Vomiting in Cats: Signs of Serious Illness

by beaconpet
Causes of Vomiting in Cats

If you notice your furry feline friend vomiting, it’s important to take it seriously as it could be a sign of a serious illness. Vomiting in cats can be caused by many factors, including hairballs, internal blockages, pancreatitis, and even stress or anxiety. It is important to distinguish between vomiting and regurgitation, as the latter condition involves the reflux of contents in the mouth or esophagus without abdominal exertion. Common causes of vomiting or regurgitation in cats are eating too quickly, food allergies, hairballs, and changes in diet. If your cat vomits undigested food, it’s important to feed them smaller, more frequent meals and consult your veterinarian if symptoms persist or are accompanied by according to other relevant signs. Treatment for vomiting in cats depends on the underlying cause and may involve supportive care, medication, or even surgery. Taking preventative measures with BEACONPET, such as feeding small frequent meals, addressing food allergies, and using supplements to prevent hairballs, can help reduce the likelihood of your cat vomiting.

Causes of Vomiting in Cats

Causes of Vomiting in Cats

Vomiting in cats can be a sign of a serious illness and should be taken seriously. There are several possible causes of vomiting in cats, ranging from mild to more severe. Let’s explore some of the common causes:


Hairballs are a common cause of vomiting in cats. When cats groom themselves, they often ingest loose hairs, and sometimes these hairs can form a ball in their stomach or intestines. This can cause discomfort and lead to vomiting.

Internal Obstructions

Internal obstructions, such as foreign objects or ingested materials, can block the normal passage of food through a cat’s digestive system. This can lead to vomiting as the body tries to expel the blockage.

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Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, which can cause vomiting in cats. The pancreas plays an important role in digestion, and when it becomes inflamed, it can disrupt the normal digestive process and result in vomiting.

Eating too quickly

If a cat eats too quickly, they may not chew their food properly, leading to larger pieces of food entering the stomach. This can cause discomfort and trigger vomiting as the body tries to get rid of the large food particles.


Constipation can cause a build-up of fecal matter in a cat’s intestines, leading to discomfort and vomiting. Cats with constipation may have difficulty passing stool and may strain when trying to go to the bathroom.


Indigestion can occur when a cat’s digestive system is unable to properly break down and process food. This can be caused by dietary indiscretion or a change in diet. Indigestion can lead to vomiting as the body tries to eliminate the undigested food.

Parasitic Infections

Parasitic infections, such as worms or protozoa, can cause vomiting in cats. These parasites can disrupt the normal functioning of the digestive system and lead to inflammation or irritation, resulting in vomiting.


Ingestion of toxic substances can cause vomiting in cats. Certain plants, household chemicals, medications, and even some human foods can be toxic to cats. If you suspect your cat has ingested something toxic, it is important to seek veterinary attention immediately.


Stress can have a significant impact on a cat’s overall health, including their digestive system. Cats are sensitive animals, and changes in their environment, routine, or social interactions can cause stress. This stress can manifest as vomiting.

Depression or Anxiety

Just like humans, cats can experience depression or anxiety, which can also lead to vomiting. Changes in their routine, loss of a companion, or other stressful events can trigger symptoms of depression or anxiety.

Difference Between Vomiting and Regurgitation

While vomiting and regurgitation may seem similar, there are distinct differences between the two. It is important to understand these differences in order to identify the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment.


Vomiting in cats involves the forceful expulsion of stomach contents through the mouth. It is typically accompanied by abdominal effort, such as retching or heaving. Vomiting can be a reflexive response to irritation or inflammation in the digestive tract or a more systemic issue.

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Regurgitation, on the other hand, involves the passive expulsion of food or liquid from the mouth or esophagus without abdominal effort. This means that the contents are brought up without any forceful contractions. Regurgitation is often a result of a problem with the esophagus, such as a narrowing or dysfunction.

Common Causes of Vomiting or Regurgitation in Cats

Common Causes of Vomiting or Regurgitation in Cats

Understanding the common causes of vomiting or regurgitation in cats can help identify the underlying issue and guide treatment. Here are some of the most common causes:

Eating too quickly

Cats that eat too quickly may not give their bodies enough time to properly process the food. This can lead to discomfort and trigger vomiting or regurgitation. Slow feeders or puzzle feeders can be helpful in slowing down a cat’s eating pace.

Food allergies

Food allergies can cause a variety of gastrointestinal symptoms, including vomiting and regurgitation. Cats can develop allergies to certain ingredients in their food, such as proteins or grains. Identifying and eliminating the allergenic ingredient is key to managing food allergies.


As mentioned earlier, hairballs can cause vomiting in cats. If a cat is grooming excessively and ingesting a large amount of hair, they may develop hairballs that can lead to vomiting or regurgitation.

Food and Dietary Changes

Sudden changes in a cat’s diet can upset their digestive system and result in vomiting or regurgitation. It is important to introduce new foods slowly and gradually to allow the cat’s body to adjust. Additionally, certain ingredients or types of food may not agree with a particular cat’s digestive system, leading to vomiting or regurgitation.

Vomiting of Undigested Food

When a cat vomits undigested food, it may be a sign of an underlying issue with their digestive system. It is important to take note of this symptom and take appropriate action. Here are some considerations:

Importance of feeding smaller amounts more frequently

If your cat is consistently vomiting undigested food, it may be beneficial to feed them smaller meals more frequently. This can help prevent overloading their stomach and allow for better digestion. Additionally, feeding a high-quality, easily digestible diet can also promote better digestion.

When to consult a veterinarian

If your cat is vomiting undigested food on a regular basis or if there are other accompanying symptoms such as weight loss, lethargy, or diarrhea, it is important to consult with a veterinarian. They can perform a thorough examination, run diagnostic tests, and determine the underlying cause of the vomiting.

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Accompanied by other symptoms

Vomiting of undigested food may be accompanied by other symptoms that can provide additional clues to the underlying cause. These symptoms can include diarrhea, abdominal pain or discomfort, changes in appetite, or changes in behavior. It is important to observe and report these symptoms to your veterinarian for a comprehensive assessment.

Treatment for Vomiting in Cats

Treatment for vomiting in cats depends on the underlying cause. Once the cause has been identified, appropriate treatment can be administered. Here are some common treatment options:

Depends on the underlying cause

Treating vomiting in cats involves addressing the specific underlying cause. This may include dietary changes, medication to address inflammation or infection, deworming medications for parasites, or surgical intervention for obstructions or more severe conditions.

Supportive care

Supportive care may be necessary to manage the symptoms of vomiting and provide relief. This can include withholding food for a short period to rest the gastrointestinal system, providing fluids to prevent dehydration, and using medications to alleviate symptoms or control nausea.


In some cases, medication may be prescribed to help control vomiting in cats. These medications can include anti-emetics to reduce nausea and vomiting, medications to address inflammation or irritation in the digestive tract, or medications to manage any underlying systemic conditions.


In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove obstructions or correct structural abnormalities within the digestive system. This can be a more invasive treatment option but may be required for certain conditions that cannot be managed through other means.

Preventative Measures for Vomiting in Cats

Preventative Measures for Vomiting in Cats

Taking preventative measures can help reduce the occurrences of vomiting in cats and promote their overall digestive health. Here are some strategies to consider:

Feeding smaller meals more frequently

Feeding smaller meals more frequently can help prevent overloading a cat’s stomach and aid in better digestion. This can also help reduce the likelihood of them eating too quickly, which can contribute to vomiting.

Addressing food allergies

If your cat has been diagnosed with a food allergy, it is important to identify and eliminate the allergenic ingredient from their diet. This can help prevent allergic reactions and reduce the frequency of vomiting.

Using over-the-counter dietary supplements for hairball prevention

Hairballs can be a common cause of vomiting in cats, but there are over-the-counter dietary supplements available that can help prevent their formation. These supplements typically contain ingredients that promote healthy digestion and reduce the likelihood of hairballs.

By understanding the common causes of vomiting in cats, the differences between vomiting and regurgitation, and implementing preventative measures, you can help ensure your feline companion’s digestive health. Remember to consult with your veterinarian for a comprehensive assessment and appropriate treatment if your cat is experiencing frequent or persistent vomiting.

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