Cat Licking and Vomiting

by Michele Hendren
(Ramsey, MN)

Reader Question: What Is Causing My Cat To Keep Licking Itself?

I have a 2 year old cat male. He started licking all over his legs, arms, shoulder and licks them raw. I took him to the vet, and they tried oral antibiotic (pill form), ointment (antibiotic) and then steroids. This only seems to make things worse. Well then 1-2 months later he starts to vomit, really bad and was getting to be skin and bones. They did blood work, x rays and even exploratory surgery and $550 dollars later found nothing. The DR did say he noticed a red inflamed area on the stomach but had never seen that before. He sent the cat home with oral antibiotics and he stopped vomiting for 2 weeks. Well now he is licking his sores raw again and cannot keep any food down.

Can this be related; because honesty my vet does not have a clue and I cannot just keep throwing money out the window. My poor cat!

Veterinarian Answers Reader Question and Recommends Product To Help Cat Vomiting and Retain It From Licking Itself


I agree… your poor cat (and you)! As you have unfortunately found out, getting to the bottom of dermatologic and GI problems in cats is not always a straightforward endeavor. Did your veterinarian take any biopsy samples from your cat’s stomach, intestines, and skin and send them to a pathologist for evaluation? This is often necessary to reach a diagnosis in cases like these.

It sounds like it is time for a second opinion. I recommend you ask to be referred to a specialist who is board certified in internal medicine who either practices at a nearby veterinary school or specialty practice. If your current veterinarian hesitates to provide you with a referral, you can set up the appointment yourself. Bring copies of all of your cat’s records with you to avoid (as much as possible) duplication and avoidable expenses.
Without more information, I can’t really say much about your cat’s particular situation, but one potential cause that does come to mind is a food allergy. The combination of skin and GI symptoms in a young cat is pretty typical. I’ve had the best luck diagnosing food allergies/intolerances using a dietary trial during which the cats ingest ABSOLUTELY NOTHING but a hydrolyzed diet like Purina HA and water for eight to twelve weeks. If the symptoms resolve or improve dramatically, you then know that something in the diet was at least partially responsible for the cat’s condition.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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