Cats are particularly prone to vomiting. The causes may be various, the most common being hairballs. Other causes may be more or less serious, with some requiring prompt veterinary treatment. It is always best to have a cat seen by a vet when it is vomiting and acting lethargic. Mild cases of vomiting, where the cat is still active, can be tried to be treated at home. However, should the vomiting persist and the cat develops other worrisome symptoms the best protocol is having the pet seen.
Home Treatments for Vomiting Cats
- Tummy Rest
A vomiting cat’s stomach is in distress. It therefore, requires to heal on its own by giving it some rest. Ideally, a cat should be fasted for 12 hours. No food or treats should be given at this time as they may cause further vomiting.
- Hydration Test
Cats that vomit a lot risk getting dehydrated. A good way to tell a cat’s hydration level is to lift the skin over the shoulder blades. If the skin springs back promptly it is a good sign. If there is a delay or worse, if the skin remains lifted this is indicative of dehydration. The cat may need at this point IV fluids from the veterinarian.
Water can further upset a cat’s stomach. If your cat laps up water and vomits it, it means you should keep water away until the cat starts feeling better. Ice chips offered every 15 minutes may be beneficial if you are concerned about dehydration. A cat licking ice has better chances of keeping the water down than drinking straight water.
Unflavored Pedialyte may help a dehydrated cat gain back some lost electrolytes. This should be used with caution in diabetic cats. Pedialyte should be given though very slowly to prevent the cat from vomiting this up as well. Usually 2 droppers can be given very slowly every ten minutes for two hours.
A Pedialyte like liquid may be prepared at home by mixing 2 quarts of water with 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt, 7 tablespoon sugar. It should all be boiled in order to ensure it all dissolves well.
- Pancake syrup
Rubbing some Pancake syrup on the cat’s gums may give the cat a nice boost of energy if it is starting to feel weak from the vomiting.
- Bland diet
After the 12 hour fast cats should be offered a bland diet. Meat based baby food with no onion or garlic in it may be helpful. This can be offered watered down a bit to make it more appetible. If the cat is reluctant to eat this watered down baby food may be placed in a dropper and a little squirt in the mouth should encourage the cat to eat on its own after wards.
- Hair balls
If the vomiting is related to hairballs, giving some Laxatone sold in pet stores may help the cat get rid of the excess hair. Alternatively, a dab of vaseline may be put on the cat’s paw to allow the cat to lick it off. Oil from tuna may help as well and so may a little bit of butter.
- Back to Normal
Once the cat is no longer vomiting, the regular diet may be re-introduced gradually in 3-4 days. Adding the normal diet abruptly may cause a cat to go back to vomiting.
If the bland diet does not help, this is usually indicative that there is an underlying cause that needs addressed. The cat may have parasites, have developed an intolerance to its food, have a gastro-intestinal disorder, kidney or liver disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, an intestinal obstruction and there are many more causes that require a proper assessment by the veterinarian.