How to Help a Cat or Kitten Vomiting Food, Worms or Blood

Vomiting by Cats or Kittens can be brought on by a variety of factors, including hairballs, overeating, parasitic worms, and / or toxins of poisons. It can be serious. Read below and learn how to help your cat or kitten. The tips below can help with cats that are gagging or if you need to induce vomiting in your cat.

Cat Vomiting Food

Dear Simba,
My cats have been vomiting after they eat. The problem is worse when they have hair balls but their vomit often does not contain any hair. The frequency with which they get sick fluctuates and we cannot make any sense out of it...they are otherwise healthy and have no problems. They never had this problem when they were kittens, it seemed to develop in their second or third year. We took them to the Vet to do blood tests and x-rays. He said there was no indication that anything was wrong. We changed their food from various brands (with a gradual change of course) with no success. Could their problem be behavioral or allergies or is it something else?? Karl

Dear Karl,
It is important that you monitor the vomiting and take notes of its consistency and frequency. There are many possible causes, here are some:


  • Could be stress...Consider where the cats eat and whether or not that is a highly trafficked / noisy area.


  • Overeating dry food can cause a cat to vomit...The reason is that dry food absorbs water and swells, this in turn causes your cat to vomit (your cats’ eating of wet food as kittens may explain some things). Check the vomit for a semi-solid-partly-digested appearance.
  • Another possibility is feline distemper, this is usually reflected in your cats vomiting a white or clear material (given the duration, this is unlikely for you).
  • Your cats may have an obstruction...x-rays should have detected this.
  • Worms can also cause vomiting
  • An overactive thyroid can cause vomiting as well

You might want to consider starting regular hair ball treatment and ensuring that their vomiting is not causing them to lose out on nutrients from their food. Simba

Cat Vomiting Clear Substance

I was in the hospital last week, for back surgery and was gone longer than expected. I have 5 babies and 4 of them tolerated my absence rather well. One of my babies is now sick. She is not used to me being away. I have had her since she was 3-days-old, and she has always been my very best pal..she will not let anyone but me pet her. I usually give my pets snacks in the evening, they are supposed to be good for their teeth. Otherwise they eat IAMS Healthy Naturals. They have never been outside, and I am worried sick.

My vet is going to send one of his assistants to visit her. I am just scared that I may lose her. I have had her and her brother for 15 years, and I worry all t he time when they get sick that their time is up.

What do you think about her throwing up? Her vomit is either clear, foamy, or the color of the snack that I feed them. it is called Whisker Lickin’s tartar control, which causes her vomit to look red. She is always had wonderful Vet care.

The only time we are parted is when my husband and I go on vacation once a year for about 2 weeks at a time. When we come home she is the one that cries for days at a end, and will not even let me go out without throwing a big fit. she is my most loved kitty, and she is very dependent on me. Could my departure have upset her, or do you think there is another reason for her vomiting? My vet is sending a tech over tonight to look her over and possibly take her in. I am worried to let her out of my sight. I contacted the flu while at the hospital, could she have gotten that from me? Precious' Person Donna

Dear Donna,
So very sorry to hear that Precious is not feeling well. I hope that by the time I am writing to you she is better and you are too. About the Flu, the cat flu is far different from the human kind and is not transmitted from people to cats or cats to people so do not worry that you may have gotten Precious sick.

Kitties are very sensitive creatures and it is possible that Precious may have been upset at your absence. However, vomiting is not something that is usually caused by this, it is the result of other factors, such as:
Your vet may want to perform tests for hyperthyroidism. He may also recommend a change in food or even an intestinal biopsy.

Best thing to do is let the vet do his work and let him find the cause. At 15 years Precious and her brother have lived long and happy lives. You must prepare yourself for their passing, but remember that you have other kitties that rely on you and love you. It is always very sad to lose friends, but that is because it was wonderful having them. Simba

Cat Vomiting Blood

Dear Simba,
I have a 10-year-old cat. Today she started vomiting blood…she did this twice. Do you know what kind of symptom this could be. She has always been a very healthy cat up until now. Thank you for any help that you can give me. Carol

Dear Carol,
There are a many possible causes of blood in vomit. These include intestinal parasites, gastric ulcers, respiratory tract infections, the ingestion of toxins / poisons, disease, bleeding disorders or foreign bodies into the intestinal tract, along with other causes. An isolated incident is not unusual. However, multiple and continued events may be cause for concern. Should you see that, a vet visit is definitely in order. Simba

Kitten Vomiting Worms

Dear Simba,
I have 3 kittens, their mother and a small dog. One of the kittens threw up several, 3 1/2-inch worms. They were long, round and thin. They seemed to curl up when they hit the air. Do I have to get rid of these cats to make sure my children and dog do not get sick? If not please tell me what I should do. - J

Hi J,
You do not have to get rid of the cats, but you do have to treat them soon. It appears as though your kitten may have Roundworm (and it is likely that his siblings and mother may be similarly infected). Please check out the Roundworm section for more details on causes, treatment and prevention

The risk of re-infection is lower now that you know. This is a treatable condition. Keep me posted. Simba

Cat is Gagging

Our 18-month-old cat has always had a coughing/gagging problem. Every so often she will have a fit where it sounds like she is coughing, dry heaving or gagging. Nothing ever comes up. I have taken her to the vet regarding this problem many times. They have done tests on her, taken x-rays and could never find anything wrong with her. What could be causing these periodic fits? Thanks Karen

Dear Karen,
One idea, your cat may be having problems swallowing her food. While dry cat food is great for dental health, it can swell in the esophagus and tummy when a cat ingests too much of it at once and then drinks water immediately afterwards. Watch out for the quantities of food you serve the little gal. If you are not doing so already, try breaking out her daily feeding to twice a day versus once a day. You can also try wet cat food since that will help you avoid the water-induced expansion problem. Keep me posted. Simba

Inducing Vomit in a Cat

We just found a stray kitten and with Halloween this last weekend, we had candy out and the kitten got into it and decided he loved chocolate. He has since eaten 2 fairly big pieces of chocolate. We thought it was very strange, but that was about it. I have always heard that chocolate is dangerous for dogs. But since this happened some people have told us they heard it is also dangerous for cats, now we are worried. Will this hurt the cat? What should we do? Kelly

Dear Kelly,
Chocolate is dangerous because it has theobromine. This substance is toxic to dogs and cats. It can cause accelerated heart beats and cardiac arrest. These can lead to death. Young kittens, with their developing intestinal tracks and small hearts are at greater risk. Please call your local animal hospital or vet ASAP, before there are symptoms. They can walk you through the steps needed to induce vomiting. Simba

Note: Please consult your vet or local animal hospital for all matters that require immediate attention. Also, do not ever feed your cat or kitten any food or drink containing chocolate and/or caffeine.

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