Cat parents are all too familiar with the sight and sound of a cat that is about to throw up. The drooling, gagging and the forceful movements of the abdominal muscles that bring up material from the stomach out through the mouth. Vomiting is a reflex action of the body and occasional throwing up is common even in healthy cats but this is worrisome for cat owners.
Why is My Cat Throwing Up Water?
Vomiting can be due to a number of different causes. When a cat owner says “My cat threw up water” it could be that the cat either vomited water that he drank or vomited stomach juice which is colorless and watery in appearance. When there is something in the stomach that can cause irritation and inflammation, the cat will throw up gastric juice, which to the owner will look like water. Common stomach irritants are hairballs, foul food, human medicines, poisonous substances, and foreign objects like strings and plastics. Diseases of the stomach like cancer or infections, a build-up of toxins in the blood due to Chronic Renal Failure can also cause the stomach to be irritated resulting to the cat to vomiting gastric juice from time to time.
Enlargement of the stomach can cause a cat to vomit water it has consumed. When a cat drinks too much water too fast, the stomach becomes filled up with water, will be stretched and enlarged causing the cat to throw up water. Conditions that can cause increased thirst and consequently increased water consumption include kidney disease, hyperthyroidism and diabetes mellitus. Tumors and foreign bodies that block the passage of food and water in the stomach can likewise make the stomach distended causing the cat to vomit any water it swallows. Other causes of a cat throwing up water include diseases of the pancreas, motion sickness, excitement and fear to name a few.
Is Throwing Up Water A Cause For Alarm?
If the vomiting, may it be of gastric juice or water, occurs only occasionally and for a short period only it may be caused by something benign. This is not a cause for alarm for as long as the cat is showing normal behavior, has good appetite and energetic, and is showing no other abnormalities. Keep an eye on the cat for that hairball to come out or look out for any foreign body in the litterbox
Vomiting is alarming if it is any of the following: frequent, continues for more than 24 hours, occurs every time a cat drinks water, occurs on and off for more than once a week, associated with weakness, loss of appetite, energy and weight, and there is observable abdominal pain. Chronic vomiting can lead to life threatening dehydration, electrolyte and acid-base imbalance and may be an indication of serious medical conditions like diabetes and chronic renal failure.
What Can I Do?
Home care for a cat that is throwing up water begins with giving the stomach a break by fasting for 12 to 24 hours. Offer ice cubes for the cat to lick so that he will not get dehydrated but at the same time not swallow too much water to stretch the stomach and trigger vomiting. If the cat is not vomiting after the fast period, offer a bland diet like rice with boiled skinless chicken in small amounts every 4 hours for 24-48 hours. You can also start to give small amounts of water at a time to see if the cat can hold it down.
If the cat keeps throwing up during or after the fast, take your cat to the veterinarian’s office where he can be given medicine to control the vomiting and fluids to correct dehydration. Provide the veterinarian as much accurate information as you can about the problem and other symptoms you might have noticed. The veterinarian shall perform a physical examination and order tests to determine the cause of the throwing up of so medicine for the specific problem can be given.