Vomiting in cats

Black cat on white background

Overview

  • Vomiting can be a symptom of many different conditions, some mild and some serious.
  • It’s not always necessary to see your vet the first time your cat vomits, but it’s extremely important to monitor them closely and call your vet for advice if they vomit again, seem unwell, or have any other symptoms.

Causes of vomiting

There are many different causes of vomiting in cats, some are mild and some much more serious. Common causes include:

  • Gastritis (a mild stomach upset)
  • Worms
  • Fur balls
  • Travel sickness
  • Change of diet/eating something unusual

Less common causes of vomiting in cats include:

A tabby cat vomiting

How to know if a cat is feeling nauseous (sick)

If your cat is feeling sick, they are likely to show some of the following symptoms:

  • Licking their lips and swallowing more than usual
  • Drooling
  • Eating grass
  • Reduced appetite

When to contact your vet

It may not be necessary to see your vet each time your cat vomits (most cats vomit from time to time), but it is important to monitor them and call your vet for advice if they vomit more than once, seem unwell, or have any other symptoms. Contact your vet straight away if your cat has been vomiting for more than 24 hours, is unable to keep food or water down, is very young or old, is otherwise unwell, or has any of the following symptoms:

Treatment

If your cat has vomited, but is otherwise well, you may want to try monitoring them at home before seeing a vet. Feed them normally, make sure they have access to fresh water and watch them closely. If, at any point, they appear unwell or vomit again, contact your vet. The treatment your vet gives will depend on what is causing your cat to vomit. Very mild cases may not need treatment, but if your cat has something more serious wrong they may need some investigations and treatment. Follow the links above to find out more about treating a particular case of vomiting in cats.

Consider insuring your cat as soon as you get them, before any signs of illness start. This will ensure you have all the support you need to care for them.

Published: December 2020

Support PDSA

All of our work helping the UK's pets – including this article – is funded entirely by public support.

If you've found our information useful please donate today. This will ensure we can continue to help pet owners and their sick pets for many years to come.

PetWise Pet Health Hub – brought to you thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery 

Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.

Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst