Bile is a yellowish-green fluid that is made by the liver, stored in the gallbladder, and helps digest food. Even though a rare condition, cat vomiting bile generally occurs due to motility issues marked by abnormal entry of bile into the stomach thereby causing irritation, nausea, and vomiting. In other words, any kind of dysfunction of the gastrointestinal tract may prevent the normal movement of food and other items in the tract leading to anomalies in the digestive system.
Cat vomiting bile typically occurs late at night or in early morning before the pet has eaten. This is especially for cats that are fed only once per day. Older cats are less susceptible as compared to younger ones. Both genders of cats are equally vulnerable.
Symptoms accompanying cat vomiting bile
Some of the common signs and symptoms that may accompany cat vomiting bile are listed below:
- Discomfort in the abdominal area
- Persistent and episodic instances of vomiting bile
- Typically occurs during late night or early morning before meals
- Loss of weight
- Nil or reduced appetite
Causes of cat vomiting bile
The exact cause of cat vomiting bile is not known. However, underlying illnesses that cause intestinal inflammation or gastritis may alter the motility of the gastrointestinal tract, leading to vomiting with bile.
Some of the factors which may be responsible for cat vomiting bole are listed below:
- Eating non-digestible substances like house plants, hair, fur, and grass, etc. will cause the system to reject such items and expel from the body via vomit along with bile.
- Eating rapidly, overeating, excessive exercising or movements after a meal, or other such abnormal eating habits can also cause vomit with bile.
- Another cause for vomiting food with bile is underlying food intolerance or food allergies.
- Cat vomiting bile can occur due to a parasitic infection like heartworm, etc.
- An empty stomach can also cause a cat to vomit bile. The stomach lining or wall can get irritation by increased acids in the stomach leading to vomiting. Pets with scheduled meal times are more susceptible to this causative factor. Pet owners may feed their cats 2 to 3 times a day or just fill up their bowl and let them eat through the day.
- For cats that finish the meals in just one sitting instead of eating through the day and if you do not have time to feed the cat at scheduled times, then opt for timed feeding dishes or programmable pet feeders that automatically put dry or canned food on the bowl at specific times during the day.
- It may also be noted that digestion in cats occurs in about 8 hours. So if the pet vomits just after a meal, the vomit will contain mucus and undigested food. The presence of bile in vomit is generally an indication of an empty stomach.
- Varied diseases like kidney ailments, thyroid problems, liver conditions, cancer, and irritable bowel disease, etc. may causing vomiting containing bile as a symptom.
It may be noted that cat vomiting bile is not a dangerous condition. However, you should take your pet to a vet if the vomiting is repeated or if it cannot keep down any water.
Treatment of cat vomiting bile
Cat vomiting bile is not serious in most cases and often does not require medical treatment. Pet owners need to seek medical attention if vomiting bile is chronic and/or is accompanied by symptoms like stomach bloating, diarrhea, lethargy, breathing problems, fever, and/or weight loss.
Some medical treatments and home remedies for cat vomiting bile include the following:
- Medications to lower the secretion of acids by the stomach may be prescribed by vets to avoid stomach lining damage by excessive levels of stomach acids or bile acids.
- Vets may also prescribe medicines to improve gastric motility so that any delays in stomach emptying can be prevented. The drugs will also enhance gut and stomach motility, thereby preventing reflux.
The duration of such drug treatment is dependent on individual cat response. Some cats respond quickly while others may take longer to react to such treatment.
- Dietary changes and management marked by frequent small meals, particularly during the night may also be recommended for treatment of chronic cases of cat vomiting bile.
- The normal stomach motility will enhance when the stomach is prevented from being empty for long durations.
- Liquefied or canned diets may be suggested as solid foods tend to stay for longer durations in the stomach, which may not be good for cats that vomit bile.
- Low fat and fiber rich diets can also help decrease any gastric retention of consumed food and aid stomach emptying.
- Nausea, upset stomach and other minor symptoms can be alleviated with strong peppermint tea. It can be given to the cat via an eye dropper after the tea has cooled down. Feeding pureed meat can also help overcome nausea.