Vomiting is a common but potentially serious symptom in kittens which left untreated can lead to dehydration.
- Dietary indiscretion
- Sudden change in diet
- Heat stroke
- Eating too fast
- Sudden changes in diet
- Fading kitten syndrome
Vomiting in kittens is a common occurrence. They can vomit for almost all the same reasons adult cats but can be more prone to certain conditions. Vomiting (and diarrhea) in kittens should be taken seriously, due to their size, they are more vulnerable to dehydration, which can quickly become fatal in the young cat.
Vomiting may be acute (sudden onset) or intermittent (coming and going). It may contain blood (hematemesis), which is indicative of bleeding somewhere inside the body, have the appearance of coffee grounds, contain long, white worms (roundworms), mucus, foreign objects, or be mostly pre-digested food (this is not vomiting, but regurgitated food).
The most common causes of vomiting in kittens are worms, dietary indiscretion, and infection, but it could be something as simple as eating too fast.
Eating too fast:
Some kittens (particularly older ones) can guzzle too much food too quickly which can lead to discomfort, causing them to regurgitate the food back up.
Parasitic worms, particularly roundworms. They are passed on from the mother to her kittens via the milk. Left untreated, large numbers of worms can build up in the stomach, which can result in vomiting. You may notice roundworms in the vomit.
Kittens are curious, and it is not uncommon for them to eat things they shouldn’t, including foods, strings, plants, and medications. Indiscriminate eating can either result in poisoning or intestinal blockage, both of which can cause vomiting. This is why it’s so important to ensure your kitten foster room is free and clear of any hazards.
Either unintentional (owner giving medications such as aspirin), dietary indiscretion (antifreeze, snail bait, lily or other poisonous plants, plus many more possible poisons) or ingested after licking a poison off the coat (lead poisoning, plus much more) or deliberate (laced food for example).
Sudden change in diet:
Cats can be quite sensitive to changes in diet, particularly kittens or older cats. We always recommend a slow, gradual switch from one type/brand of food to another. We do realize that this is sometimes not feasible, as kittens can be picky and it is important that they eat.
Viral (panleukopenia, which is seen most often in kittens, rotavirus), bacterial (salmonella) and protozoal (giardia, coccidiosis) infections can all result in vomiting in kittens. Transmission occurs via infected cats, the environment, or from contaminated food and water.
Fading kitten syndrome:
This condition occurs in kittens from birth to five weeks of age. There are several causes including infection, congenital defects, environmental temperature (too hot/too cold), maternal neglect, and blood type incompatibility. Other symptoms may include crying excessively, sleeping away from mother and siblings, weight loss, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Please call C.A.R.E. right away if one or more of your kittens is vomiting.
Dehydration is deadly in kittens, causing the organs to shut down. You can tell if a kitten is dehydrated by doing a simple “tent test.” Pinch the skin on the scruff of the neck. If the skin immediately falls back into place, the kitten is hydrated. If the skin forms a “tent” and takes a moment to go back down, the kitten is dehydrated.
Please call C.A.R.E. right away if you suspect your kitten is dehydrated.