WHY DOES MY CAT VOMIT?
Anyone who has had the blessing of living with a cat companion knows how sensitive their little tummies can be. Boy, are they cute, what makes them vomit all of the time? It seems that they are incredibly specific when choosing what they will ingest. And, if they ingest anything other than what their bodies need, it comes back up.
There are several reasons why kitties regurgitate so frequently. The gastrointestinal systems of felines are extremely sensitive. Since companion cats are no longer solely consuming what they would in nature, much of the stomach upset can be resulting from processed foods. If you are feeding your kitty poor quality food, which happens more often than you might think, his body will reject it. ALWAYS pay attention to nutritional ingredients. Just because a label says “protein” does NOT mean the protein is a nutrient rich source. In fact, a few common cat food companies have been discovered to use ground up bird feathers, beaks, hooves and heads (Dr. Karen Becker, D.V.M.). Though companies claim that the aforementioned are “nutrient rich protein sources”, they are actually composed of insoluble proteins such as keratin. Keratin is the protein found in hair and nails. It will not be absorbed into the body at all; it will go straight through the body to be released through elimination. Be sure that you know your animal’s food source for certain to ensure a proper nutritional diet and quality of life.
Another reason for the constant kitty up-chuck is that they can develop allergies to foods that they have been eating for prolonged periods of time. If, seemingly out of nowhere, your cat begins to throw up frequently, she may have developed a sudden allergy to the food she has been eating for years. Thankfully, this is an easy fix. Many holistic vets suggest that alternating cat food protein sources is the healthiest form of diet for your cat. It is important to note that whenever you choose to switch your cat’s food, you should do so very slowly, mixing the foods together, eventually phasing the first kind out. Some vets believe that cats should stay on one kind of food for their whole lives. I strongly disagree with this idea as I have witnessed it having a negative effect on most cats. However, if your cat has a preexisting condition and requires special food, check with your holistic vet before making the switch. I will add here that if you are feeding your cats “veterinarian recommended food” that I STRONGLY encourage you to read your food labels. It is shameful what some cat food companies call “food” in the name of making a buck.
If your cat gobbles up every meal more quickly than you can feed him, this can contribute to the vomiting cycle. Often, in multi-cat homes, some cats feel that they need to eat all of their food before anyone else gets it. As well, in situations with newly adopted cats, they may be experiencing malnutrition and want to consume the food as soon as they see it. Be sure to work with each cat in your home individually to indentify why they are vacuuming up their food so quickly! Some practices include; feeding each cat in a separate room, not leaving food out all day long, sitting with your feline friend to ensure she eats in a slow paced manner and more. Becoming aware of your kitty’s eating time habits is a great way to keep her healthy!
Is your kitty too hungry? Cats can also vomit frequently if their feeding times are too far apart. Like dogs, the digestive juices of cats are quite acidic and can cause tummy upset if they are moving about in the stomach when the cat is hungry. Though it is not a good idea to leave food out all day long for snacking, it may be worthwhile to experiment with feeding times and either add a meal or find a feeding time compromise so your kitty isn’t in pain while she is waiting to be fed. Ideally for an indoor cat, feedings should occur 4 times per day. This would equate to one quarter can of food every three or four hours.
If your cat is lacking digestive enzymes, this may lead to poor digestive vomiting. This is easily remedied by adding natural sources of enzymes such as papaya seeds or canned pumpkin to the diet. Alternatively, feline-specific digestive enzymes can be purchased from your local holistic veterinarian. If your cat is suffering from a lack of enzymes, the vomit will appear with undigested food and is likely to occur right after eating. This cat will also likely eat too quickly as he is unable to retain his food and will be very hungry.
Lastly, cats with hairballs will also vomit. Cat hair is not easily digested and can cause a great deal of upset in your cat’s system. To remedy this, brush your cat frequently and clean your home on a very regular basis. This includes weekly dusting and vacuuming. Cats often have a condition called “pica” and will eat non food items such as dust and hair on the ground if not swept up which is why its extra important to keep your home clean!
Of course it is also possible that your cat needs GI testing. It is always a good idea if vomiting persists and includes any additional physical or behavioural symptoms from your kitty, to see your holistic animal health care practitioner.