Cat Vomit: Is it As Serious as You Think?

Cat Vomit: Is it As Serious as You Think?

  • Kirsten Thornhill - 03.06.2021

We totally get that your four-legged BFF means the world to you, in a nutshell. We also understand that you would do just about anything on this planet to ensure that your cat’s health, happiness, and well-being are taken care of at all times. 

This is why it can be alarming and cause instant worry when your furry friend vomits out of nowhere. 

You feed him or her the best of the best meal time cuisine, monitor their health and keep up to date with their vet check ups, and do everything you can as a paw parent to keep them out of danger. So why the heck are they throwing up?

In today’s article, we’ll discuss the reasons for why your cat may be vomiting as well as when it may be time to take your sweet feline friend to the veterinarian. 

However, it is important for paw parents to know when it’s time to act quickly, as vomiting can be a small sign that something serious is going on. 

Let’s not beat around the bush, let’s get to it!

Two Types of Vomit

There are two types of vomiting that will help your vet in determining the underlying cause(s) of the vomit and how best to treat the issue. 

1. Acute Vomiting

This type of vomiting refers to a sudden episode of vomiting and may last 1 - 2 days. Felines with acute vomiting typically don’t have other symptoms associated. 

2. Chronic Vomiting

This type of vomiting refers to ongoing vomiting. Felines with chronic vomiting usually vomit more than 1 - 2 times a day and have other associated symptoms present, such as weight loss, depression, and abdominal pain. 



Possible Causes of Acute Vomiting

Underlying causes of acute vomiting may range from minor to severe, quickly. Thus, it’s important for paw parents to know these causes and act appropriately. 

A) Eating too Quickly

If you have a cat, you know just how fast they eat… if it’s their last meal on earth. As a four-legged friend, your cat has a horizontally-positioned esophagus. 

If your cat has eaten too fast, they may regurgitate whole, undigested food. This is because the food they’ve swallowed can get backed up in the esophagus instead of passing through to the stomach. 

Help slow your cat down when they eat. For instance, give your cat smaller portions at one time. Allow your cat to have ‘relaxed eating’ to help slow their habits because they innately feel that if they don’t get their food, someone else will.

Portion control will also help prevent obesity, in turn, helping prevent additional health issues from developing. 

B) Chemicals or Toxins

Ingesting chemicals or toxins may cause your cat to vomit. Poisoning typically leads to severe and sudden vomiting in felines. 

Many cats vomit from time to time, some do more than others. But, if your cat doesn’t typically throw up and is suddenly vomiting, consider the possibility that they ingested something poisonous. 

Paw parents may not realize that many common household plants are extremely toxic and harmful to cats. If your cat is a fan of playing with your plants, consider purchasing cat grass! Cat grass is great for kitty nutritional benefits. 



Take some time to research and get to know which plants are cat friendly. 

The chemicals found in pesticides, herbicides, and household cleaners can cause acute vomiting, fast, if ingested. 

If you think your cat has consumed any of these products, it is crucial that you call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline at 1(888)426-4435 ASAP. 

C) Dietary Reasons

One of the most common reasons for vomiting is diet. Many cat foods contain byproducts, such as organs and bone. 

You may be wondering why in the world is your cat eating food that isn’t considered safe for humans, right? Well, it turns out that these byproducts add important nutrients and proteins to your cat’s diet. 

If your cat vomits, they may have trouble digesting these byproducts. 

In addition, if a sudden diet change occurs, causing your cat to vomit, you may have switched their food too quickly. It’s important to go low and slow when introducing new food to your kitty. 

Feeding your furry friend a high quality diet with digestible and nutritious ingredients, along with a slow gradual change in diet, can help you avoid a cat with an upset stomach. 

D) GI Inflammation

When you’re looking for the root of the cause of many diseases, you’ll often find one major thing in common: inflammation. 

Inflammation of major organs, such as gallbladder, colon, and small intestine, can lead to acute vomiting. 

However, diarrhea and vomiting are usually only the beginning when it comes to inflammation. 

To prevent the development of more severe problems occurring, it’s important for cat parents to talk to their vet about the underlying cause of the gastrointestinal distress and inflammation. 

E) Medications

Certain medications can induce acute vomiting. If the medication is causing vomiting for a chronic condition, for instance, you may want to talk to your vet about potential alternatives. 

Continuing vomiting can lead to developments of other conditions, such as GI issues and esophageal inflammation. 

Possible Causes of Chronic Inflammation

We want to share with you that no kind of vomiting is considered to be “normal”. Yes some reasons behind vomiting are not as severe as others, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. 

In instances of chronic vomiting, paw parents should have a keen eye, as continuous vomiting can be a sign of unresolved medical issues. 

A) Intestinal Obstruction

This may result from the accumulation of ingested fluids and solids in the intestinal tract. To help relieve this accumulation, your cat may vomit over an extended period of time. 

Intestinal obstruction can occur for numerous reasons - from foreign object ingestion to more severe causes like hernias or tumors. 

B) Parasitic Infections

Yikes. Parasites are never good, right? A long-standing intestinal parasite infestation can lead to chronic vomiting. 

Parasites must be accurately diagnosed and treated by a licensed veterinarian. If remain untreated, chronic vomiting may be only the best of your worries. 

C) Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease, IBD for short, causes chronic vomiting in felines. IBD includes conditions such as gastritis, enteritis, colitis, and pancreatitis. 

Chronic vomiting in cats can be a telltale symptom of GI cancer. You can see why it’s so important to figure out the underlying reason(s) behind the chronic vomiting.



D) Neurological Diseases and Disorders

Neurological disorders in cats can occur due to infection and injury. They often have one main symptom in common: chronic vomiting. 

Cats with neurological issues have the potential to live long and healthy lives, but only if a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is developed and implemented. 

E) Chronic Toxic Poisoning

Like acute vomiting we mentioned above, chronic vomiting may be caused by poisoning. The underlying cause here may be more difficult to pinpoint though. 

With acute vomiting from toxicity, the toxic element is typically consuming only a short time before the vomiting starts. With chronic vomiting from toxicity, the toxic element is inhaled or consumed in small amounts over a longer period of time. 

When to Take Your Cat to the Vet

If you notice any of the above symptoms mentioned, there are a few things we recommend that you consider. 

How is your cat’s overall health? Is he or she old? Is there any chance they may have eaten something they shouldn’t have? Something poisonous? How long have they been vomiting?

We definitely agree that it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your four-legged companion. Again, no vomiting should be considered your cat’s “norm”. 

If you have any reason to believe that your cat is suffering from vomiting, make an appointment to bring your feline into the vet. 

Treating Cat Vomit

In general, cat vomit treatment will involve withholding water and food from your cat until the vomiting has stopped completely. Paw parents will then be advised to add water and a bland diet slowly back into their felie’s life. 

Keep in mind, this treatment is solely for vomiting. It’s important that paw parents get to the root of the vomiting issue for the primary cause can be resulted too. 

Preventing Cat Vomit

In most instances, cat vomit can be prevented! Woo! Simple changes including feeding your cat a high quality cat food as well as making sure you don’t have any poisonous plants in the house are a wonderful way to get started. 

Again, preventing the vomiting will also depend on the underlying problem. 



Cat Vomit: Final Thoughts

We know your furry friend means everything to you! When you realize that something is wrong with your cat, you instantly think the worst, naturally. 

The first step is recognizing any changes as soon as they come on. The sooner you can recognize their symptoms, like vomiting, the sooner a diagnosis and treatment plan can be created.

We hope your feline friend gets better soon! 

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