I haven’t overlooked something. I’ll feel so awful if this turns out to be my fault.

augustlan's avatar

Nope. Nor any old ones, for that matter. I have a ‘black thumb’, and kill nearly all plants. I’ve never killed an animal, though! ;)

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@augustlan Go easy on yourself. You’re taking steps to get them healthy. Do they go outside much? The other one coming down with the vomiting is bothering me. No contact with any other animals?

augustlan's avatar

They’re strictly indoor cats, and don’t have contact with any other animals.

Plucky's avatar

Whatever it is ..it seems to be passing to your other cat. Which could mean a virus/parasite/bacterial issue. At this point, blood work is a very good idea.
You may want to look at your own health as well. Some human diseases/conditions can be transmittable to pets and vice versa.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@augustlan I’ve racked my brain all day and I think Pluckydog may be on to something. The only other possible reason might they were playing with something they ripped open amd the insides of whatever they are chewing is getting into their stomachs.

syz's avatar

Did they give you any stool softener for her? If she’ll eat it, canned pumpkin is a good natural fiber source (dogs tend to eat it more readily than cats, but some seem to enjoy it). If you try it, make sure it’s just pumpkin, not pie filling.

augustlan's avatar

@PluckyDog My health is terrible, and in fact I was sick all last week… but it was bronchitis. Nothing stomach-ey.
@Adirondackwannabe Nothing weird showed up on the x-rays, and the vet said it would be unusual for a cat her age to swallow things that aren’t food-like.
@syz No, they didn’t give us anything to give her at home. They just did the enema and sub-cutaneous fluids at the office. Is there anything more palatable to cats than the pumpkin?

Further updates: Cat number one (Katy) has thrown up a few more times, in some awful places: the couch (again) and on the kitchen table. GRRRRR. Cat number two (Chance) hasn’t thrown up any more, so I’m at a loss.

I did buy new food today, a completely different brand (vet recommended, but not an Rx brand or anything). Washed bowls, and am started fresh. For the time being, they’re confined to my laundry room, where they can’t get at anything, and every surface is easily washable. Food/water and litter box are all in there with them. If things aren’t better by Sunday, we’ll go back to the vet for blood work.

lillycoyote's avatar

Poor shitty kitty! Maybe they did just get into something. If both of them are throwing up more than usual that seems more likely. If it some kind of disease process it would more likely be one or the other of them, not both.

choppersangel's avatar

Big sympathy Augustlan, have kept and looked after cats for many years and they are such wonderfully, worryingly, independently pesky animals!

Re ‘anything else other than pumpkin’ to add to food, one of our two Bengals is troubled occasionally by constipation. She accepts Arrowroot well, if mixed with her wet food. It is a white powder which swells in the digestive system, carrying moisture with it, so lubricating the passage…. so to speak.

Clean, fresh water – obviously – but maybe more than one container about the place, ours particularly like some in the bathroom! Do you feed them real meat at all? Sometimes a simple change of food for a couple of days can help at all levels. Offal can be a useful addition especially if they’ll take a bit raw. Bits of heart, liver or kidneys… you can always make a pie with the rest! I cook a lot of the bits of meat our cats like, as they are addicted to the smell of roasting. This is not an alternative to ‘cat food’, as none of the meat they eat contains a proper balance of nutrition, but a couole of times a week can really cheer them up.

Big luck, hope the Kits recover – ours mimic each other intensely, so hopefully second Cat is just having sympbathy problems!
:o)

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

When my youngest master cat was throwing up, I figured it was the food. The kibble was too small and she was too greedy, swallowing a lot of it without chewing. I changed the foods to larger kibble and the problem stopped. Sometimes with the middle cat, it was not the size of the kibble but the make up of the food. I changed food his up chucking stopped.

augustlan's avatar

Oh, man. I’d forgotten about this question. It turned out to be the early stages of liver disease, which eventually killed my poor kitty. :(

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