Why Is My Cat Vomiting Bile? What Causes Cats To Vomit Liquids

Why Is My Cat Vomiting Bile?
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If your cat vomits a little from time to time, you probably just chalk it up to "they ate something they weren't supposed to" and don't give it a second thought. However, if your kitty begins to vomit bile often, that may be cause for concern. Find out more here about why your cat may be vomiting up bile.

If you see -- or hear -- your cat vomiting bile, what should you do? There are many reasons your cat may vomit, and while some of the causes are fairly every day and aren’t a concern, other reasons for your cat to vomit require attention or are symptoms of a larger health problem. Learn about some of these potential causes of your cat’s vomiting, what to do, and when you need to go to the vet right away.

What’s Causing Your Cat to Vomit?

When a cat vomits, it’s a symptom of something gone awry -- it could either be the result of eating something that’s not right for your cat, or it may be caused by a sickness or something systemically wrong with their health. The main potential causes of cats vomiting are:

  • Eating habits: Overeating or eating too speedily, can cause a cat to vomit. Similarly, too much movement or vigorous exercise after a meal can lead to vomiting.

  • Non-digestible: When your cat eats hair (like their fur), house plants, grass, or any other substances that aren’t digestible, its system will respond by rejecting the items through vomit.

  • Diseases: Some diseases -- such as liver failure, kidney disease, or irritable bowel disease -- can have vomiting as a symptom.

  • Allergies: Food allergies, or food intolerances, can also lead to your cat rejecting a meal.

  • Parasites: Having a parasite can also be a contributing factor to vomiting.

It can be helpful to track down when your cat typically vomits -- if it tends to be just after a meal, it’s likely tied to either the food or the speed with which it’s ingested.

Understanding Different Types of Vomit

Not all cat vomit looks the same, and you can get a sense of what may be causing the upchucking with a little inspection. Here are some of the different appearances of vomit and what may be the underlying cause:

  • Undigested food: While this can be the result of your pet eating too quickly, undigested food in vomit can also signal that there is an obstruction in the cat’s digestive system. That’s a major problem, and a visit to the vet is definitely recommended if this continues.

  • Bile or yellow/foamy appearance: This type of vomit could be caused by a hairball, but it also can point to a kidney problem, infection, or endocrine issue. If this type of vomiting occurs frequently, a vet visit is also recommended.

In general, keep an eye out for symptoms that accompany vomiting: if your cat is also lethargic, lacks appetite, has diarrhea, displays unusual behavior, or hides from you, visit the vet to try to figure out the cause.

Potential Treatments

If your cat frequently vomits after meals, try feeding them at the same time each day and feeding several small meals rather than leaving out a ton of food. This can make their dining style less frantic. If you have multiple cats, give them separate feeding dishes, and make sure each is getting sufficient food. If you think the vomiting is in response to their diet, visit your vet to get a recommendation on an allergy-friendly diet.

If the vomiting doesn’t seem tied to meals or to eating indigestible items, you should visit your veterinarian. They can provide a complete physical and assess if there is some disease or condition that’s leading your cat to vomit bile. Visit your vet immediately if you notice your cat vomiting blood since that could be a sign of a very serious illness or injury that require attention right away.

Bile vomiting in cats is a relatively common condition, but it can be difficult to treat. The good news is that there are many different methods available, and all of them have the potential to help you and your cat with this problem.

The first step to treating bile vomiting in cats is to identify the underlying cause. If you're not sure what's causing it, your veterinarian will likely recommend a full physical exam, blood work, and X-rays.

Once the cause has been identified, treatment options vary depending on what's causing the obstruction in your cat's bile duct. If there are gallstones present, they may need to be removed surgically with a procedure called a cholecystectomy (or "gallbladder removal"). This procedure is generally very safe and effective.

If your cat has a liver disease like Hepatitis or Cholangiohepatitis (inflammation of the liver), medications such as antibiotics and steroids may be prescribed to help manage the condition while allowing time for natural healing processes to take place. These drugs can have serious side effects, so it's important that owners closely monitor their pets' responses to them and report any unusual behavior back to their veterinarians immediately.

One of the most popular ways to treat bile vomiting in cats is using medication to reduce the amount of bile they produce. This is known as reducing their bile production, and it's a treatment that many vets recommend if your cat has recently been diagnosed with this problem. This type of medication is usually available as pills or liquid, but if it's not working for you, then you should talk with your vet about alternatives such as surgery or other options that might help reduce your cat's symptoms.

Another popular treatment for bile vomiting in cats involves changing their diet so that they are eating less fat. This can be done by switching from dry food to wet food or adding more fiber into their diet (e.g., vegetables). It may also mean switching from regular commercial pet food brands over to one made specifically for cats who suffer from chronic vomiting issues (which are typically higher in protein).

More on Cat Health

The Best Food for Your Dog or Cat

The Importance of Taking Your Cat to the Vet

The Principles of Nutrition for Adult Cats

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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