Vomiting in Cats

Cats have a well-developed gag reflex.  This means, unlike humans, cats are well adapted to immediately reject things they just ate.  A cat can be perfectly healthy and vomit. The tricky part is figuring out when vomiting warrants a trip to the veterinarian.

Not all vomiting is cats is normal. As a matter of fact, frequent or repeated vomiting is abnormal. Vomiting on a regular basis can be a sign of food or other allergies, some chronic inflammatory diseases, and in rare cases cancer. Cats don’t ‘just vomit.’  The vomiting reflex is always triggered by something, whether it be eating too fast, a hair ball, swallowing something to large, or eating something toxic. Sometimes it is very clear to see what your cat just vomited, but other times it is a bit of a mystery.

Here is what to watch out for when you are dissecting cat vomit:


-Easter ‘grass’ or holiday tinsel

-Fishing line or hooks

-ANYTHING sharp, including bones and sticks

-Anything made of cloth, plastic, glass or metal

-Toys, the squeakers off toys, pieces of toys

-Rat bait or poison (IMPORTANT!! Bring the box in with you.)


-Blood, black ‘coffee grounds,’ or black bile

Because cats are the great hiders of disease and illness, if you see any of the following get them into the veterinarian immediately:

-Your cat cannot hold down water

-Vomiting more then twice in one day

-Vomiting and behaving lethargic