Feline Psychogenic Vomiting and Regurgitation

Feline Psychogenic Vomiting

Humans will understand this condition. You are stressed and very frightened. You feel physically sick. That is were it nearly always ends.

Although not having any clear outward signs of being stressed, a small percentage of cats who lack confidence live under continual stress and never become habituated to circumstances that other cats take in their stride.

Living under a background of stress, it takes less to push this sort of cat over the edge where he feels sick and actually vomits. It may be once or repeated retching and vomiting.

It is probably tricky to diagnose psychogenic vomiting because cats are pretty good at vomiting and often vomit up hairballs or food that disagrees with them and it does not signify a medical problem. The repetitive nature of psychogenic vomiting is probably the clue.

Once feline psychogenic vomiting has been diagnosed the treatment entails building up the cat’s confidence. This includes controlled exposure to the challenges that cause the vomiting. The cause of a lack of confidence is probably due a lack of adequate socialisation when a young kitten. Proper socialisation prepares a cat for domestication and the human family environment which can be quite eventful. It is much harder and sometimes impossible to socialise an adult cat.

One veterinarian recommends providing the timid cat with a den (a place to hide) which is placed in the most active area of the house. The cat can then experience what is going on and which makes him nervous while in a safe place. This will allow him to become habituated to the activities. It also prevents the cat from running away to avoid the challenges. It is important that he faces up to the challenges but in a controlled way that is acceptable to him. This allows him to mentally process the things that make him nervous thereby becoming habituated to the stimuli.

Where the stress and fear is due to another cat or cats in the house it may necessary to either rehome the cat or use low dosage sedatives. Long term use of conventional sedatives can be addictive. Some vets will probably prefer to use homeopathic or flower remedies. I suspect, however, that homeopathic vets are pretty rare.

There may be an advantage to drug use to treat this sort of health condition because it may well produce some quick, initial progress that can be built upon. This would be welcome by the cat’s caretaker if the cat was being sick when friends came around for dinner.

Photographer: Jon Ross

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Feline Psychogenic Vomiting and Regurgitation — 5 Comments

  1. Luckily mine only vomit when they eat grass and bugs. My ex just picked up a black kitten in a garbage dump who is cross eyed – its highly possible this kitten will be coming to live with me but this was only yesterday so we will see.

    She is using the tactic of giving her a box with blankets and food etc – all it needs to be able to watch whats going on and get used to it. The other cats are in another part of the flat for now.

    Hopefully the kitten will calm down a bit. It’s used to living outside so it could be difficult. It just got very cold out so its nice and warm for a change and hopefully appreciates that.

  2. Cats are vey complex creatures and stress can actually make them prone to vomiting.
    I don’t think cats should be given sedatives if it can be avoided, they can’t tell us how the side effects are making them feel. We have to sort out the reason they are stressed and put that right.
    That poor kitten Marc, it’s awful how some people dump them, I hope he or she goes on Ok, poor little soul.

  3. THE CAT I CALL MY RUNAWAY SIBERIAN CAT HAS BEEN VOMITING MORE THAN HE USUALLY DOES SO I TOOK HIM TO THE VET SHE GAVE HIM A WORMING PILL AND THINKS HE MAY HAVE A TRAPPED FURBALL BUT COULDN’T FEEL IT SO GAVE HIM AN INJECTION TO PASS IT THROUGH HIS SYSTEM IF IT I S THAT AND SOME STUFF TO PUT ON HIS FOOD TO SETTLE HIS TUMMY.IT DOES SOUND LIKE ITS CAUSED BY THE STRESS I THINK HE HAD IN HIS YOUNG LIFE AS HE IS STILL QUITE NERVOUS BEING INDOORS AND OF GABBY WHO GOES FOR HIM NOT AS MUCH AS SHE DID AND NOISES. I’LL NEVER TAME HIM AS HE STILL GOES OUT AT NIGHT HUNTING BUT HE COMES TO ME NOW FOR A STROKE AROUND HIS NECK.I’M GIVING HIM BOILED CHICKEN BREAST AND WHITE FISH BY THE VETS RECOMENDATIONS SO THAT MAY HELP.

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