Why is my cat vomiting?

There are lots of reasons your cat could be vomiting. If you've never had a cat, you're going to be surprised by how frequently they do throw up. As animals, they just tend to do that - mainly because when they clean themselves, they get hairballs, which they have to throw up to get out.

   

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On the other hand, it can be a sign of serious illness, and whenever your cat starts doing it, you need to pay attention to see if the cat is acting sick in general. Sometimes it will be a cause you can't figure out yourself, such as worms.

A few of the non-serious causes for throwing up are hairballs, eating too quickly, eating stuff they shouldn't such as plants or paper, feeding them people food, and playing too hard after eating. Chances are that your cat has just had a hairball. This is easy to verify. If you haven't cleaned it up yet, look in the vomit for little wadded up hair clumps. They'll be the color of your cat's fur, and if you poke it around with something you should be able to break it apart and tell for sure. If it's just a hairball, you are fine. Go and look for a remedy for cat hairballs. It's not dangerous to the cat's health, it's easy to stop, and it's really more of an annoyance.

If you can't find an obvious cause, you have to watch the cat to see if it's sick. You will not be able to diagnose a specific illness from this symptom alone. If the cat is doing it frequently or has any other symptoms, you need to take it to the vet. Some of the dangerous stuff to watch for is eating plants (some kinds of plants are poisonous to cats), eating antifreeze or some other toxin, and really most diseases in general. Is the cat still active? Will it play with you? You should also look to see if it's hunched over. A lot of times when they're sick they'll sort of stand on all fours hunched over, wheezing and dry heaving. They won't respond to you or be friendly if you try to pet them. That is a sick cat, and it needs to go to the vet ASAP.

Other signs that should definitely lead to a trip to the vet: blood in the vomit, doing it repeatedly for more than a couple of days, losing weight, or having diarrhea at the same time.

Sources and Useful Links:

http://home.stny.rr.com/carmon/Vomit.htm

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?cls=1&cat=1314&articleid=264

http://cats.about.com/cs/healthissues/f/eldervomiting.htm

http://www.isabellevets.co.uk/health_advice/cat/info/vomitingcat.htm

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