According to VPI, tummy upset/vomiting was one of the top five conditions for which pet insurance claims were filed in 2014. Unfortunately, it can be hard to discern what the cause is. Cats can be picky eaters who refuse food just for the heck of it. If you have a multiple cat household, it can be hard to figure out who the owner of the puke puddle is unless you catch him mid-heave. And, how do you know if it’s just a hairball, or something more serious (like poisoning) that requires immediate medical attention?
What Causes Stomach Upset?
If your cat does not have a history of gastrointestinal problems, then begins to experience loss of appetite and/or vomiting, it’s most likely due to one of the following:
- Sudden change in diet
- Abdominal obstruction
- Side effects of medication
- Viral/bacterial infections
If your cat has a chronic GI problem, it could be due to inflammatory bowel disease, cancer, bacterial or fungal infections, hyperthyroidism or organ failure.
These are just short lists of possible causes. If you determine that your cat isn’t just trying to hock up a hairball or reacting to a dietary change, take your cat to the vet. Internet research is not the best way to diagnose your cat’s health problems.
What are the symptoms of tummy problems?
In addition to loss of appetite and vomiting or retching, your cat may show signs of abdominal discomfort when the tummy is palpated.
And, since a cat’s natural instinct is to hide when under the weather, if she’s found a hidey hole and won’t come out, check to see if she’s feeling okay.
If your cat doesn’t eat for more than a day, something’s up. Can you tempt her with baby food, tuna, or her favorite cat food or treats? If not, take her to the vet.
Going into the litter box but not producing any output is a serious symptom that requires immediate veterinary attention. Similarly, elimination outside of the litter box that can’t be attributed to environmental changes (like a new cat or household changes) should trigger a vet visit.
Fecal changes — like going from logs to soft-serve, or vice versa — are one of the best signs that something’s wrong.
When Does Stomach Upset Require Veterinary Attention?
As mentioned above, entering the litter box without producing poop or pee is a red flag that requires immediate vet attention. Obviously, any time you see blood in the litter box output, head straight for the vet.
Perform puke analysis:
- If the cat is horking up intact dry food soon after eating, she may simply be eating too fast.
- If it contains fur (his own, not a rodent’s), it’s a hairball.
- If the vomit appears to contain fecal matter, there’s probably an obstruction and you should seek medical attention immediately.
- If the ejecta contains bile (a yellow-green fluid), your cat’s digestive system is encountering motility problems. See a vet.
Perform poop analysis:
(Click chart to bigify.) Ideally, your cat’s poop should score about a 3. Some cats may chronically fall slightly higher or lower, but the important thing to note is a sudden marked change in the poop’s form factor. My hubby would not let me frame this print and keep it over the litter box, so I had to memorize it.
The occasional hairball is not cause for concern, but if your cat continues to heave without producing a hairball, you may need a vet’s help to remove it.
Chronic vomiting requires veterinary attention and lab tests. Treating conditions like hyperthyroidism soon after onset reduces the chance of organ damage, and increases the chances of a good prognosis.
There are Rx foods available only through veterinarians that are formulated for cats with sensitive stomachs. For example, Purina ProPlan® offers a wide array of prescription foods, and you can check out their website for rebates and offers — for example, right now you can get $15 Off Purina® Pro Plan® Veterinary Diets EN Gastroenteric Naturals™. (Mousebreath is giving away coupons for free bags — see below.)
How do I treat my cat’s stomach upset?
The treatment will depend on the cause. Treatment can range from antiemetics, medications and subcutaneous fluids tohttps://mousebreath.com/are-we-dating/ and surgery. Your vet will determine the best course of treatment.
(If you have an antiemetic on hand from a previous bout of vomiting, DO NOT administer to your cat prior to consulting a vet and determining why she’s throwing up. If your cat is throwing up due to ingestion of a toxic substance, her body is trying to reject the poison and an antiemetic will thwart that process.)
Is there anything I can do to prevent my cat from getting stomach upset?
Some tummy upsets are preventable. Here’s what you can do to prevent common problems:
An abrupt change in diet and/or environment is a common cause of stomach upset (especially for cats rehomed from a shelter). Make diet changes gradually. Mix the new food with the current food, then increase the proportion of new food in the mix each day over the course of a week to ten days.
If your cat eats too fast and soon after barfs up intact kibble, consider using a dating someone more attractive than you or https://mousebreath.com/successful-dating-apps-in-india/ which forces slower eating.
Keep problematic ingestibles out of your cat’s reach. This includes string, rubber bands, tinsel, thread, yarn, and toxic plants.
Groom daily to prevent hairballs. This will eliminate the source of hairballs and give you the chance to discover any areas that are tender when touched. (It also provides an opportunity to find ticks and search for evidence of fleas.) If your cat is particularly susceptible to hairballs, supplement her diet with Petromalt or a similar product to help “grease the skids” so that she can pass the hairball successfully. Feed your cat a food formulated for hairball relief like Purina Pro Plan Hairball Management. Hairball relief food is especially helpful for long-haired cats and cats who tend to be obsessive groomers.
Annual vet checkups will help catch problems early. Often, a good vet can tell just by feeling the cat if there are any unusual growths in the abdomen.
Don’t poison furry pests like rats and gophers. It won’t just make your cat (or neighborhood feral cats) sick, it’s one of the primary causes of death in predatory bird species.
Keep an eco-friendly garden, free of pesticides, herbicides and all those other -cides that can make pets sick. If you allow your cat outdoors, consider a catio or cat fencing to ensure that he doesn’t wander off to a neighbor’s toxic garden.
Purina® ProPlan® Veterinary Diets EN Gastroenteric Naturals™ is specially formulated for cats with sensitive stomachs to help them feel their best and get the good nutrition they need.
The Feline EN Naturals Gastroenteric Naturals Food contains highly digestible nutrients designed to support feline digestive health in a low-carb, high-protein moderate-fat mix. It provides optimal nutrition while meeting your adult cat’s or growing kitten’s special needs. And, it has excellent palatability. (A prescription from your veterinarian is required to order this food.)
Purina ProPlan has provided Mousebreath with two (2) coupons for free bags of Purina ProPlan Veterinary Diets EN Gastroenteric Naturals to be given to a lucky reader. Fill out the entry form below for your chance to win. Entries close at 11:59pm Friday August 21st. You can tweet daily for extra entries.
THE FINE PRINT: The post was sponsored by Purina ProPlan, who has provided the 2 coupons for the giveaway. Mousebreath respects its readers and would never recommend products we don’t thoroughly believe in.