This past monday (7/2) in the evening I noticed a fairly large pile of vomit with food and a big hairball in it with a small second vomit of just fluid next to that pile. My cat (4 yo M) gets hairballs from time-to-time so I thought nothing of it. throughout the night he probably threw up 7 more times. Some of the throw-ups were just clear fluid, another was clear fluid with food, a few others had some yellow tinge, and there was another with a hairball. Obviously this amount of vomiting in a cat isn't normal, so I took him to the vet the following day (Tuesday). The vet thought maybe he had a blockage or got access to some lillies that were in the house. They did X-rays and found nothing concrete (they may have found a slight blockage in his stomach but they weren't sure), they ran in house lab work that came back normal except for a barely elevated globulin, and they sent off blood work that wouldn't be back until Thursday. This blood work came back normal as well.
The vet wanted to perform exploratory abdominal surgery to see if there was a blockage. I wouldn't have a problem paying for the surgery (even though it is pricey) if I knew concretely that there was a blockage, but I wasn't willing to pay $2700 even if they didn't find anything. I opted for "supportive care" of subcutaneous fluids and an anti-nausea medication and took him home to watch him.
He was fine Tuesday night and all day Wednesday. On Thursday he threw up once in the morning a small amount of yellow fluid and was fine the rest of the day. Friday he threw up twice, one of which had a hairball and yellow, thick fluid, and the other was a 1/4 tsp amount of clear fluid a while later. He hasn't thrown up once today.
He has some cat acne, but on Thursday I noticed it was worse than usual and he is starting to get a rash right in front of his ears where the hair is sparse. His eye is red and there is a small amount of discharge that accumulates throughout the day.
His appetite has been completely normal, although I started feeding hip chicken and rice yesterday just to help soothe his stomach. His behavior has also been normal as far as I can tell. Sleeps, eats, plays, snuggles.
I haven't been able to monitor stool/urine because we have a second cat and I didn't separate them until this morning so I could see what his stools look like.
I will likely take him back to the vet, but I'm just trying to get more information on what could possibly be causing all of this. I'm hesitant to take him back to the same vet because they were so gung-ho on immediately doing surgery that I feel like that will be there first option if I take him back. They also asked zero questions about the content and consistency and color of his throw-ups, which I felt like may have been valuable information. But this vet also has all the blood work and X-ray information which I would not want to pay for again if I took him to a second vet.
Has anyone else experienced an issue like this with your cat? Should I still be worried about a blockage? Should I take him to another vet?
(PS when this is all over I am so buying pet insurance).