Author: Christin Sander, Health Writer
Cats have very sensitive digestive tracts and use vomiting as a means of self-protection. Most cats vomit to rid themselves of hair buildup due to grooming habits. This type of vomiting doesn't necessarily indicate digestive difficulties and is simply a matter of routine for cats.
Vomiting is usually harmless and doesn't necessarily mean there is a serious health problem, but it's important to keep an eye out for additional symptoms. Cats that vomit repeatedly in a 24 hour period or who experience diarrhea along with vomiting should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. It could indicate a problem with the pancreas, parasite infestation, or viral illnesses like Parvo that can be potentially life threatening.
Symptoms of Digestive Problems
Is your pet's digestive discomfort due to his diet? Cats are particularly sensitive to many common cat food ingredients, especially grains. If your cat displays any of the following symptoms, chances are something in his diet may be bothering him.
- Greasy stools
- Soft stools
- Tender abdomen
- Weight loss
Foods for Digestion
Stomach upset can occur when your cat has switched foods or is under stress. For occasional upset stomach or digestive trouble, you can give your cat the following foods.
Plain Yogurt: If you want to give your feline friend a treat they will love that will also benefit their digestive and overall health, opt for yogurt. Give your cat a couple of tablespoons of unsweetened plain yogurt. The probiotics are great for their digestive health and the yogurt also provides other nutrients as well.
Brewer's Yeast: Cats enjoy the taste of brewer's yeast and it can be sprinkled directly on their food to help ease digestive woes. Brewer's yeast is a rich source of B vitamins, which aid in the metabolism of fat, protein and carbohydrates. They also benefit your kitty's coat, eyes and liver function.
Wild Peppermint: This is a green plant that is safe and natural for cats to chew on. Not all cats enjoy the smell of mint, but others do since it is related to the catnip herb. Eating this herb can help soothe an upset stomach. It is very easy to grow and doesn't encourage the same behavior changes as catnip.
Broccoli: Steamed and in very small amounts, this plant can help aid digestive woes and prevent cats from chewing on potentially toxic house plants. When cats crave vegetables, it is typically to cleanse the digestive tract.
Spinach: Spinach in small amounts can be a good digestive tract cleanser for cats, but it shouldn't be given to any cat with a history of urinary tract or kidney problems. The calcium oxalate found in spinach can worsen those conditions.
Melon: A tiny bit of melon fed to your cat every once in awhile is a nice, sweet treat that can help cleanse and soothe the digestive tract naturally. Watermelon and cantaloupe are both good choices. If your cat is starting to chew on grass or other greenery that could be potentially toxic, give them a small amount of melon. If they don't like the sweet taste, opt for the steamed broccoli instead.
If your cat struggles with excessive hair balls or vomits regularly after eating, he may need a different type of food. A purely protein based food that doesn't contain grains is the best way to match their natural diet. Grain in cat food is not used by cats who can't digest or use grain enzymes.
In addition to changing foods, there are natural remedies that can also help aid digestion. Herbal remedies like licorice, marshmallow and slippery elm are safe and effective for soothing the digestive tract.