A Comprehensive View of Cat Nausea

It's not unusual to find your kitty transformed into a big couch potato if she's nauseous.
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Nausea has a way of making your kitty curl up on the couch, paws over her eyes, hoping the nasty feeling will go away. She can blame medication or a medical condition for her upset tummy. If the symptoms get too bad, it might be time to see the doc.


From irritating the stomach lining to causing chemical reactions in the brain, medicines have plenty of ways to make your kitty's stomach twist and turn with discomfort. While almost all medicines have the possibility of making your feline a bit nauseous, some are more potent than others, especially pain medicines and antibiotics. Unlike dogs who can take a larger variety and stronger doses of pain medications, cats react poorly to most pain meds. WebMD notes that even a small dose of aspirin can cause loss of appetite and vomiting, although a baby aspirin given with food can lessen the nasty side effects. Antibiotics take aim on good and bad bacteria, and when they kill the good bacteria, your meowing friend's digestive system goes wonky, leading to diarrhea and nausea.

Medical Conditions

If your kitty's medications aren't to blame for her nausea, then the culprit lies somewhere inside of her. If you research a few feline sicknesses, you'll probably find a pattern where nausea is constantly listed as a symptom, at least for internal conditions. Sometimes the cause is obvious, such as a bacterial infection of your feline's digestive system or eating something poisonous, but there are other conditions that don't have a clear link to nausea. Consider kidney failure. It's logical to think a cat suffering from kidney failure might have pain around her kidneys and urine problems, but she can also feel sick thanks to an abnormally large buildup of gastric acid. Other conditions that can cause nausea include anything that leads to internal bleeding, a buildup of fluid internally, dehydration and allergies.


With nausea, your kitty's symptoms might be minor, such as an upset tummy that doesn't affect her daily life too much, to vomiting, diarrhea and a loss of appetite. Frequent vomiting is typically a sign of something more serious, such as a severe reaction to a medication or a condition that needs treated. Regular diarrhea can cause your kitty to become dehydrated, so make sure her water bowl is always filled. If she's not eating at all, that can have serious health risks. Cats can only go about two days without eating before their liver is negatively affected. The bottom line is that nausea is normal and expected for many conditions and while your feline's on medications, but if the symptoms turn serious, dial up your vet right away. If you notice signs of dehydration -- poor skin elasticity, gums that don’t turn back to a pink color within two seconds of gently pressing on them, panting and stumbling -- get her to the vet immediately.


While nausea can't always be prevented, you can take a few steps to lessen the severity of it so your kitty won't be so miserable. Always follow the directions for medications. Failing to give a pill with food, for example, is almost a surefire way to cause an upset stomach. If nausea symptoms get too bad, your vet might be able to prescribe her medication to alleviate the symptoms caused by medications. If a medical condition is at play, treating the condition will usually clear your cat's nausea.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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