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Pet Doc, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
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Experience:  Veterinarian - BVSc
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My cat vomited 5 times this morning and is hiding under couch

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My cat vomited 5 times this morning and is hiding under couch all day. I managed to lure him out for about 2 minutes and then he ran back in. He has some discharge from his eyes and his pupils seem to be enlarged. His fur also looks very clumpy and full of dandruff. This all happened in a matter of 24 hours, please help. Thank you
Hi there,

Thank you for your question. My name isXXXXX and I am happy to be able to help you today. Before I put an answer together for you, I am going to need a little more info:

- Is there anything around the home or yard he could have gotten in to?
- Has he been peeing as per normal that you have seen?
- Have you noticed any other symptoms?

Once you get back to me, I will start typing up my response. Thanks for this and I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Dr E
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Dr. Edwards!

I really hope you can help me out.

My cat always lived indoor so there is really nothing he could have gotten into that I wouldn't notice. Last time he used the litter box was yesterday afternoon. He did not drink or eat anything since yesterday morning. In the past he would vomit a fur ball once in a while, but this was very different and as I have mentioned, happened 5 times in a row. When I got him out from under the bed, he did cry a bit and then went into hiding again.

Hi again Veronika,

Thanks for your prompt reply regarding your boy. As I am sure you can probably appreciate Veronika, there are a number of things that could be going on here with your boy. For this reason you are going to have to continue to keep a close eye on him if you can. Given you haven't seen him urinate today, the main concern I have here is that he could have a blocked, or at least partially blocked bladder as this can often present in this way. For this reason, you are going to have to keep an extra close eye on whether he is actually urinating or not. Hopefully he goes to the litter tray soon so you can see 1.) if he is having any difficult peeing and 2.)whether he can actually pass urine or not. If you seem him go to the litter tray, pee without any issue and see plenty of pee in the tray, then this pretty much rules out a blocked bladder/penis. If on the other hand he is straining and/or there is little urine produced, then you need to get him seen straight away to have the obstruction cleared.

Ultimately, if he is really lethargic, you are going to have to get him along to your local ER Vet right away if you can. As there are a number of possible causes for his symptoms, it is better to be safe than sorry in these situations. It is a relief to hear at least that there isn't anything toxic inside he could have gotten into.

For now, please keep an eye your boy's mucus membranes, capillary refill time and respiratory rate tonight as follows (do be careful that your boy doesn't try to bite you):

Mucus membranes - flip his lip and look at the color of his gums. They should maintain a nice salmon pink color. Get him to the emergency Vet if they appear white or very pale pink, or if they are a dark deep red color.

Capillary Refill time - this measures blood perfusion and test this by putting your thumb on his gum to apply pressure. After you release your thumb you will see the gum blanch. Capillary refill time is the amount of time it takes (in seconds) for the gum to return to a healthy pink color from the blanced white color. If 2 seconds or less don't worry - if it is taking significantly more time, again - off to the emergency Vet.

Respiratory Rate - if he is breathing very quickly this is a sign of shock and or pain and a signal for a trip to the emergency Vet.

In the meantime, try and encourage him to drink. Another concern is that he will soon become dehydrated if he doesn't start drinking, or if he cannot keep water down. If he is just lying around under the couch and is disinterested in food or water, then you really are best to get him seen straight away.

I hope all of the above makes sense Veronika? Please let me know if you have any other questions. My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back. I am happy to address follow-up questions.

Kind Regards,

Dr Edwards

Bonuses & positive feedback are always welcomed and very much appreciated

If you have any further questions in the future, I would be more than happy to help you again! Just bookmark my profile and ask a question via the question box.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for all the tips. But since you have mentioned it might be a number of things going on here, could you maybe be more specific as to what else it could be if I rule out the bladder blockage?

Also, it might be very difficult to get him from under the couch now, since he moved to the complete end of it and I cannot reach him. What do I do if he doesn't come out? I'd like to try to do the test you've mentioned, but if I don't get him out, I feel a little helpless.

Yes - it will be a little tricky to check those parameters if he is under the couch! If can try and coax him out to begin with - that would be the easiest way. He is probably a little nauseous and not that interested in food - but if there is something he always goes for, try coaxing him out with that. Otherwise, you may need someone to help you move the couch so you can get him out and examine the parameters mentioned above on a table.

If you see him urinate and urinate with no issue, then yes, this will rule out a urethral obstruction. The next main possibility after this would be an infectious gastroenteritis or an adverse food reaction. Either way - a bland diet would typically help with this, but I would recommend starting that tomorrow morning and with holding all food this evening. Make sure he has ample access to water in the meantime. Tomorrow morning you can try him with something really bland like cooked, boneless skinless chicken breast and white rice (1/3 chicken, 2/3 rice).

Best of luck and keep in touch,

Dr E
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok, one last question though. Should I be worried here that it could be potentially life threatening? I certainly hope not, but I've never seen him like this and it is scary.

Thank you for all your help.

Hi Veronika,

This could potentially be something life threatening - particularly if he has a blocked bladder --> this would be an emergency. You will need to keep a close eye on him this evening, and if he seems much the same in a couple of hours, I think you are best to get him checked over by your local ER Vet. It is much better to play it safe in these situations.

Kind Regards,

Dr E
Pet Doc and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Veronika,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Pet Doc