My indoor cat is vomiting and has dark stools.

by Karlie
(Uk)

I have 2 indoor cats (16 months old) they were initially fed kitten food until 1year with no problems, we then moved them onto a dried complete cat food which they were fine on until a few months ago when one of them started to vomit after his feeds. We then wormed them and changed them onto wet sachet food. We took him to the vets who said he had a temperature so gave him a course of antibiotics and anti inflammatory injection. After a week vets said his temp was due to stress of coming to the vets, and as his vomiting had reduced. His brother has now started vomiting once per day and has very dark brown/black stools. He appears well in himself, not drinking any more than normal, but appears to have lost weight, and are starting to become concerned. Please help!

RESPONSE:

Karlie,

It sounds like you are taking the correct steps to solve your cat’s problems. You’ve been to the vet and gotten your cat antibiotics and an anti-inflammatory injection, dewormed them, and are still watching closely.

My first impulse was to consider what they were eating because the problems started just a few months after a food change. Dietary intolerance, food allergies, gastrointestinal upsets, etc. can cause vomiting and dark colored stools.

Another possibility is cat inflammatory bowel disease Oftentimes a mild case of IBD is managed with just changing their diet.

Vets typically use a cat’s stool to help diagnose problems because the body removes the toxins, minerals and nutrients out of the body in their stools. Gastrointestinal illnesses usually show with soft or runny diarrhea and hard stools can indicate dehydration or mega-colon. Dark brown or black stools may be a sign of internal bleeding or liver disease while red blood in the stool points toward lower intestinal disease.

Melena develops when bleeding occurs into the stomach or small intestines. The bleeding has to be high in the intestinal tract so the blood gets digested and becomes discoloured. Melena is the presence of digested blood and that makes the stools appear black and tarry. This can be caused by gastrointestinal ulcerations that are actually inflammatory lesions that can be deep in a cat’s stomach.

However, with all the possibilities, I still come back to what they are eating. One cat might have an ulceration but two cats developing the same problems seems unlikely unless they do both have a food intolerance to the same ingredient which is more in the realm of possibilities. Remember that your cats’ stomachs play the initial function in the digestion process, mainly by means of the secretion of gastric acid and pepsin which assist the digestive enzymes. If this acid secretion is increased to the point of overwhelming your cats’ systems in order to digest a food, ulcers can be created.

Read the label of your cat food. Make sure it’s not from China…they have a history of putting inferior items in some products to produce them cheaper and there have been a number of recalls.

You may not have the same products available in the UK that we have here in the USA but try to find an equivalent if you can. Your cats may benefit from a low residue food like Hills I/D or Purina EN veterinary diet or a high fiber food like Hills W/D or Purina’s OM veterinary diet. You might have to try each of them to see what works for your cats. You can also ask your vet to recommend an alternative.

Your cats may also need an antibiotic like Metronidazole to help get their gut bacterial flora back to normal.

I wish you and your kitties’ good luck in resolving the problems.

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