Many Reasons for Cat’s Upset Belly

Q: After my partner and I left for the weekend, we returned home to find that our 11 year old cat had vomited in several places in the ground floor apartment. We tried to feed our cat, who loves to eat, but he had no appetite. He is a large 16 pound cat and is prone to hairballs about once a month. It was different in that he was also lethargic, but luckily we didn’t see any signs of diarrhea in his litter. In total, this inappetence and lethargy lasted two days, and we were about to have him seen by our vet, but things changed. We bought some new wet food and some treats, and he ate them last night and today, keeping it all down. Do we still have to show it? It seems his energy is also going up, so we are less worried today. He’s not used to eating things around the house, so what could have made him puke the way he did? I guess if he starts getting sick again, we should get him checked out. What do you think?

A: I’m glad your cat seems to be on the rebound from what caused him several bouts of vomiting, but just because he had a good day or two doesn’t automatically mean he’s off the hook. Let’s hope it is! Several possibilities come to mind as to the cause of the random vomiting, including a hairball problem. Are there plants in the house that he could have chewed on or are there insects in the apartment like ants or spiders? I ask since you wrote that you live on the ground floor and cats often exhibit short term bouts of vomiting when ingesting plants or insects.

Other possibilities include that the food you left was stale and didn’t sit well with him, or that he was stressed out that you weren’t there. If there is a recurrence I would take it to your vet as there are many other possible causes besides the ones I have covered. I would also suggest that you consider taking some of the weight off him as at his age he may be prone to issues such as diabetes, heart disease etc. I hope he is well.

Dr. John de Jong owns and operates the Boston Mobile Veterinary Clinic. He can be reached at 781-899-9994.