Q: We have a 3-year-old cat who seems to vomit quite often. She acts fine most of the time and is eating and drinking normally. The vomiting occurs at least once per week. Do we need to be concerned about or is this normal for most cats?

A: Since cats are known to be vomiters, it’s good to separate vomiting that may be a problem versus vomiting that is somewhat normal for many cats.

For many cats, normal vomiting typically involves hairballs. If you are noticing at least a chunk of hair coming up each time she vomits, then that is most likely her problem. A couple of remedies include switching her diet to a hairball control diet or adding in a supplement for hairballs that will allow more of the hair to pass through the stomach and into the intestines, so that it can come out with the stool.

If she doesn’t seem to have any hair associated with the vomiting, you’ll need to dig a little deeper to find the root cause. It doesn’t sound like she has any serious health issues, but a blood chemistry panel can help to check out organ dysfunction that can lead to vomiting, so that would be a simple first step.

The next step would be to make sure she isn’t getting into anything in the house, as some cats can be like miniature vacuum cleaners for things they find on the floor. Essentially, you want to cat-proof your home as much as possible, with the understanding that if you have kids, it isn’t going to happen.

Finally, you may need to consider a sensitive stomach or hypoallergenic-type diet, as some cats simply have dietary sensitivities to many common ingredients. If you do this you should gradually introduce the new diet over a period of seven to 10 days. Once you have completely switched over, you should be able to tell within a few weeks whether the new food is actually helping with the frequency of vomiting. Just be aware that even if this does help, many cats will still vomit at least once a month, as that is just the way they are.

Got a pet-related question? Send it to Dr. Anderson, a veterinarian at Hawthorne Park Animal Care Center in Bloomington, via email at features@pantagraph.com.

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