How To Treat A Cat That Is Vomiting


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Want to find out how to treat a cat that is vomiting?

Cat vomiting is an unpleasant problem that doesn’t seem to have a clear solution. Cat’s can vomit on carpet and damage furniture. Vomiting can also be a sign of health problems.

In this article, I’ll help you find out what is causing your cat to vomit and how to treat a cat that is vomiting. I’ll give you a step-by-step checklist to work through to help you figure out what to do.

How to treat a cat that is vomiting

The goal of this website is to help cat owners learn more about taking care of their cats. I am not a veterinarian and I recommend seeking the advice of a vet for any further questions.

The advice in this article is not intended as medical advice.

Let’s get into the article.

What causes a cat to vomit?

There are a few causes of vomiting that include:

  • Food allergy
  • Food intolerance
  • Infection
  • Foreign body
  • Ulcers
  • Neoplasia
  • Problems with gut motility
  • Pancreatitis
  • Hyperthyroidism

As you can see, there’s a wide range of reasons a cat can vomit. For that reason, you want to take a systematic approach to working out the cause of the problem and ruling things out. Senior cats may be at a higher risk of vomiting due to disease.

There is also a difference between vomiting and regurgitation. Sometimes cats regurgitate after eating or drinking. This tends to happen if they have too much food offered.

One simple thing you can try off the bat is to feed your cat smaller serves of food. If it’s just ‘big amounts of food’ that’s to blame then this can tackle a problem without further investigation.

Read more: How often should I feed my cat?

A cat throwing up.
Cat’s may throw up if fed too much food at once. Feed cats smaller and more frequent meals for easier digestion.

What Should I Do If My cat Is Vomiting?

If your cat is vomiting, you want to rule out possible causes. The first thing is whether this problem is acute or chronic.

Acute vomiting is anything that lasts less than 2-3 days. This happens from time to time similar to humans having a rare bout of vomiting. Causes include:

  • Spoiled food
  • Hairball
  • Eating too much at once

Most of these cases resolve on their own without treatment. Vets may prescribe anti-emetic drugs (e.g. metoclopramide) to give your cat relief.

It’s considered normal for a cat to vomit less than once a month. So if this is a ‘once off’ then you do not need to do anything else.

Adjusting your cat’s portion sizes and using a slow feeder can help prevent future episodes.

Learn more: Best cat slow feeders

Two cats with a slow feeder.
A slow feeder can help with occasional regurgitation of food from eating too quickly.

What Should I Do If My cat Is Vomiting More Than 2 Days?

If your cat vomits more than 2-3 days then it’s time to see a vet. Chronic vomiting can lead to dehydration and may be a sign of a serious illness.

It’s important to keep a record of your cat’s history. This will help your vet diagnose the cause of the vomiting problem.

Things to look for include:

  • Color
  • Presence of hair
  • Blood
  • Volume
  • Any diarrhea
  • How long after eating the vomiting occurs
  • Travel history

Cat’s that spend more time outdoors are at a higher risk of infection. This is by spending more time around feral cats and eating parasites.

Another thing you can do is record a video of your cat vomiting. This will help your vet find out more about what is causing the problem.

A cat vomiting.

why is my cat throwing up undigested food?

Your cat can throw up undigested food due to food intolerances, food allergies, and/or eating too much food at once.

Food intolerances are reactions to food items that don’t involve any immunological process. A food allergy is immunological mediated.

Let’s take a look at some things to avoid:

  • Histamines
  • Gluten
  • Lactose
  • Colorings
  • Preservatives
  • Flavors
  • Lectins

Some cats may be sensitive to grain-based ingredients including:

  • Wheat
  • Wheat gluten flour
  • Barley

Common food allergy sources include:

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Fish

Protein based foods that are fed more often are common allergens.

There is some evidence that novel protein and limited ingredient diets can help with vomiting if other medical and dietary changes aren’t effective. One study showed 49% of cats with gastrointestinal disease showed improvement with diet change.

If your vet shrugs their shoulders and says ‘I don’t know’ then it might be worth trying a diet change. There’s no risk to health if you use a AAFCO approved food option.


Feline Natural Variety Box Cat Food

Can help cats find relief from sensitive stomach problems. Complete nutrition for cats of all life stages. Perfect for healthy kidneys.

Key Features

  • AAFCO approved for all life stages
  • 43.8% protein on a dry matter basis
  • 0.5% carbohydrate on a dry matter basis
  • >1:1 calcium to phosphate ratio for kidney health
  • Gluten-free
  • Soy-free

what to feed a cat that is throwing up?

It is best practice to try feeding your cat wet food, low in fiber in smaller serves to reduce the risk of vomiting. Cat’s are adapted to small meals in the wild, and do not digest large meals easily.

It is also worth looking for and avoiding food with possible allergens and/or sources of food intolerance.

To find out whether your cat has a food intolerance and/or food allergy, use an elimination diet.

This is the most systematic way of finding out whether food is causing the vomiting and other related issues (e.g. itchy skin).

Learn more: Best dry cat food for allergies

An elimination diet should contain no grains, legumes and/or fillers. It also involves a novel protein food source (i.e. something not usually eaten in the diet).

Examples of novel protein food sources include:

  • Kangaroo
  • Lamb
  • Turkey
  • Venison

You must read the label to make sure the food only contains a novel protein and not a combination including common protein sources.

Learn more: How to read a cat food label

If this food helps give relief to your cat, then stick to that food and re-introduce new food sources.

Fiber is another food ingredient that causes problems. It increases volume in the stomach and may lead to nausea. Cat’s are adapted to small frequent meals in nature. Large portions of food high in fiber are best avoided.

Learn more: How often should I feed my cat?

Reading a cat food label.
Read the label on a cat food package to find out whether the food will benefit your cat.

can too many cat treats cause vomiting?

It’s unlikely that cat treats cause vomiting unless your cat has an averse reaction to any food sources in the treat.

Most cat treats (but not all) are simple dehydrated meat sources which aren’t usually a problem.

Avoid feeding your cat too much of any food at any one time.

What are some home remedies for cat vomiting?

The best practice to treat cat vomiting is to feed them a wet canned diet, low in fiber in small serves. Avoid food with added fillers, grains, and legumes to reduce the risk of food intolerances.

Some sources recommend feeding cats things like garlic and ginger. Many foods are poisonous to cats and are not suitable treatments.

Learn more: Foods that are poisonous to cats

Feeding your cat plain chicken or other meats is not a long term strategy, although it may give short term relief from vomiting. This diet can lead to nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism due to a calcium deficiency.

Another home remedy people often suggest is using essential oils in a diffuser, oral, and/or topical treatment. Many essential oils are toxic to cats and can cause health issues. I recommend avoiding the use of essential oils around cats.

Learn more: Are essential oils safe for cats?

A cat relaxing with essential oils.
Home remedies aren’t recommended for cats. Speak with your vet for approved medication for vomiting.

What To Do If My Cat Is Vomiting step By Step

Here is a step-by-step guide to finding out what to do if your cat is vomiting.

What to do if your cat is vomiting logic tree

Conclusion: How To Treat A Cat That Is Vomiting

In this article I talked about steps you can take if your cat is vomiting.

It’s normal for cat’s to vomit from time to time. Sometimes they may have nausea or the occasional hairball. Normal vomiting occurs less than once a month.

If your cat vomits more than once a month or for more than 2 days, speak with your vet for help. They will go through a battery of tests and diagnostic procedures to help you with a clinically approved treatment.

It’s important not to use home remedies like essential oils or garlic as these are toxic to cats.
Diet strategies include small meals, slow feeders, using a limited ingredient and novel protein diet. These strategies can help some cats with food intolerance and allergy related stomach upsets.

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