Why Is My Cat Vomiting? Know the Reasons.

August 23, 2018 in Articles

If you are a cat owner, like me, I’m sure there have been times when your kitty barfed up some of his or her food.  Whenever this happens to one of my precious cats, I get upset.

Seeing a cat vomiting is not a pretty sight, especially if it’s your cat.  You might get all emotional and tensed up to see your pet in that sorry state and think to yourself, “So, why is my cat vomiting?”

Kitty trying to tell his mom that he doesn’t feel well

There are different reasons why a cat may vomit.  Some of these reasons are negligible, like a cat eating his food way too fast, while others can be serious or of a chronic nature.

Causes of Why a Cat Vomits

Vomiting can be induced by gastrointestinal or systemic disorders and can also be caused by something as uncomplicated like the cat who is being overly playful after its meal, eating something disagreeable with its system or simply eating too much, too fast.

We will explore some of the common causes of vomiting and when you should know it is serious.


Sudden Causes of Cat Vomiting

  •  Acute kidney or liver failure, or gallbladder inflammation.
  • Intestinal parasites: Heavy intestinal worm infestations can trigger gastric irritation and lead to vomiting. So, regular deworming is highly advised.  (Consult with your vet before administering any medications, just to be sure!)
  • Eating something wrong: Hairballs come about when a cat is grooming itself; loose hairs get caught on its tongue during this process and, since it cannot spit the fur out, it gets ingested instead. As it continues doing this, the fur accumulated in its stomach causes sudden vomiting — since it does not belong there. 
  • Swallowing toys, rubber bands, clothes, plastic, or any foreign objects can also be a cause of your cat vomiting. It could sometimes be fatal if not quickly addressed.
  • Certain medications, toxins or chemicals.
  • Gastrointestinal-tract bacterial infection.
  • Food intolerance or change in diet: Suddenly changing your cat food brand or diet can be a cause.  An ingredient in the food brand (or the rate at which you changed the cat’s diet) could have led to irritation and made her cat vomit. In addition, some cats have food allergies or sensitive digestive systems which make them react negatively to some specific food. This causes inflammation of the gut lining and diarrhea or sickness.
  • Post-operative nausea.
  • Pancreatitis

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Ultimate Probiotic with Prebiotics for Cats by Pet Wellbeing


Chronic Vomiting Causes

  • Gastrointestinal ulceration.
  • Colitis.
  • Food allergies.
  • Heartworm infection.
  • Liver or kidney failure.  The liver and kidneys’ main job is to filter blood from the digestive tract before passing to the rest of the body.  When these two important organs fail, there will be a rise in the level of toxins in the blood, leading to irritation of the stomach lining and eventually sickness, loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • Severe constipation.
  • Intestinal obstruction.
  • Neurological disorders.
  • Intestinal or gastric tumors, or ulcers.
  • Pancreatitis: This occurs when the digestive juices break out from the pancreas, leading to digestion in the pancreas and all the soft tissues around it. This can cause a major health issue which can be life-threatening.
  • A diaphragmatic hernia.


What Are Some Treatment Options?

In most cases, what you should do is, avoid giving your cat food and water for up to 2 hours after the vomiting has stopped. Then, slowly introduce water and a light, mild diet for your cat afterward.  You can mother your cat back to full health by feeding it with a diet of boiled rice, chicken, or boiled potatoes.

The best course of action, in some other cases, is to take your cat to the vet as it may need intensive medical care.  Be on the look-out for any unusual behaviors which may certainly require the attention of a doctor.  The vet will advise you on what to feed your cat and the medications it should take.

Some preventative measures you can take to hinder your cat from vomiting include grooming.

  • Grooming

Cat grooming himself

All cat parents know that it is a natural instinct for cats to groom themselves.  As their grooming habits can cause them to ingest hairs on a daily basis, it is advisable to groom your cat daily by brushing its fur. This helps to reduce the amount of hair your cat ingests and, in the long run, prevents it from vomiting a hairball.

Hairball Gold is a Natural — and Safe — Remedy which can help your feline baby with the issue of hairballs. 

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You can also feed your cat hairball-prevention dry food, especially the ones rich in fiber contents, as it helps cats to properly ingest hair and reduces hairballs.

Applying cat lubricant paste on your cat’s paws is another measure you can take.  This coats the hairs that cats ingest and allow them to be excreted as waste in their feces.

  • Be Aware of Potential Allergens

As a cat owner, you need to study your cat and identify what it likes, dislikes or is allergic to.  When changing its diet, slowly introduce the new diet by mixing it with the current diet until the cat gets used to it.  Weaning them off of their old diet should be done in about a week’s time, wherein you will be giving smaller and smaller amounts of their “old” food from the previous brand and adding a little more of the new cat diet until you are not adding any more of the former food.

  • Regular Deworming

Deworming, on a regular basis, is a measure you can take to prevent your cat from vomiting.  It will also help rule out the possibility of intestinal worm infestations which is another cause for your cat to throw up. 

It is best to have your feline friend’s stools checked (and sometimes you will even notice worms yourself, which can be visible).  You can then administer a natural dewormer product or one which your cat’s vet recommends.

  • Encourage your Cat to Eat Slower

This might sound like a very silly thing to you, and I can understand why.  You’re probably wondering, “So, how can I do this?”  It is not as hard as it sounds, though.

Some cats have the habit of eating very fast and in so doing, they swallow a lot of air with their food, leading to irritation and causing them to vomit shortly after eating. 

You can encourage them to eat slower by giving them small amounts of food at a time, several times throughout the day.


Does the Type of Food Matter OR Might This Be an Underlying Issue?

The type of food does matter!  Feeding your pet food such as avocados, chocolate, coffee, caffeine, soda, raw potatoes, onions, garlic, chives, and salt, in large amount can lead to vomiting and diarrhea and even make your cat very sick!  So you have to watch out for the kind of food you feed your cat and keep the above out of their reach.

Cat eating dry food

In addition, some cats’ systems are sensitive or they are just simply allergic to dry cat food.  This induces them to throw up after eating dry food.  So you should also watch how your pet reacts to wet and dry food.  This can very well be the root cause of the constant vomiting — in some cases.  

If your cat is on a dry-food-only diet, try introducing some wet (canned food) a little at a time and see how that works.  In the event that he or she is no longer barfing up their dry food, then this is probably the reason.  You may want to add some dry food, in addition to the wet food, and also take note of what occurs, in this case.    


When is it Time to See Your Dog’s Vet?

Acute causes of vomiting, such as hairballs, diet and intestinal worms (in its early stage), can easily be taken care of at home.  But if it’s due to any of the earlier-listed, chronic causes or, if the vomiting persists, it is recommended to visit the veterinarian immediately.

According to a veterinarian at the Cornell University for Feline Health, “a lot of cats vomit on occasion,” but he goes on to further state that it should not be tolerated by cat owners if this happens more than once a week.  This can be an indication that something is just not right with the cat.

By reviewing your cat’s past medical records, age, symptoms and performing a medical examination — including fecal test, blood test, and sonogram — the vet should be able to diagnose what is wrong with your cat and determine how to treat it.

We’ve been able to look at what causes a cat to vomit, how it can be prevented and when you know it’s time to see the veterinarian. Although vomiting is normal under certain circumstances, when in doubt, going straight to the vet is the best course of action.

Please feel free to leave a comment below regarding this article.  Gorgeous black kitty

May you spend many enjoyable years with your loving cat!


Why Is My Cat Vomiting? Know the Reasons.


    1. Daniella says:

      Hi there,

      I am so happy to read this article because my cat always vomits after eating. As you said in the article, Ishe eats quite fast, and I think this might be the reason. I don’t see any blood or hair inside the vomit. Anyway, if it continues, I’ll go to the veterinary to check this further.

      I really thank you for all these tips!

      • Cathy says:

        Hi Daniella,

        Thank you for leaving a comment!

        I am glad that you have not noticed any blood when your cat vomits.  That’s good!  : )  I would keep an eye on this and, perhaps, try that one suggestion I made in the post about giving lesser amounts and feeding him or her several times throughout the day.

        If it continues, after trying out a couple of the suggestions I’ve made, you may want to get your cat checked by the vet.  I agree.  But, it doesn’t hurt to try because it may be as simple as giving less food at a time (and saving you a bit of money in veterinary bills).

        I am hoping this will help and that your sweet cat does not have this issue any longer!  Please keep me posted.


    2. Celeste says:

      Thanks for the in-depth information. I have noticed that my cat is in the habit of eating to fast. I really didn’t know how to change this behaviour but after reading your article you’ve given me a good idea to feed her smaller amounts throughout the day. She sometimes vomits and I’m pretty sure it’s due to her eating so fast. Thanks for the tip.

      • Cathy says:

        Hi Celeste,

        Thanks very much for visiting my site and commenting on this article!

        So, you have noticed that your cat eats too fast.  I have one cat that does the same.  The 3 others seem to take their time.

        I am glad that you have found this article to be helpful!  I do hope that once you follow the recommendations I’ve set forth in this article, that your cat does not vomit any longer because of her gulping down the food too quickly.

        If you wish, let me know how it works out after you have tried giving smaller portions throughout the day.

        Please visit again in the future!


    3. Janai says:

      Hi Cathy,

      Thank you so much for this insight. I have three cats. I noticed every time I gave one of my cats Temptations Mixups treats she would always vomit. This was whether it was two or four pieces, so I no longer give them to her. I’m not sure whether to attribute it to the ingredients or eating too fast (these cats of mine barely chew).

      Also, my Maine Coon turns into a monster when it comes to grooming. Bathing usually goes well, but the nightmare starts when I try to brush or comb him. I know most of his vomiting is hairball related. I will have to look into the cat lubricant paste. He is on the path to licking himself to death.

      Thank You for the article!

      • Cathy says:

        Hi Janai,

        Thanks very much for commenting and sharing that about your cats.  I have four cats and one of them used to vomit often because he only eats dry food.  I changed his food to a natural dry cat food and also now give Goldie the Hairball Remedy I mentioned in the article.  Now, he may only vomit once every few weeks, whereas  he would puke up the dry food with hair balls in it a few times a week.  That is a major improvement!

        That’s great that you noticed that those specific treats may have been the cause of the problem.  I would say that just about all the commercially-processed cat food (unless it’s natural/organic) has a ton of chemicals and preservatives, artificial coloring, etc., which are not good for our pets.  I’m so happy that you decided to stop giving your kitty those treats!  : )

        If you try the Hairball Gold, please let me know how it works out for your cat/s.  I really hope it solves this problem.  



    4. HappyB says:

      Are there really people who feed their cats raw potatoes, coffee and garlic. It seems so far from their natural foods, it seems crazy.
      I have had cats that deliberately eat grass to make themselves vomit if they have some kind of tummy upset.
      I must admit, cat vomit is not nice stuff to find around the home so a healthy cat is much preferable.
      We have had a cat that was inherited from an elderly lady. The lady suffered from dementia and we think she forgot to feed the cat so now, no matter how much food we give her, she eats the lot and then promptly brings it up again.
      She also constantly begs for food. Like you say, we have limited her meals to small portions and frequently. that seems to have done the trick. Go into the kitchen, though, and she is there begging for food.
      I wonder if the probiotics would help calm her digestive system down. What do you think?

      • Cathy says:

        Hi HappyB,

        Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!  

        It sounds like your kitty may be suffering from digestive disorders.  If the previous cat parent was giving your cat foods that she should not have eaten, then there very well could be problems with her digestive tract (the gut)!

        The probiotics may help a lot and I give them to all of my pets, dogs and cats.  I take probiotics as well and know they have helped my intestinal disturbances very much.  

        One of my dogs had problems with loose stools since we adopted him.  Recently, I ordered a dog probiotic and now give them to both of my dogs.  Their stools are normal in appearance now!

        As for the cats, I add it to their food and I know it will keep them healthy and put beneficial bacteria into their intestinal tracts which is vital for good health.  An unhealthy gut will bring about sickness and disease eventually, unfortunately.  (Probiotics cannot hurt but can certainly help.)  They also enhance the immune system.

        I hope this helped, and please let me know how things work out!  : )


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Why Is My Cat Vomiting? Know the Reasons.

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