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Terri, Feline Healthcare Expert
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 32666
Experience:  Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
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7 year old indoor cat vomiting white foam, will not eat.

Customer Question

7 year old indoor cat vomiting white foam, will not eat. Took to vet, had xrays (normal), urine work (normal), blood work (high white cell, high calcium). Left cat for ultra sound -- which revealed nothing. My baby is still vomiting and not eating. Vet wants to do a biopsy of stomach to determine if the cancer is "hiding"? Has anyone has a similar situation where there was a definitive diagnosis.
Submitted: 10 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Terri replied 10 years ago.


Does he ever chew non food items?

were his teeth checked?

what was the last thing he ate?

how long is he acting this way?
indoor kitty?




Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Terri Riba's Post: Yes indoor kitty. I have no plants indoors and she hasn't chewed on anything that I'm aware of. Teeth were checked at intake, some gingivitis, but nothing that alarmed the vet. Last thing eaten was cat food (dry) same brand I've been giving her for 5 years. Have 2 other indoor cats that eat the same thing -- both are seeminglyhealthy. Acting this way since friday night -- when she stopped eating, that's when I took her to emergency vet on Sunday morning. white blood count was elevated, as was calcium. x-rays showed nothing. They kept her overnight, put her on antibiotics, and fluids. Did ultrasound this morning and couldn't see anything suspicious. Should mention that the calcium was down this a.m. when they took blood prior to ultra sound. Not sure about white cell count. Cat is still vomiting (seems to happen now AFTER she is handled.) Xray also revealed a hard piece of pooh in her rectum, so she may be constipated, but the vet doesn't attribute her symptoms to that. She's been given 2 enemas, which haven't moved that piece of pooh. I keep coming back to this, but the vet doesn't seem to think much of it. Other than that, cat is alert, affectionate, and wants to be petted each time the tech checks on her.
Expert:  Terri replied 10 years ago.


Please stand by while I type detailed answer.

Antything new or stressful in her life no matter how remote it sounds to you?

flea treatment, carpet powder, new pet, spray, anything?



Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Nothing new or stressful that I can think of. Odd that you should mention flea treatments though. Like I said before, my cats are all indoor cats, and I have no other pets. But yesterday while I was at the vet and they brought her back from her blood test, I found a flea on her ear. Vet told me today that she ahs fleas, but I've just checked my other cats and they don't, so I'm assuming that she got them there?

The only other thing I can think of is this ... she had some urinary problems about 18 months ago. My vet told me to put her on purina ONE indoor advantage, which I did. She's been eating that for 18 months now. Last month I picked up a bag of purina ONE but it was the sensitive systems formula, which I know has yogurt in it. It was a large 20 lbs bag, so shes' been eating this for about 5 weeks now. Other that this, I can't think of anything.
Expert:  Terri replied 10 years ago.

Dear friend,

Cats do not have whims like people. Whenever they stop eating they are either ill or in pain. If her blood work was unremarkable and she has no other symptoms like fever, diarrhea, constipation, infection, etc then there is something going on that is difficult to ascertain - but it exists nevertheless. Sometimes a cat can have an abscessed tooth or root that is in the gum.They can ingest a piece of plastic that in not perceivable in an xray. They can be mildly dehydrated or have a metabolic or organic imbalance that is too slight to read on a test. She may also feel nauseated.

with a 7 year old, my first suspcion is an abscessed tooth or root in the gum that cannot be seen with the naked eye so the jaw should be xrayed.

A high white count is indicative of an infection somewhere in her system. A bad tooth, UTI or upper respiratory s possible.

If she had any recent stress, shots, procedures, etc her mmune system would be weakened allowing opportunist bacteria to enter.

High calcium may be a result of dehydration and that causes inappetite as well. She shou get SubQ fluds from her vet.

She may need a jump start when she comes home.

If your cat is not diabetic begin by giving her two droppers (cc size) of unflavored pedialyte every ten minutes for an hour. Next water down(plain water) canned cat food or baby food chicken or turkey with no onion or garlic and give only one dropper every ten minutes for another hour. Wait two hours and repeat both. When she feels hydrated she will lick up the gruel on her own.

Boil chicken or fish as the scent of food cooking awakens the appetite sensor in the brain.

Please discuss all this with your vet and let me know how things are going. I will stand by to hear from you and help further.I hope we can solve this mystery and get your baby back to normal.

I will always be here for both of you.

BTW: I am sure she did get the fleas there!

Very sincerely,


Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Reply to Terri Riba's Post: thanks for your quick response. The vet said she was not dehyrdrated yesterday. They did put her on fluids and anti biotic last night until her ultra sound this a.m. and then back on after. I'm being asked to make a decision as to whether I want to proceed with the biopsy, or bring her home and treat her with steriods for cancer (which we can't even definitely say she has. They did check her teeth, but did not xray her mouth. The ultrasound did reveal that she had fluid in her stomach ...
Expert:  Terri replied 10 years ago.


It may be dangerous to anestithize her in her weakened condition. As your vet if it would be safe.A swalowed non food item sounds more likely than cancer.

It would explain the constipation, inappetite and vomiting.

Steroids will further depress her imune system,

I think i would xray the mouth and do a more extensive abdominal ultrasound before anything invasive.

Fluid in the stomach could be and infection, non food item, FIP, (God forbid), etc.

Let me know what happens and what you decide. I will be here.

Best wishes and prayers for your baby,



Terri and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
Just thought I'd give you an update. I decided to go ahead with the biopsy. The cat started to eat the evening after the biopsy and was able to come home 3 days later. she was sent home with prednisone and an appetite stimulant. Fortunately, she's been eating with me having to give the appetite stimulant and I'm only giving a small amount of prednisone every other day. Test results have confirmed IBD which they believe may have been triggered by a food related allergy. She's also been put on hills vet diet. Babygirl is doing well (knock on wood) is eating/drinking/going to the bathroom normally. I've had one incidence of vomiting over the past week. Will be weaning her off of the predisone in another week and hoping that the new diet works. Wanted to thank you for your advice -- just talking to someone objective really helped.
Customer: replied 10 years ago.
correction: eating WITHOUT me having to give her an appetite stimulant