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Help! My Cat Is Throwing Up! Possible Causes of Feline Vomiting

Updated on January 18, 2018

You vomit, I vomit, your cat vomits. We all vomit. Now that I have your attention, allow me to continue! If your cat begins to vomit, don't panic as there are many reasons why your kitty may be feeling a bit under the weather.   Did you know that when it comes to your feline, vomiting is one of the most common non-specific symptoms you are likely to encounter? While the good news is that vomiting is common in kitties…the bad news is that it can be difficult to figure out what has your cat's stomach in such an uproar. Sometimes cats vomit…well, because they can. While other times they are ill or have ingested something they shouldn't have.

Cats vomit more easily than other animals. If you have ever witnessed a cat vomiting…then you know it is not a pretty sight. They extend their neck and begin to make a horrible, harsh, gagging sound (similar to when they cough up a hairball). The most common reason cats vomit is due to the fact that they have swallowed too much hair. As you probably know (especially if you own a cat) they groom themselves…a lot! As they groom, they tend to swallow hair. Too much hair can upset the stomach…hence the reason they throw it up. Outdoor cats that eat grass also have a tendency to throw up due to the fact that grass is irritating and can easily upset the stomach. Cats that eat too much or too fast also run the risk of throwing up. Therefore, if you have more than one cat, you should always feed them from separate bowls. Serving meals in separate bowls will keep your cats from competing for food…therefore; they will eat at a slower pace. If your cat vomits once or twice but otherwise appears normal…don't worry, the situation is most likely not serious.

Cats that eat too much grass may throw-up!
Cats that eat too much grass may throw-up!

In Brief - Different Types of Feline Vomiting

  • Persistent Vomiting: If your cat vomits and then begins to retch, bringing up a clear, frothy liquid then most likely, he has eaten something bad. This vomiting behavior suggests that your cat's stomach is not happy and that kitty most likely ate some spoiled food, grass or too much hair. If persistent vomiting is accompanied by diarrhea and does not get better within a day or so…it would be wise to take your cat to the vet. As I always say…better to be safe, than sorry!
  • Vomiting Blood: If your cat is vomiting up bright red blood this indicates active bleeding somewhere between the mouth and the upper small bowel. This is most commonly caused by a foreign body that your cat has ingested. Vomiting blood can be quite serious and is most certainly an indicator that something is definitely WRONG! Any cat that vomits blood should be examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Keep an eye on your cat if he or she begins to vomit. Vomiting can indicate a more serious problem.
Keep an eye on your cat if he or she begins to vomit. Vomiting can indicate a more serious problem.
If your cat vomits and appears lethargic...take him or her to the vet!
If your cat vomits and appears lethargic...take him or her to the vet!
  • Projectile Vomiting: Thankfully, I have never witnessed my cat Norman projectile vomit. THANK GOODNESS, I can only imagine how lovely that would be. In any event, projectile vomiting is, in a nutshell, forceful vomiting in which the cat's stomach contents are ejected suddenly and often a considerable distance. Now I have seen a child projectile vomit…but never a cat. Projectile vomiting is often an indicator that a foreign object of some sort is completely blocking the upper gastrointestinal tract. Foreign objects, large hairballs and tumors are possible causes. Brain diseases such as a brain tumor, encephalitis and blood clots can also cause a blockage that would cause your kitty to projectile vomit. Projectile vomiting can be an indicator or a serious problem, therefore, a trip to the veterinarian is in order.
  • Vomiting Feces: As previously mentioned, I have never seen my cat Norman projectile vomit. I am also VERY HAPPY to report that I have never seen him vomit feces either. To be completely honest, if I had to choose, I would rather see projectile vomiting rather than the feces option. Can you say GROSS? As yucky as it sounds (and it does sound yucky) vomiting feces is a very serious matter. A cat that vomits foul material that looks and smells like feces is most likely suffering from intestinal obstruction or peritonitis. Trauma to the abdominal area can also be the cause. If your cat vomits feces it is VERY IMPORTANT that you seek professional treatment as soon as possible as vomiting feces is a clear indicator of a VERY SERIOUS problem.
  • Sporadic Vomiting: Cats sometimes vomit off and on over a period of days or weeks. If the vomiting is accompanied by lethargy, an over-all haggard appearance, and loss of appetite your cat may be suffering from liver or kidney disease. Other problems that can cause sporadic vomiting include irritable bowel disease, chronic gastritis, worm infestation or even hairballs. If your cat has been vomiting off and on for several days a veterinary check-up is in order so that a correct diagnosis can be made.

 

All cats, at one point or another, vomit. Therefore, there is no need to panic if your kitty throws up. However, it is very important that you keep an eye on your pet to make sure that they don't have a serious illness or condition that is causing them to be sick. Monitor your cat for two or three days…if they are still vomiting, take them to the vet. Of course, if you are really worried about your furry friend, take them in sooner. If you would like to read more about hairballs, please read my HUB Page: Hairballs, a Natural Part of Your Cat's Life. If you have a few minutes to spare, please visit my other cat related HUB Pages as well. Meow!

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    • whatsupblogger profile image

      KarenK 

      20 months ago from Pocono Mountains, PA

      I have an older cat (17 years) who has a puking spell about once a month. It seems to be related to food so I've decided to narrow down her food to 6 varieties instead of the 12 I once fed her. Not sure if this will help but I do think the cause has something to do with what she's eating.

    • profile image

      Joanne Barnett 

      2 years ago

      I have a kitten /cat that has been throwing up for the past few days. The side of his face is swelled up he has been bite my something I'm thinking a red wasp. He still eats and drinks and plays but he throws up after eating or drinking.

    • profile image

      Angelika 

      2 years ago

      My cats (2) have been throwing up forever until one day I ran out of treats and did not replenish them right away. All of a sudden they stopped throwing up! I figured out that I had given them too many treats! But I did not give them as many as suggested on the back of the package! Anyways, their little stomach can only handle so much. Lesson learned, now they only get a very few treats each day and they do not throw up anymore.

    • profile image

      Lisa 

      2 years ago

      Our cat has been throwing up today also diarrhea

    • Lor's Stories profile image

      Lor's Stories 

      5 years ago from Central New Jersey

      My cat is always throwing up. I know why;

      Should we get rid of our plants?

      Or would grass help.

      She's pretty healthy.

      Thanks:)

    • profile image

      Mathias 

      7 years ago

      Thank-you. I will.

    • Cygstarz profile imageAUTHOR

      Cygstarz 

      7 years ago from Maryland

      Mathias...sorry I'm just now answering your question. If I were you...I'd take the cat to the vet. If it is grass/straw...it will take a while to dissolve (and your cat is probably very uncomfortable). The vet can probably help your kitty rather quickly. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Mathias 

      7 years ago

      I belive my cat have a grass-straw stuck in her throat - She keeps trying to vomit and makes lots of strange sounds. She did the same thing a couple of years ago but that was worse than now. Back then i took her to the vet and they figured that a grass straw was stuck in her throat and up in her nose... Do you think the grass will dissolve or should i take her to a vet?

    • profile image

      lisa weber 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for your comments.

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