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5 Reasons Why Your Cat Vomits

5 Reasons Why Your Cat Vomits

  • by Rufus and Coco

All cats vomit every now and then, and sometimes, it’s nothing to be worried about. But while vomiting might be a mild nuisance that occurs only on occasion, sometimes it can be the symptom of serious medical conditions.

Before we move on to some common reasons why cats can vomit, we’d like to ask you to take your pet to the animal hospital if you feel concerned that something else might be at the root of the problem.

Why Does My Cat Keep Vomiting?


Hairballs, medically known as trichobezoars, are extremely common in cats. If you've been a cat owner for a while, cats love to groom their bodies and they like to feel as clean as possible - this act is usually the ultimate culprit for the formation of hairballs.

Unfortunately, hairballs are a common problem of long-haired breeds. So, if you are a Persian cat parent, you can expect vomiting to be something you should deal with frequently.

But even medium-haired breeds can have the same problem. While it might be less common in so-called hairless breeds, even the fuzz they have on their bodies can cause digestive issues in the form of trichobezoars that have to be expelled somehow.

While most cats eliminate the excess hair they’ve swallowed through their feces in heavy shedding periods, their digestive tract might not handle it all.

Systemic disease

Vomiting can be a worrying symptom if your cat already has another disease or if she is a senior. Geriatric patients tend to have chronic conditions that might or might not affect their digestion.

There are a variety of health issues that cause vomiting, and they range from inflammatory bowel disease to hyperthyroidism, pancreatitis, and kidney conditions. Taking your cat to the vet clinic once or twice a year can lead to an accurate diagnosis of any of these diseases so that they are managed or treated properly before they put your pet’s health or life at risk.

Internal parasites

This is a problem that shows up more in kittens rather than in adults. Heavy parasite infestations can make adult parasites not have enough space inside a cat’s intestines, which is why they will be expelled through the mouth.

In this case, you’ll notice not just some of the stomach juice and perhaps some hair in the vomited material, but also actual parasites.

Making sure that you deworm your cat on a regular basis can prevent this mishap. If your cat lives indoors only, you merely have to give her one dose of the medication that your vet has prescribed and see whether any worm eggs or larvae appear in her feces.

If your cat regularly goes outdoors, a second or even third dose might be recommended, depending on the severity of the parasite infestation. 

An upset stomach

Everyone, including people, can suffer from indigestion every now and then. If your cat tends to get into your table scraps when you aren’t looking, some of the ingredients you might have used for cooking your meals might cause digestive imbalances that can result in diarrhea and vomiting.

Dietary indiscretions rarely cause gastroenteritis (which is the inflammation of the stomach and some parts of the intestines), but if your cat is taking medication, the side effects could cause long-lasting effects.

Also, before becoming a pet parent, you should do a little research about what could poison your cat - whether it be house plants and common ingredients in human foods or rodenticides or insecticides.

Foreign objects

When playing with your cat, you might notice that she will try to nibble on the toy. Cats look at toys as if they were tiny prey that they have to hunt and kill and sometimes even eat.

The safest toys you can use with your cat are those that actually do not have any material that can be ingested. Our own Rechargeable Laser Toy is a good example since it can provide your pet with a lot of entertainment without the possibility of ingesting anything.

Although cats are generally less likely to ingest things they aren’t supposed to compared to dogs, you would not believe the wide array of foreign objects that an imaging exam like an X-ray can reveal. Cats can swallow anything from rubber bands and wool, to thread and even entire small toys in some cases.

Needless to say, all of these can cause intestinal blockage, which can be life-threatening. The cat will try to vomit the foreign object or eliminate it through her feces, but if she doesn’t manage to do it, it will lead to an obstruction.

If you know that your cat ingested a foreign object, take her to the vet right away. 

Final thoughts

Occasional vomiting can happen in all cats, but knowing how to tell the difference between vomiting as a symptom of another disease and one that occurs as a result of hairballs can spare your feline friend from serious health issues.

If you suspect that your cat is suffering from a condition that makes it difficult, if not impossible, for her to get the right nutrients from the food she eats, a visit to the vet is the right solution to your problem.

Also, cats that have diets richer in grains can experience a variety of digestive symptoms, including constipation and vomiting, so you need to make sure you feed your pet a species-appropriate diet.

Learn what items or products in your household could present a health risk to your cat to make sure that she remains healthy. Keep in touch with your vet and take your kitty for check-ups at least once a year.

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