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Why does my cat throw up after eating?

By: Dr. Jon Rappaport

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Our question this week was:

I wanted to ask you a question about my cat getting sick. He has thrown up ever since I have had him when was about 1 year old and he's now 5. He seems to go in cycles where he will throw up for a number of days (like a week) and then he will not for a few weeks. He throws up immediately after eating, and some times while he's eating. He throws up both dry and wet food.

He is not a big eater. He doesn't inhale his food. I have tried too many types of food to even recall. And I have always feed him high quality food. I now feed him Natural Balance, without any fish additives and I try to stay away from chicken. I try to get flavors such as venison, duck, etc. I have taken him to the vet 2 or 3 times for this and had the easy tests done. They feel around, listen, and have tested stool samples and checked for worms. I tried the prescription food by Science Diet (I forget the manufacture name, it's not science diet) and he would not even look at that. I didn't blame him.

So I have tried everything I can think of. I am currently doing an experiment feeding him from paper plate bowls instead of the plastic reusable bowls. I wondered if soap residue might stay on the plastic bowls. But it's too early to tell how that is going. It's very strange how he will not throw up for 2 to 3 weeks, and then multiple times in a week, even in a day some times.

If you don't mind sharing any thought you might have, I would really appreciate it.

Thank you,

Dave


Answer

Hi – Thanks for your email. You wrote that your cat has a history of intermittent vomiting (or more likely in your cats case it may be regurgitation). This is very common in some cats. Some cats will vomit (contents of the stomach) or regurgitate (contents of the esophagus) intermittently without any underlying known cause.

You are right – it is peculiar how some cats will vomit several times then not for a while. This is also relatively common in cats. Your thoughts on soap residue are interesting but I've not found that to be a persistent problem.

Cats can vomit or regurgitate do this for lots of reasons ranging from hairballs, esophagitis, esophageal stricture, stomach inflammation, etc.

I'd recommend that you have your veterinarian examine your cat to help determine any underlying problem. They may want to consider endoscopy – a procedure to put a fiberoptic tube down his esophagus and into the stomach to look for abnormalities. Other cats may have some form of inflammatory bowel disease.

Other things you can do at home is to routinely give your cat a hair ball remedy to minimize the chance of this being caused by hair, groom your cat regularly, ensure he or she has plenty of fresh clean water and another option is to try canned food. Some cats that are prone to regurgitate do better with canned food.

You may want to read the following articles:

Regurgitation in Cats
Hairballs in Cats

Best of luck!

Dr. Jon




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