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Old 11-19-2011, 02:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Vomit smells like poo!

Hi everyone,

We've had our little Burmese kitten, Max for 2 weeks now and he's just over 4 months old.

He has a hair ball the other day but also this morning he vomited next to my girlfriend's side of the bed. It smelled really bad, almost like feces but she heard him heaving and thought it was another hairball. He seemed to try to alert her about it too, funnily enough (he's a smart kitteh).

So, now I am wondering if my cat either got into some hair (I noticed he was trying to chew the carpet on his new cat condo) or maybe he doesn't like the flavor of kitten Science Diet food I've been feeding him (chicken and liver flavor) or maybe I should switch to another brand of we food?

Is it normal for cat vomit to smell so bad? He's really good with the litter box and we keep it clean so I don't think he actually went poo next to the bed, and it wasn't that much but it smelled pretty bad. I read that 'vomit that smells like feces' might be the result of some kind of intestinal blockage or the result of some trauma, but he's full of energy, seems to be able to use the litter box just fine (urine and feces). Hopefully he didn't eat feces or anything.

Anyway, got a vet appointment this Tuesday and thought I would check on this in the meantime. Basically, just seeing if vomit that smells like 'poo' is normal (and I am assuming it was vomit due to the amount and my girlfriend hearing him retch.

Any help is appreciated. I've also read the 17-page food thread and am going to get Max on a mostly-canned diet if I can (he sure does love that Iam's dry tho).
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Old 11-19-2011, 02:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
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When my tuffy had bad trouble with a hair ball - he threw up and it smelled like poo -- got to be careful there is not blockage -- good luck!
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Old 11-19-2011, 02:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Ah, so I'm not the only one. :)

Thanks, gonna ask the vet about it on Tues.

If anyone else can verify that they've experienced this or what it means it'll make me feel better. He seems to be evacuating bowels without issue, but I've noticed the hairball/vomit the last two days. He's a great groomer...so maybe that's where the hairballs are coming from?
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Old 11-19-2011, 03:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Cat feces has a really strong and pungent odor. A hairball shouldn't be smelling like that. Probably closer to "cat breath" or aged wet food, is the closest I know how to describe it. What did the vomit consist of? Was it a formed mat of a hairball, partially digested food, just liquid by itself, or a combination of different things? This makes a difference for determining what really might be going on.

TBH, I am not a fan of Science Diet. I say this because you mentioned making a consideration to make a change to his food. Holding back from a big rant; as soon as my vet made the recommendation for my cats to eat Science Diet, I decided I wouldn't be going there ever again unless it is an absolute emergency.

Although I do not use Blue Buffalo as my cat food brand anymore, (I use Halo), I found that of the vendors who market more species-appropriate diets, the information on their website was the most thorough and simple with their explanation Blue Buffalo Nutrition

I hope Max continues to do well for you. Please update us on how he is doing and how the vet appointment goes!

Last edited by marie73; 11-19-2011 at 06:34 PM. Reason: removed links
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Old 11-20-2011, 08:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by YayHappens View Post
Cat feces has a really strong and pungent odor. A hairball shouldn't be smelling like that. Probably closer to "cat breath" or aged wet food, is the closest I know how to describe it. What did the vomit consist of? Was it a formed mat of a hairball, partially digested food, just liquid by itself, or a combination of different things? This makes a difference for determining what really might be going on.

TBH, I am not a fan of Science Diet. I say this because you mentioned making a consideration to make a change to his food. Holding back from a big rant; as soon as my vet made the recommendation for my cats to eat Science Diet, I decided I wouldn't be going there ever again unless it is an absolute emergency.

Although I do not use Blue Buffalo as my cat food brand anymore, (I use Halo), I found that of the vendors who market more species-appropriate diets, the information on their website was the most thorough and simple with their explanation Blue Buffalo Nutrition

I hope Max continues to do well for you. Please update us on how he is doing and how the vet appointment goes!
Hi there Yay!

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. Yeah, I am still checking out best practices for feeding Max. I know that wet food>dry food to keep the cat hydrated and avoid UTI issues later, but Max seems to love dry Iams food over Science Diet wet anyway. So, I am definitely in the market for new wet food.

My only requirement is that the wet food not have fillers and that it's appropriate for a kitten, with the protein requirement necessary. I read that Weruva is good food...almost like real shredded meats and might try that. Max seems not to like the pate' stuff too much and he seems to lick it rather than eating it (but he loves, loves, loves that Iam's dry). Thankfully, he does drink a good bit, and he loves his little water fountain over water in the bowl, so hopefully that is keeping him hydrated too.

What do you like about Blue Buffalo, and are there other wet varieties you might recommend?

The actual hairball we saw from Max one day was really just a hairball, but yeah this business looked and smelled like poo. Maybe he had a diarrhea accident but I'll ask some good questions Tuesday when I am at the vet.

I also read the 17-page food thread, so I will be taking my vet's food advice with a grain of salt.

Last edited by MaxKitteh; 11-20-2011 at 08:44 AM.
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Old 11-20-2011, 08:59 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Has he had any diarrhea? He may have had a messy butt, cleaned it and then vomited...

It concerns me that a 4 month old is vomiting this much and bringing up hairballs. My experience with kittens is that they hardly shed...in fact none of mine brought up a hairball until they were close to a year old. Now I realize that every cat is different...but this just doesn't seem right.

Science Diet is not a good food. Neither is Iams. Get him switched to something good while he is young, otherwise doing it later will be extremely difficult. You say that your requirement is that there be no fillers...the chicken by products, corn meal, corn grits and sorghum in Iams are all fillers. Even though it has chicken as the first ingredient...the chicken is a wet ingredient, the rest are dry. When you extract the water out of the chicken, the weight will drop significantly and the majority of the protein in the food comes from the by-products and grains...all of which are not good sources of protein for a cat.

You may find that getting him on a good diet...primarily wet supplemented by a small amount of high quality dry...will resolve the shedding and vomiting issues.
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Old 11-20-2011, 09:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by doodlebug View Post
Has he had any diarrhea? He may have had a messy butt, cleaned it and then vomited...

It concerns me that a 4 month old is vomiting this much and bringing up hairballs. My experience with kittens is that they hardly shed...in fact none of mine brought up a hairball until they were close to a year old. Now I realize that every cat is different...but this just doesn't seem right.

Science Diet is not a good food. Neither is Iams. Get him switched to something good while he is young, otherwise doing it later will be extremely difficult. You say that your requirement is that there be no fillers...the chicken by products, corn meal, corn grits and sorghum in Iams are all fillers. Even though it has chicken as the first ingredient...the chicken is a wet ingredient, the rest are dry. When you extract the water out of the chicken, the weight will drop significantly and the majority of the protein in the food comes from the by-products and grains...all of which are not good sources of protein for a cat.

You may find that getting him on a good diet...primarily wet supplemented by a small amount of high quality dry...will resolve the shedding and vomiting issues.
Hi Doodle,

I'm still trying to pin down what a good diet is. Feel free to make any recommendations, though I am also Googling and searching this forum. The Iam's dry and Science Diet wet were recommended by my breeder, though Max is not too fond of Science Diet wet.

Hopefully it's something that can be fixed by diet!
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Old 11-20-2011, 09:53 AM   #8 (permalink)
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A good diet is one without corn, wheat, soy, by-products, corn or wheat gluten. All animal proteins will be named e.g. chicken, duck, salmon not generic like meat, fish or animal liver. No added sugar or salt. Avoid menadione (which is also know by several other names) and China made or sourced products.

Ideally a 100% wet food diet, but if that's not possible, then as much wet as you're able to feed, minimal dry (I recommend no more than 1/8 cup per day).

The best brands can be found on Petfooddirect.com under the "grain free" category.

Grain Free Cat Food And Treats Cat | PetFoodDirect.com
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Old 11-20-2011, 01:34 PM   #9 (permalink)
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My breeder used Iams and Royal Canin. I was happy to get them off of that stuff ASAP. The companies do a really good job with even marketing to specific breeds but the foods are just not species-appropriate.

Cat vomiting is not normal. There is always an underlying problem with it if it continues. Either something is missing from his diet or something in his diet now is not agreeing with him. Hairball remedies for a vomiting cat are only a band-aid and do not fix the root cause of the problem.

For certain already-mentioned brands, they use a fat spray on the dry food to attract cats to eat it and enhance the flavor. The reason they go so crazy for dry food is they need the type of fat in the fat spray and with those brands it is the only way they get it and it can never be enough nutrient to satisfy them over time unless they overeat.

The foods listed at the link doodle provided are among some of the best choices. There are also other really excellent brands that aren't sold there. I personally have a preference to go with an AAFCO ideal for all life stages food so I don't have to deal with switching foods later down the road when my oldest cat reaches senior age.

In addition to grain free, the best of the foods are "human-grade". The meats are not 4-D meats (the animals are not in a condition of disabled, diseased dying or dead before they are slaughtered) and the company should a stellar history of having no recalls because they use reputable sources to produce all of the ingredients that formulate and package the food. These manufacturers will often use "holistic" to describe their nutritional philosophy.

If you go to the websites of the manufacturers you will be able to compare the ingredients and the analysis of their content. For wet food, real meat (not rendered or made of "meal") protein% should be very high. Moisture should be above 70%. Most of the really good wet brands I see these days have it at about 82-85%. Fiber% is an adequate number between 1% and 2%.

I think it so, so wonderful that Max you to be there for him!
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Old 11-22-2011, 06:55 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Hi there!

Just an update on little Max. He has his first vet appt. today and he's disease-free. Woot. He's had some of his vaccines except ones he may not need because he's an indoor cat (Feline Leukemia) though I may give him this vaccine if I think he'll be around other cats.

Also on diet, I got Max now on a raw diet for the most part. He loves it! His predatory side really came out eating turkey hearts, as he loves to chew on and eat the hearts. Funnily enough, he neve paws at them a bit. Hopefully this new diet will prevent some of the vomiting, or at least keep it to a minimum. I have a feeling he wasn't digesting the kibble very well (he's off of that now) and his gas was really bad too.

Thanks for the great advice and encouragement.
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