Recently, VCA SFVS intern Dr. Kimby Lo answered a San Francisco Chronicle reader’s question about what can cause kitties to vomit.
The question: My 10-year-old tuxedo cat seldom throws up, but when she does, it’s in the morning so I wake up hearing those awful sounds. It’s not hair balls, as I brush her nearly every day. I can’t understand why food would stay in her stomach all night and then suddenly come up in the morning.
Dr. Lo’s answer: Vomiting can occur in cats for a variety of reasons. These include infectious (viral, bacterial), inflammatory (GI tract, pancreas, liver, gallbladder), foreign bodies, hair balls, food allergies or intolerance, metabolic reasons (hyperthyroidism, kidney disease), and cancer. The list goes on and on.
Bilious vomiting syndrome is also a possibility, although it is rare in cats. When it does occur, it is usually in older cats.
This syndrome is due to motility issues that result in bile reflux in the stomach. The reaction is usually early in the morning or late at night, just before a meal, and happens especially in cats fed only once daily.
It’s not uncommon for food to stay in your cat’s stomach all night, as the gastrointestinal transit time can vary greatly, and it can take up to 20 to 50 hours for food to completely pass through.
If your cat has not already been evaluated by a veterinarian, I would recommend taking her in for a checkup to be sure nothing worrisome is going on and to alleviate any concerns you may have.
Source: Many things make cats vomit; get checkup (SFGate.com)