My 13 year old cat throws up all the time. Sometimes there is still whole food in the vomit. Sometimes it's just bile. I switched cat food (Iams hairball formula) to Purina indoor cat food and it helped for awhile, but now it's happening again. I give her skim milk, sometimes (she loves it) and we give her "Temptations" occasionally. Dry cat food is all we've ever given her.
Type of Animal: cat
Name of Animal: Tobi
Thank you for your question and your thorough history.When a older cat starts vomiting, it is a vague clinical signs that can occur with a range of conditions. This includes grumbling bacterial infection, viral disease, dietary sensitivity, parasitic infestations, pancreatitis, inflammatory disease, immune mediated sensitivities, cancer, metabolic conditions (diabetes, hyperthyroidism), organ troubles (kidney, liver), toxin and/or foreign material ingestion (these 2 are less likely with Tobi).And often, these can be niggling low grade conditions that our cats cope with, so we see the vomiting and sometimes weight loss but they behave as if everything is fine (and keep drinking their milk). If Tobi has been showing an intermittent chronic vomiting at her age, then this is a wee bit concerning and we need to make sure that she isn't experiencing this vomiting for a reason other then a stomach upset. Specifically, I would be concerned that this may be an hint of a chronic issue associated condition progressing to a state that it is inducing vomiting. And in that vein, I would say we need to double check that Tobi isn't quietly developing any metabolic or organ based issues.
So, in Tobi's case, it would be ideal to have her checked over by her vet. They will be able to evaluate her body condition, her hydration, and overall health to give you an idea of what might be the specific agent causing her this trouble.
Otherwise you can consider submitting a urine sample to the vet's for them to check first. Often we can obtain a ‘donation’ if the kitty is left overnight in a non-carpeted room with an empty litter box, or if a sample is collected from the bathroom floor. The vet will be able to analyze it and determine if there is anything abnormal. They will be able to appreciate changes to the urine's white blood cell content (a marker of infection), the presence of glucose/ketones (markers of diabetes). As well, the vet will be able to analyze this urine under the microscope to rule out bacteria or crystals. Furthermore, the vet will be able to check the urine's specific gravity, which tells us if the kidneys are concentrating the urine properly (since dilute urine is seen with kidney disease and cats with underlying thyroid disease). Overall, this is quite a non-invasive means of checking if there are any of the these differentials could be affecting her.
In the meantime, you may wish to try her on a light/easily digestible diet to see if this gut upset that can be settled. While the diet is on is one that is supposed to be less irritative for hair balls, we cannot rule out at this stage if she might hav a dietary sensitivity to chicken (less likely but still a concern) So, you can trial her on a light diet to see if her vomiting settles with that. Examples of this would be boiled white fish, scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk), meat baby food (do avoid the ones with garlic powder in the ingredients) or there are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used in cases of gastroenteritis, notable Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity (RC is what I usually use for patients with Tobi's signs).
As well, if we have vomiting kitties, we often have a nausea component to their condition. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the two I tend to recommend are Pepcid (LINK) or Zantac (LINK) . Of course if Tobi has a pre-existing condition or is on medication, then you do want to discuss use of these meds with your vet first.
I hope this information is helpful. Please do let me know if you have any further questions. If you have no further questions, feedback is always appreciated.
All the best,
General practice veterinary surgeon with a special interest in cats & fish.
So far so good. We appreciated your response. I went right to the store and got a new food for her, and it was very hard to find something that didn't contain chicken. We cut out the temptations and the milk. No issues so far. We were surprised to find a can of lamb and rice pate and the first ingredient was chicken. What is up with that? No need to answer, I just wanted you to know we are working on Tobi's issues and no vomit today. Thank you.
You are very welcome and I am glad to see you are taking steps to look into what is triggering her vomiting.I did want to point out that it seems that the spell check stole a few of my words I had said 'something like' chicken as I was giving an example of chicken as a potential protein that could be irritating her. I am not just pointing my finger at chicken. It can be an allergy to any dietary protein. That said, if it was the main protein in her previous diet then it is one to target first. And you are right to stop the milk and temptations to see if an elimination diet gives you the key to what is upsetting her stomach and help guide you to the key to settling her stomach.As well, I am not surprised that chicken was masquerading as lamb. It is in everything and it could be our culprit. If you check with your vet or at the largest pet stores, they will have diets that allow you to exclude a certain protein (example). Examples of these are brands like James Wellbeloved, or Natural Balance. You just want to make sure to choose one novel (new) protein and carb like duck/green pea, lamb/rice, Salmon/rice or a hypoallergenic diet like Hill’s Z/D.
An elimination diet should be done for a 4-6 week period (unless adverse effects) to give time for the previous diet’s allergens to pass out of his system. As well, you want to make sure she is getting no treats or other bits (which sounds like you are doing), because these little tid bits (if they harbour the trigger allergen) can undo all your hard work of these trials.
Food trials are something you can do at home but do require patience and