August 2019

Audience: Executive Leadership, Foster Caregivers, Public, Shelter/Rescue Staff & Volunteers, Veterinary Team

For some cats, an occasional, isolated episode of vomiting can be nothing to worry about. If your cat does not have any other signs of illness (e.g., fever, lethargy, not eating), it is best to be patient and continue to monitor your cat.

Signs that Your Cat Needs to See a Veterinarian

  • Vomiting beyond a day or two
  • Vomiting more than three times
  • Vomiting large amounts
  • Vomiting along with lethargy (weakness) and/or diarrhea
  • Vomiting with blood in it

What You Can Do in the Meantime

  • Do not feed your cat for 12 hours, then try feeding a tablespoon of a bland food (e.g., plain boiled chicken). If he/she keeps this food down, continue to feed frequent small amounts of bland food for a day or two. If your cat continues to vomit, withhold food until your cat can see a veterinarian.
  • Encourage your cat to drink small, frequent amounts of water so that he/she does not become dehydrated. Water fountains, running tap water, and adding tuna juice to water can entice your cat to drink water.
  • Look around your house for any evidence that your cat got into something that he/she should not have (e.g., chewed up plant leaves, your sewing box turned upside down, missing hair ribbons, garbage can is knocked over).
  • If your cat is new to your home, minimize stress by providing hiding places where your cat can retreat without being bothered by people or other pets.

Common Causes of Vomiting

  • Stress
  • Diet changes
  • Hairballs
  • Toxins like antifreeze, leaves of poisonous plants, certain medications
  • Swallowing objects like string, paper clips, rubber bands, etc.
  • Gastrointestinal conditions like constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, or intestinal obstruction

Treatment of Vomiting

  • Subcutaneous or intravenous fluid therapy
  • Medication to stop vomiting
  • Bland, easily digested diet once the vomiting has stopped

Helpful Links