Vomiting in Cats: When to Worry – Cat Mama

Posted: September 3, 2018 by Anita

Photo by Elias Barbouch on Unsplash

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The cat’s throwing up, and you’re not sure why?  That is a concern that cat parents face every day.  And who hasn’t accidentally stepped in cat vomit and panicked?

No cat owner likes seeing their cat sick.  Since your cat can’t tell you what’s wrong, it’s up to you to figure out the why and how.  In this article, I discuss:

  • reasons cats throw up
  • vomiting in cats; when to worry
  • best cat food for cats that throw up

Reasons why cats throw up

As a  first-time cat owner, you might ask, “Is it normal for cats to throw up?  Well, let’s talk about it …

What causes cats to vomit?  Most of the time when a cat vomits there’s nothing to worry about.  But if you happen to see your cat drooling (cats don’t usually drool) and heaving check to see if maybe it’s caused by:

  • Overeating then cat pukes after eating
  • Your cat eats too fast then cat throws up dry food (cats vomiting clear liquid with undigested food)
  • Cat engaged in vigorous exercising or play after eating, ending with the cat throwing up food
  • Food not suited to the cat’s digestion ends up with cat vomiting after eating.

vomiting in cats when to worry

This type of cat vomiting can be fixed with behavioral changes and perhaps a switch in diet.  Try the following behavioral modification:

  • Try offering a few treats before your cat starts eating their cat food.  This will stall them a bit, allowing them to calm down, and it will take the edge off the hunger.
  • Allow the cat to calm down after vigorous playing by speaking them in a calming voice, then petting them once, then offering them one treat.  Keep up the calm voice, then pet your cat twice when you see the cat starting to calm down.  Offer two treats; keep up the cycle until your cat has calmed down enough to eat.
  • If the vomiting persists or gets worse, please take your cat to the Vet.

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Cats Throwing up Hairball

Cats can take in a lot of hair inside their digestive tract because of their constant self-grooming or cleaning of their fur.  Most of the time, the hair will pass through and is pooped out.

However, if your cat is vomiting bile, it can be caused by hairballs. It looks like a cylindrical wad of a slimy mess that will make you want to vomit as well.

You can cut down on the number of hairballs your cat throws up by brushing/combing your cat 3-4 times a week.  This cuts down on the number of stray hairs disgested by your cat, thus decreasing the number of hairballs.  Some vets also suggest switching the cat to a diet that has more fiber or a hairball formula.

Cat food screwing up your cat’s digestion thus causing vomiting and maybe diarrhea

Just as humans can have food allergies, cats can also.  It is best to switch your cat to a limited diet if they are having issues adjusting to their food.  This will help nail down the cause of the food allergy.

vomiting in cats when to worry

Or your cat might be allergic to grain.  Switching to a grain-free diet might be better for a cat with a sensitive constitution.

Vomiting in cats; when to worry

Once your cat’s vomiting becomes frequent, that’s a game-changer.  Now the cat might be throwing up cat food, bile, and other unsightly stuff.

Imagine stepping in that on a late-night trip to the bathroom.  If the vomiting is frequent and your cat seems out of sorts, it might be time to see a Vet.

Along with vomiting, there are additional signs to look out for:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody stool
  • Bloody vomit
  • Acting abnormal; totally off its game
  • Aggression

Possible reasons for the above symptoms could be parasites, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, or kidney disease.

Feeding your cats human food such as chocolate or onions could make your cat very sick (chocolate can kill your cat), so make sure to avoid those ingredients.

Please note: the information contained in this post is not meant to be a diagnosis.  If your cat is exhibiting any symptoms that are cause for concern, please see a Vet.

vomiting in cats when to worry

Nine times out of ten, cat vomiting is nothing serious.  A little behavior modification and change in diet will set your cat right again.

Remember: Be sure to consult with your cat’s veterinarian if you have any questions or your cat’s health gets worse.

In need of cat furniture for your big cat but don’t know where to start?  Read a “Guide to Buying the Best Cat Trees for Large Cats.”