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How and when to induce vomiting in your cat

Updated on December 31, 2010

How to reduce or delay toxin absorption in your cat


A time may come when we discover our beloved kitten or cat ingested something potentially harmful requiring emergency treatment at once. There are are a few things that can be done at home to prevent absorption right before heading to the emergency vet.

A common method that many vets recommend is to induce vomiting prior to having the pet seen. Induction of vomit may help the cat remove the potentially harmful object or toxin igested or at least may limit its absorption.

In order to be effective the induction of vomit must take place at least WITHIN 2 HOURS from when the suspected harmful toxin has been ingested. If more than 2 hours have passed the toxin or object has already left the stomach and is already being absorbed or forwarded to the intestinal tract.

It is very important to realize that the induction of vomit may be harmful or even fatal when some particular toxins are ingested.



An acid based chemical

An alkali based chemical

A caustic like bleach or drain cleaner

A household cleaning solution

A household chemical

A petroleum product such as gasoline, turpentine, kerosene

A sharp object

These are toxins that potentially may burn the esophagus on the way back up or they are objects that may injure tissues severely when brought up.

Also do not induce vomiting should your cat have vomited already or should your cat be unconscious, have labored breathing is exhibiting nervous system disorders such as seizuring, in this case rather rush to the emergency vet.


Your cat ingests rodenticide poison like D-CON, Mouse Prufe II, Talan or Harvoc. Your cat wil still need further veterinary treatment since these cause blood clotting disorders.

Your cat ingested arsenic as found in slug snail bait and other weed killers or insecticides. In many cases though there is not much to do as death quickly follows ingestion without the cat even exhibiting symtoms suggesting poisoning.

Your cat ingested antifreeze. Inducing vomiting in this case will delay and reduce absorption however, a vet must be seen at once to prevent kidney failure.

Your cat ate some of your prescription pills. People's medicines can be very toxic. Even common over the counter pain killers like Tylenol, Advil or aspirin can prove fatal. Induce vomiting and coat the bowel as described below on the section of how to prevent or delay poison absorption. Make sure the cat brings up the pills, follow up with the vet to seek further treatment.


Always talk to your vet first before inducing vomiting in your cat!


Hydrogen Peroxide 3% -do not use any other type

1 teaspoon

A watch

Paper towels

Strictly only use hydrogen peroxide 3%. You will need to administer one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide (5 ml) per five pounds of body weight.

You may repeat this dose for a maximum of two times. Therefore, administer the hydrogen peroxide dosage once and then wait ten minutes. If the cat vomits well, if not repeat again. If still does not vomit after another 10 minutes bring your pet and the chemical bottle or other toxin to the vet at once as the vet may have more effective products to induce vomiting.

How to prevent/delay poison absorption after having induced vomiting

You can purcase some activated charcoal but this is difficult to administer to a cat without having a stomach tube in place. As an alternative in less severe cases you can try to coat the stomach by giving some milk or egg whites. Two teaspoons of vegetable oil can be used as well as an alternative but must be added to the cat's food as if allowed to swallow it may cause aspiration pneumonia.

Always contact your vet or have your cat immediately seen by your vet regardless of the fact he/she has vomited or not. Many toxins need further flushed out of the system and the cat may need supportive care before complications such as seizures may arise. Always keep the poison control number handy.

The Animal's Poison Control center's phone number is 800-542423 or 900-6800000. Please keep in mind that there is a credit card charge around 50 to 60 dollars for the consultation.

* Keep in mind that if your cat ingested antifreeze you only have 4-6 hours before irreversible kidney damage takes place. Each year there are hundreds of cases of cats ingesting anti freeze because of its attractive sweet taste and all it takes is a small amount to cause major problems and death.

DISCLAIMER: This article must not be used as a substitute for veterinary care nor should it be used as a diagnostic tool. Always consult a vet should you believe your cat has been in contact with toxins or poisons, a delay in doing so can turn potentially dangerous or even fatal. Always keep handy the Poison control phone numbers to refer to during such emergencies.

REFERENCE: Cat owner's home veterinary handbook Delbert G. Carlson D.V.M and James M. Giffin M.D Howell book house New York

My cat that was poisoned with antifreeze



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    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      9 years ago

      I have never heard of anything like that.. my vets have recommended it for decades.. I wonder if there may have been another cause for the injury or if the vet exaggerated in the dosages...hydrogen peroxide in my opinion still remains a life saver.. it has saved the life of countless cats and dogs..

      Maybe your cat ingested something caustic along with the earplugs or the vet used an inappropriate strength??? perhaps the ear plugs had some sharp edge that caused the injury when trying to come back up? can you find a reliable source that states using hydrogen peroxide can cause what your cat is going through? If so I will be happy to post it here....

      After how long did the vet try to induce vomiting? Were they foam ear plugs? The foam with the stomach acids can get real hard like a rock and basically cause injuries as it is forced up.. just thinking..

      All I find is literature stating it is safe and vets still recommending it.. I am sorry your cat went through such an ordeal.. could your vet have used something other than hydrogen peroxide and you were not aware of it? Maybe he used syrup of ipecac?

      According to Petplace ''Despite the label indicating that hydrogen peroxide is toxic, it is safe to give to cats. It is considered toxic since it induces vomiting and therefore does not stay in the body.''

      Even the ASPCA recommends keeping a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in your pet's first aid kit!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Please don't ever use hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. An unwise vet admistered it to my cat when he ate earplugs two months ago, and he now has a hole in his stomach, his stomach failed to heal properly, and he cannot hold down food anymore as there is no room. There's no chance for surgery. Earplug blockage would have been more benign than this! Please stop promoting the use of hydrogen peroxide! My cat may not live, and if he does it will only be because we will have found a good combo of drugs to stop him vomiting for the rest of his life. His life is ruined. He was a healthy happy 5 year old boy until this vet did this to him!


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