Cat Diarrhea and Vomiting: Understanding the Causes and When to Seek Emergency Care

Is your furry friend experiencing diarrhea or vomiting? Are you worried about what could be causing these symptoms? It’s essential to unravel the root of these issues and determine if they require immediate attention. While some cases may resolve on their own, others demand emergency veterinary care. Read on to discover more about cat diarrhea and vomiting and when it’s time to seek help.

The Common Causes of Cat Diarrhea and Vomiting

If you notice your cat experiencing diarrhea and vomiting, it’s essential to understand the underlying causes. Identifying the source of your pet’s distress will help you determine if veterinary care is necessary. Here are six common causes:

1. Hairballs

Hairballs are a frequent culprit behind cat vomiting. When your feline companion throws up, and along with it comes a clump of hair, it’s a hairball. In some cases, diarrhea may accompany hairballs but should clear up after a couple of loose bowel movements.

Note that coughing can sometimes be mistaken for “bringing up a hairball.” If you notice your cat hacking or gagging without producing a hairball, it’s advisable to consult with your vet and show them a video of the behavior.

2. Stomach Virus

Certain stomach viruses can lead to vomiting and diarrhea in cats. These viruses pose a moderate to severe risk to your pet’s health, so it’s essential to seek veterinary care as soon as possible if your cat experiences this type of illness. Kittens and unvaccinated cats are more susceptible to viral causes.

3. Food Sensitivity

Food sensitivity is another potential cause of cat diarrhea and vomiting. If your cat consumes table scraps or is introduced to a new type of cat food or treat, she may experience short-term vomiting and diarrhea. This may indicate a sensitivity or even an allergy to the new food.

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Additionally, if you suddenly switch your cat’s food without allowing her to adjust gradually, she may experience some stomach upset for a day or two as she adapts to the change.

4. Parasites

Digestive parasites, often referred to as “worms,” can contribute to vomiting and diarrhea in cats. These parasites may also cause appetite changes, behavioral issues, and other symptoms. Only a veterinarian can diagnose and treat digestive parasites in cats properly.

5. Ingestion of Toxins

Toxin ingestion is a severe concern when it comes to cat diarrhea and vomiting. If your cat consumes something toxic or poisonous, such as certain plants, vomiting and diarrhea are likely to be among the initial symptoms. Prompt emergency veterinary care is crucial in such cases, as the cat’s condition can deteriorate rapidly.

6. Intestinal Obstruction

Intestinal obstructions are potentially life-threatening for cats. Sometimes, while playing, cats may accidentally swallow parts of their toys or other small items they find around the home. This can lead to an intestinal blockage, which, in turn, can harm the rest of the digestive system. Immediate veterinary attention is necessary to address this problem.

Recognizing When to Go to the Emergency Vet

Now that you are aware of some common causes of cat diarrhea and vomiting, it’s crucial to know when these symptoms warrant a visit to the emergency vet. If you’re ever concerned about your cat’s health, it’s wise to contact a veterinarian or an emergency vet for immediate care. Here are some situations that require prompt veterinary attention:

If There’s Blood in Your Cat’s Vomit and/or Stool

The presence of blood in your cat’s vomit or stool is a concerning sign that should prompt a visit to the emergency vet. Blood can indicate a range of diseases, illnesses, and health conditions underlying your cat’s symptoms. A thorough examination by your vet will help determine the cause and provide appropriate treatment.

If Your Cat Can’t Keep Water Down

If your cat is unable to retain any water, it’s crucial to seek emergency veterinary care. Sick cats with vomiting or diarrhea often refuse to drink water, but it’s essential to encourage them to do so. You can try offering no-salt-added, onion, and garlic-free liquid broth (if it won’t further upset their stomach) to help them stay hydrated.

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If your cat cannot keep fluids down or refuses to drink initially, an emergency vet visit is necessary. Dehydration can quickly become life-threatening for cats, and they will likely require immediate treatment to restore their fluid balance.

If Your Cat is Unresponsive

If your cat is unresponsive due to diarrhea and vomiting, do not hesitate to bring them to the emergency vet right away. Unresponsiveness is a clear indication of a significant health crisis. Even if your cat is still conscious but becoming less responsive, it is a sign that they need immediate professional attention.

If Your Cat Has Diarrhea or Vomiting for More Than 12 Hours

If your cat’s diarrhea or vomiting persists for over twelve hours or becomes uncontrollable, it’s crucial to go to the emergency vet. Prolonged diarrhea and vomiting can lead to severe, and potentially fatal, dehydration. Your cat will require fluid therapy to stabilize her condition and a comprehensive examination by a veterinarian to identify the underlying cause. In some cases, overnight hospitalization may be necessary.

If Your Cat Has Not Eaten in Over 24 Hours

Cats experiencing gastrointestinal upset may lose their appetite. However, if your cat hasn’t eaten for more than 24 hours, it’s best to seek veterinary advice. Prolonged periods without food can lead to serious health issues, including liver disease. A veterinarian may conduct tests to determine the cause of your pet’s symptoms and recommend appropriate medications such as appetite stimulants and anti-nausea drugs to help them feel better.

If Your Cat Ingested Something Toxic

If you suspect your cat has ingested a toxin or foreign object, immediate emergency veterinary care is crucial. If you witnessed your cat consuming the toxic substance or have reasonable grounds to believe it caused their diarrhea and vomiting, swift medical intervention is necessary.

Trust the Experts at Katten TrimSalon

Understanding when your cat’s vomiting and diarrhea require urgent attention is crucial for their well-being. Remember, trusting your instincts is important when it comes to caring for your pets. If you have any concerns or feel that your pet is experiencing a crisis, do not hesitate to contact your regular vet or visit the emergency vet’s office for professional assistance.

If you’re concerned about your cat’s diarrhea and vomiting or have any other questions about your pet’s health, we at Katten TrimSalon are here to help. Call or bring your cat to any of our Katten TrimSalon locations nationwide. Our emergency veterinarians are available 24/7 to provide guidance and ensure your cat receives the care they need. Visit Katten TrimSalon for more information on our services and locations.