What advice do you have on a cat that is vomiting frequently?

Our question this week was:

My 13-year-old cat (Persian) has episodes when he vomits frequently. We feed him nothing but Hairball remedy hard cat food. When he vomits it is digested, cat food and sometimes just bile. I have noticed these episodes seem to happen right after we have his hair shaved- we generally do this 2-3 times per year. When his hair is long he does not seem to throw up much- only occasionally a hairball but I attribute that to being under control by the type of food he eats. I am wondering if the Hairball remedy cat food is irritating to his stomach once he is shaved and his hair is less of an issue. I appreciate your advice and should I switch to a sensitive cat food when he is shaved.


Yvonne DiPeso


Hi Yvonne– thanks for your email and question. You emailed that your 13-year-old cat is vomiting frequently. How frequently? Is he loosing weight? Does he have any diarrhea or other abnormal signs?

When your cat "vomits" and it looks like undigested food – that is considered regurgitation. The food most likely never reached his stomach and it is coming from the esophagus (which is the tube that takes food from the mouth to the stomach). There are several causes for regurgitation and hairballs can be one of them.

When a cat "vomits" and it is digested food or bile, that is considered real vomiting as the contents are coming from the stomach. There are several causes for vomiting. Some cats will vomit from eating a different food, viral infections, metabolic diseases (such as diabetes or kidney failure) as well as many other causes.

I'm not sure why he would vomit after he is shaved. That doesn't seem to make sense unless there is some stress element. I would not think the hairball remedy cat food would be causing a problem but I suppose you could talk to your vet and discuss trying a food for sensitive stomach in cats. It sounds like something reasonable to try. You could always supplement that with a hairball remedy (such as laxatone).

If your cat is fine all the rest of the time, you could also consider not clipping him and try to keep up with daily combings and brushing to control his hair.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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