Q: What can I do to get my senior cat to stop vomiting?

August 1, 2012 | By Sxp0229 | 2 answers | Expired: 1274 days ago

Oreo, my 12 year old cat, has been a healthy indoor cat for all her life. However, during the last 6 to 9 months, we've seen her vomiting more frequently. At first, it was infrequent, so we attributed to normal hairball vomiting that occurs rarely. But then it became 1 to 2 times a week and within the past 6 weeks or so, maybe every other day to daily.

Vomit is liquidy with undigested food chunks. She does seems to want water more than usual and is very finicky with it being super fresh water (but she has been like that for a while).

We took her to the vet. The senior total body blood work came back clean with only a slightly elevated white cell count. Vet didn't feel an enlarged thyroid and 2 xrays didn't show any immediate abonormalities internally to the kidneys or anything. The only thing he recommended is mineral oil daily by syringe.

To be honest, we haven't given her the mineral oil. But I just am not sure this will cure her vomiting. I have been doing my own research and we might need to change her diet. Most of her life, she's been on supermarket dry cat food (Purina Cat Chow) with an occassional can of 9 Lives as a treat once a week. When I noticed her vomiting increasing in frequency, we switched to Iams Hairball Control. That hasn't seemed to help the vomiting. So I was thinking maybe we should be switching to a more premium product like Wellness or Natural Balance dry foods. Should we be switching a a grain free variety like Wellness Core or are some grains OK? Also, how does Science Diet compare? Do I need to be feeding her special mature cat foods? Should I be feeding her 50/50 dry/wet foods to increase her water intake?

Few other things to note. In 2007 she was 13.2 lbs. At her last checkup in June 2012, she is 8.56 lbs. I'm not sure if the weight loss was gradual over the years or more within the past year. To be honest, with three youngs kids and the cats being mainly mu husbands, I didn't notice that much. But now I look at her and realize she is def much thinnger than I remember her being when before she was so healthy and always heavier than her litter sibling who also lives with us.

Last thing to note...in the past 2 years, she has become a partial outdoor cat... what I mean by that is that she escapes everytime I open the door but is always crying at the door 20 mins later to be let back in. Not sure if she is eating something outside... although every time I observe her she seems more interested in sunbathing and chasing birds than actually eating anything from outside. Her stools seems normal in the litter box and otherwise, she's still an affectionate cat.

Hope this gives you all the info you need to help our cat.

Readers' Answers (2)

Aug 01, 2012

Science Diet is junk food. It's full of fillers and preservatives, has lots of grain and very little meat. Did they check her kidney functions when she was at the vet? When my little senior started losing weight and throwing up regularly, we found out she had Chronic Renal Failure. With CRF, they often develop stomach acid when their tummies remain empty too long, so we started feeding her small meals throughout the day. We were limited on the types of premium foods we could give because of phosphorous levels, but we definitely had her on premium grain-free foods. Certain varieties of Wellness, Natural Balance, and Merrick Before Grain are the ones we use. You might also try adding a pre- and probiotic with enzymes to her food to help her digest it better. I use NaturVet.

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Aug 02, 2012

Going non-grain is definitely the way to go, even if it's not the cause of her vomiting. Healthy food with no fillers will give her the fighting edge she'll need as she ages and through whatever is going on now. When one of my fosters had a grain allergy, he was put on Natural Balance Limited Ingredient and we never saw problems again. He wasn't a fan of the smell of that food and went a little over a day w/o eating, but once he started he did like it.

It's hard to say what's going on with your girl. Vomiting occurs with so many illnesses and even w/o them, it's kind of cats go-to symptom for whatever's going on. The fact that some isn't digested may only mean that she's vomiting while food is still in her stomach and not always that she's having difficulty digesting it. It could be related to the food or it could just be having any food in there is agitating another cause. Being more thirsty is a better symptom. Could this be b/c it's summer though? It looks like she could have an infection somewhere with the slight elevation in white blood cells, but that can also be stress related {being at the vet's} or even a natural elevation. Assuming that it's an infection, I'd start by treating her for SIBO {small intestine bacterial overgrowth}. The small intestine is crucial for digesting food, transferring of nutrients, and water absorption. When there's an overgrowth of bacteria in there, you'll see increased thirst, weight loss, and probably diarrhea and/or vomiting. However, that's also a shot in the dark. Cats in regards of veterinary medicine is a newer venture. Much is based on dogs and much is unknown, so repeated vet visits is very common.

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