All cats throw up from time to time. Sometimes they get sick for a serious reason. If your cat throws up after he eats, you need to keep an eye on him. Treatments for vomiting vary, so you need to figure out the underlying cause.
Vomiting or Regurgitation?
Sometimes cat vomit isn't really vomit. Sometimes it's regurgitation. The former involves food in the stomach and upper intestine; the latter involves the esophagus. A cat that vomits retches first -- it's an active process with some anticipation -- and expels partially digested food that may include bile. A cat that regurgitates lowers his head first -- it's a passive process without anticipation or retching. Cats will usually try to eat their own regurgitation but not their own vomit. Most often cats regurgitate right after eating; vomiting usually takes some time.
There are many things that can make your cat vomit or regurgitate after eating -- some serious, some innocuous. A trip to the vet and a full examination can help pin down the cause, which, in turn, helps determine a long-term treatment. In the short term, your best bet is to take away your cat's food right after he vomits or regurgitates. Once a cat has expelled food, his organs and tissues are inflamed, thus more sensitive and he is likely to repeat the action. After a few hours you can try giving him some easily digested food, like chicken and rice.
It may take a veterinarian a while to accurately determine the reason your cat vomits after eating. Be patient and follow all medical advice. You may have to feed your cat a special diet, which, if you have multiple cats, means establishing meal times and separating your sick cat from his housemates during meals. Other treatments include medicine or surgery for possible underlying conditions that may cause regurgitation or vomiting, such as an ulcer, cancer, gastritis, liver or kidney failure, pancreatitis or pancreatic tumors, inner ear diseases, Addison's disease, heartworm disease, elevated thyroid function, ingested foreign matter, bladder issues, feline panleukopenia virus, diabetes and a uterine infection.
A cat may vomit because of the slightest things -- dust can trigger a cough that triggers vomiting, for instance. New foods could be the issue; make sure to mix new and old foods if you're changing your cat's diet. Stress can can also cause vomiting, so stick to routines and make as few major changes to your cat's environment as possible. Even healthy cats regurgitate or vomit food from time to time. Look for patterns in your cat's behavior. Chronic incidents may indicate more serious problems.
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