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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 22584
Experience:  I am a small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats and am happy to discuss any questions you have.
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my cat was fine yesterday till tea time when he went outside.

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my cat was fine yesterday till tea time when he went outside. on his return an hour later he was sick and howled loudly (though normally he is quite vocal). He went to lie down and has barely moved since. He purrs when stroked but does not exhibit normal cat behaviour. He is a 12 year old burmese.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Have you seen Elmo urinate since he has been home?

If you press on his belly, does he have any discomfort, tenseness or pain?

When he walks, does he do so normally (any wobbliness, hunching of his back)?

Are his gums pink or pale/white?

What did he bring up in the vomit?

Has he eaten or drank since?

Any wounds, soreness, or scuffed nails to be seen or felt?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks for your reply, I've had to go into work so cannot answer all of your questions but tried to give reasonable responses below.

Have you seen Elmo urinate since he has been home? No, he has not been.

If you press on his belly, does he have any discomfort, tenseness or pain? No, nothing that I noticed stroking him.

When he walks, does he do so normally (any wobbliness, hunching of his back)? No, seemed ok but then he only walked to his bed and has not been up since.

Are his gums pink or pale/white? did not check when at home so cannot say.

What did he bring up in the vomit? Grass and bit of food (wondering if he has eaten something went out)

Has he eaten or drank since? No

Any wounds, soreness, or scuffed nails to be seen or felt? No. nothing physical on the outside seems to have changed.


Thank you Joanne,

Now I have to say that I am a wee bit concerned about Elmo. While vomiting for any reason can put cats off eating and drinking and induce lethargy, the quick onset post being outside means we have to consider acute concerns like toxins (which I question what he may have eaten outside --both plant and food-wise), trauma, and since we have not seen him urinate, bladder blockage (which can often arise suddenly and can cause lethargy and vomiting itself). Ingestion of non-edible items causing gut obstruction would be another consideration but we'd hope at his age that this would be a lesser worry. Therefore, if you have someone at home just now and can have them check his gums, check the litter box for urine, and press on his abdomen, then that would be ideal for our peace of mind. Of course if he does have any belly discomfort or paling gums, then we'd want him seen urgently.

Otherwise, if these can be ruled out, then we have to consider our less sudden onset causes for nausea like infectious agents (ie viral or bacterial gastroenteritis), pancreatitis, or dietary indiscretion. For the case of those, we often can settle their stomachs with a bit of supportive care.

In regards ***** ***** care that can be tried for him, you can address the nausea that is likely putting him off his food by trialling him with antacid therapy. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the two I tend to recommend are Pepcid (More Info/Dose) or Zantac (More Info/Dose). These are usually given 20 minutes before food (to allow absorption) and of course you want to double check with your vet if your kitty has a pre-existing condition or is on any medications.

Once that is on board, we'd then want to tempt him with a small volume (a tablespoon worth to start) of a light/easily digestible diet. Examples of this would be boiled chicken, boiled white fish, scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk), meat baby food (do avoid the ones with garlic powder in the ingredients) or there are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity). Now if he can keep the small amount down for, then you can offer a bit more after 30 minutes. And as he keeps it down, he can have a bit more, and so on. By offering a light diet, we are providing an easily digestible protein source for the compromised gut. And offering small volumes will again less the strain on the gut and give us a better chance of getting food down that stays down.

Since his lack of drinking could trigger a secondary dehydration (and dehydration will make them feel worse and complicate their situation), we do need to keep an eye on his water intake and hydration status. To check his hydration status to make sure he is not becoming dehydrated there are a few things we can test. One is whether the eyes appear sunken, if the gums are tacky instead of wet/moist, and whether they have a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a wee video on this HERE. (They use a big dog but it makes it easier to see and the principle is just the same). If you check these and are already seeing signs of dehydration, then that would be a red flag that you'd want to have him seen by his vet before this becomes an additional issue for him (to avoid it getting to a stage where he has to be hospitalized for IV fluids).

Overall, Elmo's sudden signs post being outside does raise some serious concerns and it would be best to have someone check for those signs I noted as soon as possible. Otherwise as long as he is urinating, not showing any toxicity or trauma signs, then we'd want to initiate the above treatments for him. Of course, if we do not see improvement over the next 12-24 hours or appears dehydrated already, then it'd be prudent to follow up with his vet so they can make sure there is nothing sinister afoot. The vet will be able to have a feel of him and make sure there are no GI obstructions, lumps, bumps, or worries and will be able to cover him with antibiotics against bacterial gastroenteritis. Furthermore, they can administer anti-vomiting medications by injection to help settle Elmo's stomach and get him back on track as quick as possible.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


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