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My cat won't stop vomiting: what to do and when to worry

As a cat owner, seeing your beloved pet repeatedly vomiting can be distressing. It's important to differentiate between normal furball hacking and serious vomiting issues. Understanding the causes and when to seek veterinary help can significantly affect your cat's health.

Cat Vomiting

Like humans, cats can have an upset stomach for various reasons. There could be several causes for your cat's upset tummy, such as parasites, viruses, a bad reaction to certain foods, or even more serious conditions like organ problems or cancer. If your cat vomits frequently or more than once a month, it's important to take them to the vet. They can conduct a full physical exam and develop a treatment plan. 

Normal Furball Hacking vs. Vomiting

Furball Hacking 

Cats groom themselves meticulously, ingesting a lot of fur in the process. Occasionally, this fur forms into a ball in the stomach, which the cat needs to expel. When a cat hacks up a furball, it’s usually accompanied by retching and hacking sounds, and you'll often see a cylindrical mass of fur once it's expelled. Furball hacking is generally not a cause for concern unless it becomes frequent.


On the other hand, is the forceful ejection of the stomach's contents, including food, bile, or other substances. If your cat keeps vomiting food or if it keeps vomiting more than once a week, it might indicate a more serious issue that requires attention.

Other Serious Conditions That May Cause Vomiting in Cats

  • Intestinal foreign bodies
  • Food allergies
  • Poisoning
  • Intestinal Parasites
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Metabolic Disorder (i.e., Kidney Disease)

When to Worry About Your Cat's Vomiting

If your cat is vomiting occasionally or infrequently, it's best to withhold food for about 12 hours. Then, give your cat a few tablespoons of water every 30 minutes or offer ice cubes.

After the 12 hours, start giving your cat small portions of bland food and gradually resume their regular feeding routine if the vomiting has stopped.

If your cat is experiencing repeated bouts of vomiting, contact your vet immediately. Continuous or severe vomiting could be a sign that your cat is seriously ill and requires immediate emergency treatment. Contact your vet if your cat displays any of the symptoms below:

  • Repeated vomiting
  • Blood in vomit 
  • Weakness / Lethargy
  • Pain / Distress
  • Fever
  • Blood in stool 


When taking your cat to the vet because of vomiting, bringing a sample of the vomit with you is a good idea. Your vet can examine the sample to help determine the cause of your cat's upset stomach.

  • Large amounts of mucus in your cat's stomach could indicate an inflamed intestine.
  • Undigested food can indicate poisoning, anxiety, or simply a sign that your cat has eaten too much or too quickly.
  • If bile is present in your cat's vomit, it may indicate pancreatitis or inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Red blood is a sign that your cat's stomach may be ulcerated.
  • An intestinal obstruction may cause your cat's vomit to smell strongly.


The treatment for cat vomiting depends on the underlying cause of the symptoms. In some cases, it may be necessary to withhold food for 12-24 hours and then gradually reintroduce a bland diet such as boiled chicken or prescription gastrointestinal food.

If the vomiting persists, the vet may prescribe anti-nausea medication and provide subcutaneous or intravenous fluids to rehydrate the cat. Additional tests may be needed to check for underlying conditions such as hyperthyroidism, diarrhea, or inflammatory bowel disease.

Working closely with your veterinarian and following these steps can help effectively manage and treat your cat’s vomiting to ensure its health and well-being.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Has your cat been vomiting consistently? Contact our Ceres vets to book an appointment.

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