Puking and Your Cat

Puking from your kitty gravy boat = fun. 
Puking from your real kitty = not fun. 

Vomiting in cats is a strong expulsion of food or fluids from the stomach and small upper intestine through the mouth. Cats usually vomit from time to time, and in fact there are many reasons why your cat may vomit. Your cat may puke because she may have eaten something that upset her stomach or because she has a sensitive digestive system. The condition becomes serious when there is nothing left in the cat's stomach to vomit except bile.

As a cat parent, you should understand and recognize the common causes of vomiting so you can ask your vet to help your feline friend.

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Why does a cat vomit?

Your cat can start puking due to many reasons such as:

Hairball or Trichobezoar

Hairballs develop as a result of your cat's healthy grooming routine. When your cat is grooming, the dead hair adheres to the hook-like structures on the tongue which is then swallowed.

Most of these hairs pass through the digestive tract without any problem, but if some hair remains in the stomach, it will form a hairball. Usually, your cat will vomit to get rid of this hairball.

The hairball is common in the long-haired breed such as Persians and Maine coons. It is even more common in adult cats because they become adept groomers as they grow.

Eating too much

Vomiting is common in cats that eat too fast or eat too much. This problem is common in cat homes where many cats feed together and feel like they are competing to finish the food first.

Puking also occurs as a result of a sudden change in diet or a lot of activity after a meal.

Digestive system diseases

Vomiting is often caused by disorders of the digestive system such as gastroenteritis. It is defined as inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (includes the stomach and intestines).

Gastroenteritis is caused by bacterial infections, viral infections, and parasitic infections and even with some foods.

Common signs of gastroenteritis are abdominal pain, vomiting, and other clinical signs.

Kidney failure

Vomiting in cats is often associated with later stages of chronic kidney disease. As cats reach the third and fourth stages of chronic kidney disease, they will lose weight, eat less, and begin to vomit.


The pancreas produces certain enzymes that are involved in the digestion of food. Pancreatitis is a condition in which the pancreas becomes inflamed, causing digestive enzymes to be released into the pancreas rather than the intestinal tract.

Common signs of pancreatitis are loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, dehydration, and diarrhea.


Poisoning in cats is a common cause of vomiting. Cats are less likely to recover from poisoning than other pets.

The different elements that cause poisoning in cats are pest control, herbicides, antifreeze fluids, salt poisoning, and overuse of pain killers.

Ingestion of a foreign object

Cats can ingest an object that can sometimes pass through the esophagus but cannot expel from the stomach. This is known as a gastrointestinal foreign body.

The symptoms found in the case of the gastrointestinal foreign body are vomiting, loss of appetite and depression. Treatment is usually done by surgically removing a foreign body.

Food allergy

Food allergy is defined as an abnormal response to a food or food additive. It is caused by a reaction to a particular ingredient, which is generally a protein.

The adverse reaction caused by food allergy is of two types, one in which the immune system is involved and the other is general food intolerance. The most common allergy-causing foods are beef, dairy, and fish.

Allergies can last a lifetime, so the ingredient must be permanently removed from your cat's food.

Common signs of a food allergy are vomiting, diarrhea, cough, and sneezing.

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 Is Vomiting Normal for Cats?

The truth is that it may not be normal, especially if vomiting is frequent. Sometimes vomiting as a result of swallowing their hair can be considered normal, but it should not happen much.

Types of vomiting
Occasional Vomiting
If your cat throws up less than once a day to two days and no other signs of illness appear, this is known as occasional vomiting.
Severe Vomiting
If your cat vomits once or twice daily and is accompanied by blood, stomach pain, dehydration, depression, weakness, fever, weight loss, etc., it can be considered severe vomiting.
When Is Vomiting in Cats Vet-worthy?
Your cat needs an urgent visit to the vet if he or she shows any of these signs:
  • Vomits more than once or twice
  • Stops eating food
  • Has eaten something dangerous
  • Blood in your cat's vomit
  • Retches continuously
  • Seems to have stomach pain
How to prevent vomiting?
Many cat owners accept vomiting behavior as normal and think it has no solution. Here are a few things you can try to ease your kitty's discomfort:
  •  You can reduce the number of hairballs with regular grooming, proper feeding and exercise.
  • You should give the recommended amount of food to your beloved cat and provide clean, fresh water at all times.
  • You should slow down your cat's eating habit by feeding smaller portions, raising your cat's food dish a little, or putting an object, such as a ball, on the plate.
  • If you want to change your cat's diet, do it gradually because the sudden change of food can cause vomiting.
Treatment and management
In case of occasional vomiting, your veterinarian may prescribe treatment to relieve the vomiting and retain food for 24 hours.

You can offer a small amount of water. If your cat does not vomit again, you can resume feeding.

If your cat suffers from severe vomiting, then your veterinarian can do a detailed examination and find the cause and give the proper treatment.

Special foods or medications prescribed by the vet may also help relieve basic health problems or allergies that lead to vomiting.

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Final words

Most of the time, vomiting is caused by something common and treatable. While this doesn't make it any less disturbing, it does mean that, with the help of your vet, your cats are likely to restore their health and dignity quickly.