Why Are So Many Cats Vomiting?
Feline tummy issues plus natural stress relief for pets
Many readers have expressed problems with their cats vomiting frequently. In this edition of “My Pet World,” Cathy M. Rosenthal offers suggestions from other cat owners who have licked this feline problem. She also addresses a natural way to relieve pet stress.
I have a suggestion for the cat owner whose cat was vomiting daily. Three different vets couldn’t find a reason. We had a similar problem with our previous cat. We discovered she was chewing on a non-toxic plant in our home. We removed the plant, and the problem stopped. I suggest the owner look around the house for items her cat may be chewing on.
— Sharon, East Hartford, Connecticut
That’s a good tip. A plant doesn’t have to be toxic to cause gastric distress for a cat or dog who may chew on its parts. The solution is to remove the plant from the home or put it where the cat can’t reach it, like in a hanging basket.
I am concerned, though, about the number of emails I received about vomiting cats. Cats may vomit for many reasons, generally related to illness, gastric distress, allergies, and diet. Cats may also be impacted by stress, which occurs when there is a new pet or person added to the family, when a family member leaves home, or when the litter box moves, among other things. But overall, cats shouldn’t be vomiting unless it’s a hairball, which can be prevented with over-the-counter products.
But based on the letters I received, there are many cats that frequently vomit, and here is what they have done to address it.
Isabelle in Westbury, New York, suggests raising the cat’s food bowl six inches off the floor, which improves digestion.
If fast eating contributes to the vomiting, Leonora in Avon, Connecticut, suggests increasing the kibble size to slow the cat’s intake.
Maryellen from Commack, New York, feeds her senior felines with similar symptoms smaller amounts of food throughout the day rather than all at once.
Catherine in Porter, Indiana, says, “The cat may have chronic pancreatitis. The condition does not always appear in blood test results. My male cat had the disorder. When I started feeding him a wet diet, he improved greatly, from vomiting nearly daily to every couple of weeks.”
Mary from Tucson, Arizona, has a cat that likes to chew on plastic, “like the heavy plastic for grapes, shopping bags, etc. When he does this, the vomiting increases. Removing household plastic seems to have had the most effect,” she says.
But sometimes it is the start of an undiagnosed illness. Catrina in Tucson, Arizona, says her cat was eventually diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome.
Some of these reader suggestions might be worth trying if you have a vomiting cat and your veterinarian continues to rule out illness. It’s important to find out why since they could be getting into something they shouldn’t. Otherwise, another vet visit may be needed since some illnesses take a while to diagnose.
My friend brought me a column of yours that she had been saving from January 20th about dogs having the zoomies. My Havanese had terrible thunder issues, and with monsoon season, he really was suffering.
I tried all the remedies, but with no success, until my nurse friend got a referral from one of her hospice patients for something called Bach Rescue Remedy for Pets®. It is considered original flower remedies and is 100% natural from England. Oliver takes four drops in some yogurt at the onset of storms. He is doing much better unless I miss the beginning, and he is already shaking and experiencing trauma. It’s an interesting product I wish I had known about 11 years ago when this started.
— Autry, Tucson, Arizona.
I used to recommend (and use) Bach’s Rescue Remedy for Pets®, but I didn’t have much success with my storm-stressed dog, and it apparently dropped off my radar. My dog, Maggie, often started shaking before I knew a storm was approaching. Once that happens, reversing the stress with natural products can be challenging. (Thank goodness we can now get weather alerts on our phones.)
Sometimes, it’s not one product that works but a combination of things, so I should definitely add Bach’s Rescue Remedy for Pets® back into the mix. Most of their products are for people, so anxious people can check out their products, too.
As for the zoomies, that is different from the stress experienced during storms. Zoomies are the release of pent-up energy, which makes the dog or cat run around the house.
You can counter this by giving your dog more exercise and playtime and introducing puzzle games to engage his mind. (All good things to do before a storm as well.) As the saying goes, “A tired dog is a good dog.”
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist, and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. She addresses reader questions as diverse as cats vomiting to bizarre dog behavior. Send your pet questions, stories, and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal.
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