When A Cat’s Vomiting Becomes Serious

Cats have a reputation for their vomiting, especially when it's due to hairballs. The reality is that cats will often throw up and there's nothing seriously wrong with them. However, vomiting can also be a warning sign of something more problematic. If you have trouble distinguishing between "normal" cat vomiting and something that's a warning sign, read on to learn what you should look for in your cat's behavior.

Continuous or Repeated Vomiting

If your cat throws up and then returns to normal behavior, chances are there's nothing seriously wrong with them. However, if your cat throws up more than once or continues to gag after throwing up, there's most likely a more serious problem.

The cause of continuous vomiting can vary, but a couple of potential problems are gastrointestinal blockages and kidney disease. Cats try to throw up hair that they can't digest, but if it's become stuck in your cat's esophagus or intestinal tract, they may gag because they can't get it out of their body. Kidney disease can also cause gagging or repeated vomiting, as it tends to make cats nauseated.

Won't Eat or Drink

If your cat throws up but is in generally good health, chances are they'll return to drinking and eating in a short time. However, if your cat doesn't show interest in food or won't drink, you need to get your cat to a vet. Dehydration and starvation can cause even an otherwise healthy cat to die in a short period of time. Even if your cat is carrying a few extra pounds, don't count on them subsisting off their weight — cats can develop fatty liver disease if they're forced to rely on their fat reserves to survive.


Nobody feels good after throwing up, and that includes cats. However, if your cat continues to be lethargic, you may need to get medical attention. Allowing your cat a little time to rest after throwing up is perfectly fine, but if your cat is still asleep hours later or won't get up to eat, drink, or use the litter box, there's something wrong.

At the end of the day, it's better to visit your vet and find out that you're worrying over nothing than to ignore your cat's symptoms. If you suspect that your cat is acting oddly and has recently thrown up, a check-up can't hurt. In fact, it could even save their life.