Vomiting in cats
- It’s not unusual for cats to vomit from time to time, but if your cat vomits very regularly, or starts vomiting suddenly, this could indicate a problem.
- There are many different conditions that can cause a cat to vomit, some minor and others more serious.
- If your cat has only vomited once, you may want to try to settle their stomach at home (see below), but you should always contact your vet for advice if they seem unwell, painful or have vomited multiple times.
- Treatment will depend on what is causing your cat to vomit.
Causes of vomiting
There are many different causes of vomiting in cats, some minor and some much more serious. Common causes include:
- Gastritis (a stomach upset)
- Fur balls
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
- Travel sickness
Some other, less common causes of vomiting in cats include:
When to contact your vet
Book an urgent appointment with your vet if your cat:
- Has been vomiting for more than 24 hours
- Is vomiting repeatedly
- Is unable to keep food or water down
- Has eaten something they shouldn’t have
- Has low energy (is lethargic)
- Has pale gums or yellow gums
- Also has diarrhoea
- Seems painful
- Has blood or black dots in their vomit
- Is drinking or peeing more than usual
If they have only vomited once or twice and seems otherwise well, you may want to try to settle your cat’s stomach at home. Give small, regular, bland meals (boiled chicken/white fish) and keep them indoors so you can monitor them. Contact your vet for an appointment if they don’t improve within 24 hours. Call your vet if your cat continues vomiting or appears to be getting worse at any point.
Treatment will depend on what is causing your cat to vomit. To start with, your vet may give medication and/or advice to see if you cat’s symptoms improve with time. However, if your cat seems very unwell or your vet suspects something more serious is going on, investigations and treatment in a veterinary hospital might be necessary. This is likely to include a fluid drip to keep them hydrated, medicines to stop them vomiting, blood tests, scans, x-rays and sometimes even surgery.
Published: June 2020
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Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.
Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst