Ever woken up in the middle of the night to the awful sound of your cat throwing up? Not a pleasant experience, especially when you turn on the light to find your cat hacking up white foamy vomit. It can be quite alarming and you may start panicking. But not to worry – it’s usually not an emergency. But you are probably concerned and want to know what’s going on, why is this happening, and what can you do to help your feline friend. In this article, we will answer all of these questions so that the next time you see your cat throwing up white foam, you know what to do! Read on…
Understanding Cat Vomit: What Does White Foam Mean?
The white foam in your cat’s vomit is caused by stomach acid and digestive juices mixing with air. Vomiting in cats is common and can have several possible causes.
The most likely reasons for your cat throwing up white foam are:
- Eating too fast: If kitty wolfed down their food, the stomach can’t keep up. Slowing them down with puzzle feeders or spreading meals into smaller portions can help.
- Hairballs: Cats groom themselves daily and swallow a lot of fur. This can cause nausea and vomiting of foam. Brushing your cat regularly and giving hairball medication or lubricant can prevent this.
- Empty stomach: Some cats vomit bile or foam when their stomach is empty for too long. Feeding smaller, more frequent meals may solve the problem.
- Irritable bowel disease: If vomiting is frequent, it could indicate inflammation of the intestines. See your vet, who may try dietary changes or medication.
- Parasites: Worms or other parasites can also lead to vomiting and diarrhea. Have your vet check a stool sample to rule this out.
- Medical issue: In rare cases, an obstruction, ulcer, or other issue may be to blame. See the vet if vomiting persists for more than a day or your cat seems lethargic or in pain. They can check your cat over, run blood tests if needed, and determine appropriate treatment.
The good news is, in most cases white foam vomiting will clear up once you address the underlying cause. But when in doubt, call your vet—they know your cat’s medical history and can properly assess the situation. Your furry friend will be back to their usual playful self in no time!
Common Causes Of A Cat Throwing Up White Foam
If your cat is throwing up white foam, it could be caused by a few common issues.
Your cat may have eaten something that didn’t agree with them, like table scraps or trash. Cats have sensitive stomachs, so even a small amount of human food can cause upset. Withhold food for 12 hours to allow their stomach to settle, then slowly reintroduce bland cat food. If vomiting continues for more than a day, see your vet.
Irritable Bowel Disease
IBD causes inflammation of the digestive tract, leading to vomiting and diarrhea. It can often be managed with diet changes, probiotics or steroids. Watch for other symptoms like loss of appetite or weight loss and talk to your vet about diagnosis and treatment options.
The pancreas produces enzymes to help digest food, and pancreatitis occurs when these enzymes start digesting the pancreas itself. It’s usually caused by a high-fat diet and causes severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. See your vet immediately for IV fluids and medication. A special low-fat, high-fiber diet and probiotics can help prevent flare-ups.
Internal parasites like roundworms, hookworms or giardia can also lead to vomiting in cats. Have a stool sample checked by your vet, who can prescribe deworming medication if parasites are detected. Be sure to properly clean litter boxes and practice good hygiene to avoid re-infection.
By determining the underlying cause of your cat throwing up white foam, you can get them back to feeling like themselves again. With vet care, diet changes, medication or simply giving their tummy time to settle, the vomiting should subside and your furry friend will be covering you in kisses once more.
You should also know that generally there are two types of vomiting in cats – acute and chronic. It is important to know if your cat vomiting white foam is acute or chronic as it will help you to decide if you need to take your cat to the veterinarian or not.
Acute or short-term vomiting means she spewed frequently over a short period of time. Meanwhile, chronic or long-term vomiting means she does it repeatedly in a day. The vomiting can also be accompanied by symptoms such as diarrhea and weight loss.
When To See The Vet For Vomiting & Foamy Throw-Up
If your cat is vomiting white foam, it could indicate an underlying health issue that requires veterinary attention. Here are some signs it’s time to call the vet:
- Your cat is vomiting multiple times a day or for more than a couple of days in a row. Frequent vomiting can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.
- There is blood in the vomit. Blood indicates irritation or damage to the stomach or esophagus that needs treatment.
- Your cat seems lethargic or is showing other signs of distress like loss of appetite, diarrhea, or stomach pain. These can be indicators of a blockage or other serious problem.
- The vomit has a strange odor. Unusual smells can signify the presence of toxins, parasites, or other abnormalities.
- Your cat is a kitten, senior cat, or has a pre-existing medical condition. These populations are more prone to severe vomiting and dehydration.
- You see pieces of foreign material like string, carpet fibers, or plastic in the vomit. This indicates your cat may have an intestinal obstruction that requires emergency surgery.
- The vomiting comes on suddenly in a previously healthy cat. Sudden, acute vomiting can be a sign of poisoning, organ failure, or other life-threatening issues.
If your cat shows any of these signs or you have a “bad feeling” about their condition, don’t hesitate to call your vet or an emergency vet clinic right away. It’s always better to be safe in these situations. They can examine your cat, run any necessary tests to determine the cause of the vomiting, and provide proper treatment to prevent dehydration and restore health.
At-Home Care For A Cat Throwing Up White Foam
If your cat is throwing up white foam, don’t panic. There are several possible causes, many of which can be addressed at home. Here are some steps you can take:
Hydrate Your Cat
Dehydration is a common cause of vomiting in cats. Make sure your cat has access to fresh, clean water at all times. You can also give them an oral rehydration solution like Pedialyte to restore fluids and electrolytes. Use a syringe or dropper to slowly administer 1-2 milliliters at a time.
Withhold Food For 12 Hours
Giving the stomach time to settle can help stop the vomiting. Don’t feed your cat for at least 12 hours to give their tummy a break. After 12 hours, slowly reintroduce bland, easy-to-digest foods like boiled chicken, rice, or pumpkin.
Treat Any Underlying Conditions
If vomiting persists for more than a day, or your cat seems lethargic, consult your vet. They can determine if there are any underlying conditions like gastroenteritis, parasites, or pancreatitis and prescribe medication as needed. Common treatments include antacids, anti-nausea medication, antibiotics or dewormers.
Monitor Your Cat
Keep a close eye on your cat after the vomiting stops. Make sure they are drinking enough water, eating bland food, and not showing any other symptoms. If the vomiting returns or your cat seems very ill, take them to the vet right away. With proper at-home care and any needed treatment, your cat should be back to normal within a couple of days.
By staying hydrated, giving their stomach a break from food, treating any underlying conditions, and carefully monitoring them, you can help get your cat back on track when throwing up white foam. Always consult your vet if symptoms worsen or persist for more than a couple of days. They can provide guidance specific to your cat’s condition and ensure they stay happy and healthy.
Preventing And Managing Vomiting In Cats
Once your cat starts vomiting white foam, the most important thing is to determine the cause and take steps to prevent further episodes. Here are some tips to help manage vomiting in cats:
Withhold Food And Water For A Few Hours
Giving the stomach a chance to settle can help. Withhold food for 4-6 hours and water for 2 hours. Then slowly reintroduce small amounts of water and bland food like rice and chicken.
Address Any Underlying Issues
Some possible causes for vomiting white foam include:
- Dietary indiscretion: Your cat may have eaten something that didn’t agree with them. Withhold food for 12-24 hours to allow the stomach to clear.
- Hairballs: Long-haired cats are more prone to hairballs, which are essentially loose hairs that cats swallow while grooming themselves. These loose hairs then end up as hairballs and cause vomiting. Use hairball remedy gel or paste to help the hair pass through the digestive tract. Additionally, you should also brush or comb your cat regularly to remove loose hair from their coat. By reducing the amount of hair that your cat may swallow, you are minimizing the risk of hairballs.
- Parasites: Have your vet check a stool sample for parasites like roundworms or hookworms, which can irritate the stomach and intestines.
- Kidney disease or other illness: If vomiting persists for more than a day, or your cat seems lethargic, it’s best to have your vet examine them to determine if there are any other issues. Blood tests and other diagnostics can check for serious medical causes that require treatment.
Make Dietary Changes
For frequent vomiting, switching to a bland, highly digestible diet can help. Ask your vet about prescription gastrointestinal diets. You can also try probiotics or digestive enzymes to improve gut health. Multiple small meals may be easier to digest than one or two large meals.
Medicate As Prescribed
If an underlying condition is diagnosed, follow your vet’s recommendations for treatment such as antibiotics, steroids, or other medication. These can help resolve the vomiting and manage symptoms.
With prompt action and the proper care, most cases of vomiting white foam in cats can be resolved quickly. Be attentive to your cat and take them to the vet if symptoms persist or get worse. By determining the underlying cause and making appropriate changes, you can get your cat back to good health and prevent future stomach upset.
So now that you know the possible reasons why your cat may be throwing up white foam and what you can do about it, the most important thing is not to panic. Often, it will pass on its own within a day. However, if it persists for more than a couple of meals, seems severe, or your cat is acting lethargic, it’s best to have your vet examine it to determine the underlying cause. They can provide fluids to avoid dehydration and any necessary medication to settle their stomach or address another issue. Try not to withhold food for too long, as that can lead to other problems. Most of the time, it’s something minor and will clear up once you’ve found the source. Stay vigilant, provide extra love and comfort, and call the vet if symptoms worsen or persist. Your cat will be back to their usual playful self in no time!
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