Is your cat vomiting? There are a few home remedies for cat vomiting that can help. However, if the vomiting is severe or accompanied by other potentially serious symptoms like abdominal pain, the presence of blood, profuse diarrhea, and weakness, stop reading now and call your veterinarian.
On the other hand, if your cat has just vomited a few times and seems to feel fine or only vomits occasionally, trying a home remedy or two before calling your vet makes sense.
There are many possible causes of vomiting in cats. Some common examples include:
- Ingesting household products, cosmetics, or medications that are poisonous1
- Inflammatory bowel disease and other gastrointestinal disorders
- Ingesting unusual foods or foreign material (string, for example)2
- Viral or bacterial infections
- Food intolerance or allergy3
- Diseases related to organ dysfunction such as diabetes,4 pancreatitis,5 and hyperthyroidism 6
- Intestinal parasites7
- A side effect of some types of medications, like NSAIDs8
Because many of these conditions are potentially very serious, it’s always safest to talk to your veterinarian before trying any of the four following home remedies for cat vomiting.
1. A Very Short Fast
Not offering food for a period of time is often recommended as a home remedy for vomiting, but cats are unique in this regard (and many others!). Cats who do not take in sufficient calories, even for relatively short periods of time, are at increased risk for a disease called hepatic lipidosis.9
With that said, it is fine to fast your cat for 8-12 hours. Skipping one meal won’t do any harm and can give your cat’s upset stomach a chance to empty and rest. But leave out fresh, clean water to prevent dehydration. Unlike dogs, cats will rarely overindulge with water. If your cat’s vomiting continues or if your cat is not willing to eat after 24 hours or so, give your veterinarian a call.
2. Bland Food
Feeding your cat bland, easy to digest food is another way to rest their gastrointestinal tract, but wait for at least 3 to 4 hours after their last vomiting episode.10 Initially, try offering a few small pieces of boiled white meat chicken (no skin or bones). If your cat keeps this down, you can continue to offer small portions every few hours and even mix in a little white rice. Bland cat foods that are easy to digest are also available from your veterinarian.
Slowly switch back to your cat’s regular food or a food for sensitive tummies (see below) once your cat seems to be back to normal. Chicken and rice is not nutritionally complete and balanced so don’t feed it alone for more than a few days. Gradually mix increasing amounts of cat food in with decreasing amounts of chicken and rice until your cat is eating only cat food after 3 to 5 days or so.
3. Feeding Your Cat Sensitive Stomach Cat Food
Photo courtesy: Pixabay Public Domain
Once your cat is ready to start eating regularly again, you may want to consider changing their diet. Switching to food that is specifically formulated to be easy on your cat’s stomach, such as high-quality sensitive stomach cat food, may help ease your cat’s discomfort. If your cat eats dry food, it’s also worth considering a change to an all wet food diet.
If you find that switching to sensitive stomach cat food does the trick, this may indicate that the reason your cat threw up is related to their diet. For example, they may have a dietary intolerance or an allergy to one or more ingredients.11
4. Hairball Remedies
Hairballs are a common cause of long term, intermittent vomiting in cats. If hairballs are the reason your cat is vomiting, a hairball remedy can help. However, if your cat brings up hairballs more than once every week or two, you should discuss the situation with your veterinarian. Frequent hairballs are often associated with health problems affecting the gastrointestinal tract or coat and skin.
Numerous hairball remedies are available for you to try out. One of the most common types is a hairball control gel that acts as a lubricant. Hairball control gels are flavored so that cats will (sometimes) readily lick them up. Never give your cat mineral oil, butter, lard, grease, or vegetable oils as a home treatment for hairballs. At best, they won’t work. At worst, they can make your cat very sick.
Brushing your cat more frequently and feeding a hairball prevention diet are good preventative measures for reducing hairballs in the future.12
When to Take Your Cat to the Vet
Photo courtesy: Pixabay Public Domain
When it comes to your cat vomiting (or exhibiting any health issues whatsoever, for that matter), it’s wise to err on the side of caution. Here is a general guide to help you decide when you should take your vomiting cat to the vet.
- If your cat could have swallowed something poisonous or hazardous contact your vet or the 24/7 Pet Poison Helpline immediately.
- If you have reason to suspect that your cat’s vomiting could be a symptom of a more serious health problem, your cat continues to vomit for several hours, or their vomiting is getting more severe, contact your vet.
- If your cat has been vomiting for more than a day or two, take them to the vet.13
Remember, while vomiting is a relatively common problem for cats, it shouldn’t be a regular occurrence. So if you notice your cat vomiting several times a month, take them to the vet, even if their vomiting isn’t severe.
Your vet will be able to evaluate your cat’s condition and give them a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.14
Pet News Daily uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
- ASPCA. Poisonous household products. Aspca.org. Accessed March 3, 2021.
- Animal Health Digest. Cat food: What’s okay and what’s dangerous. Aaha.org. Published March 12, 2019. Accessed March 3, 2021.
- Barnette C. Food allergies in cats. Vcahospitals.com. Accessed March 3, 2021.
- AAHA. Diagnosis and assessment. Aaha.org. Accessed March 3, 2021.
- AAHA. What is pancreatitis? Aaha.org. Accessed March 3, 2021.
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. Hyperthyroidism in cats. Vet.cornell.edu. Updated January, 2017. Accessed March 3, 2021.
- AAHA. 10 things you need to know about the AAHA/AVMA Preventive Healthcare Guidelines. Aaha.org. Accessed March 3, 2021.
- American Association of Feline Practitioners. Pain medication (NSAIDs) and your cat. Catvets.com. Accessed March 3, 2021.
- Brooks W. Hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) in cats. Veterinarypartner.vin.com. Published May 31, 2003. Updated June 12, 2018. Accessed March 3, 2021.
- Brooks W. Blah, blah, and more blah! Bland diet instructions for dogs and cats. Vcahospitals.com. Accessed March 3, 2021.
- Williams K, Downing R. Food intolerance in cats. Vcahospitals.com. Accessed March 3, 2021.
- Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital. How to prevent and treat hairballs. Vcahospitals.com. Published July 1, 2014. Accessed March 3, 2021.
- ASPCA. General cat care. Aspca.org. Accessed March 3, 2021.
- VCA Hospitals. Vomiting in cats. Vcahospitals.com. Accessed March 3, 2021.