Having a kitten that’s throwing up can be pretty stressful. Because there are so many reasons why kittens vomit, it can be difficult to figure out what’s going on.
While most cases of kitten vomiting are relatively innocuous, throwing up can also be a sign that something is seriously wrong.
Learning the signs of serious issues is the first step towards unnecessary trips to the vet. It is also important because it will help you to know when a veterinary visit is necessary.
In this article, we’ll cover the following:
It’s a fact of life: kittens throw upsometimes. Kittens have sensitive digestive systems and are susceptible to minor digestive upset.
The key with vomiting in kittens is to be able to recognize when it’s a big deal and when it isn’t.
Overeating is probably the most common cause of throwing up in kittens. Young kittens will often eat very quickly and enthusiastically which can cause them to vomit. If this is the case, simply offer your kitten their food in small portions and monitor them until they can restrain themselves.
Kittens may also vomit if they ingest something that doesn’t agree with them or that they aren’t able to successfully digest. One of the main culprits is milk, which many kitten owners incorrectly think is good for their furry friends.
Kittens lack the digestive enzymes to properly digest lactose, so even though they like the taste of it, milk can often make them feel ill. If your kitten throws up after drinking milk simply don’t offer it to them again.
In these cases, it’s probably not necessary to bring your kitten to the vet unless the vomiting continues. One or two instances of vomiting is relatively normal, so there’s no need to panic unless your kitten vomits continuously or shows other signs of illness.
There are some instances where vomiting absolutely necessitates a visit to the vet, however. There are a few signs to watch out for:
If you suspect your kitten has ingested a foreign object, gotten into a toxic substance, or has ingested something poisonous such as a toxic plant, household cleaning products, or pest control products, contact your vet immediately.
Your kitten may also be vomiting if they have a virus. Kittens are susceptible to viruses, so it’s not uncommon for them to contract something and subsequently throw up. Most viral infections will clear up on their own within a few days, but if your kitten throws up for more than 24 hours or isn’t drinking or eating, which can lead to dehydration, bring them to the vet right away.
Your kitten may also be infected with a parasite, another comment kitten ailment. If you suspect a parasite, bring your kitten to the vet for proper treatment and don’t try to treat them at home. Worms can be deadly to young kittens if not properly and promptly treated.
It’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to kittens and vomiting. Kittens can become dehydrated easily when they are throwing up. So, if your kitten isn’t drinking it’s crucial to bring them to the vet immediately.
If your kitten has access to grass, either outside in the yard (always supervised) or in the form of cat grass, they may eat it if their stomach is upset.
While some people think that grass makes cats feel nauseous and throw up, the truth is actually the opposite. Kittens will eat grass to ease the effects of nausea.
If your kitten throws up some regular grass, it’s probably not a big deal. If you suspect your kitten has ingested some other sort of plant, it’s best to bring them to the vet unless you recognize the plant and are 100% sure its non-toxic.
Kittens will occasionally eat more than is good for them. Kittens also have a tendency to eat very quickly, especially if their food is tasty. In fact, kittens are more likely to overeat wet food than dry food.
It’s a good idea to get your kitten used to eating a high-quality dry kitten food such as Blue Kitten Healthy Growth, which lists meat as the first ingredient. Kittens are less likely to engorge themselves on dry food, which means a lower chance of throwing up.
If your kitten vomits after eating once or twice, it’s probably nothing to worry about. Sometimes kittens will overeat and vomit.
If, on the other hand, your kitten consistently throws up after eating you should bring them to the vet to rule out any underlying causes.
If your kitten throws up you should monitor them carefully. Clean up the vomit and don’t let them eat it. While dogs are more likely to ingest their own vomit than cats are, some kittens will try to take a bite or two.
Cleaning up the vomit right away is the best way to ensure that they don’t reintroduce whatever made them sick into their system. Use an enzyme cleaner, such as Earthworm Pet Stain Remover, to make sure to clean up thoroughly. This is especially useful for carpet.
Monitor your kitten carefully for signs of illness, such as:
If your kitten vomits more than once or twice, it’s best to bring them to the vet to make sure they haven’t contracted a virus, a parasite, or some other serious illness.
If your kitten has simply overeaten, try to feed them more frequent meals in smaller quantities.
If you suspect your kitten has ingested something toxic, bring them to the vet right away.
For less serious incidents of vomiting, the best thing to do is offer your kitten plenty of water and refrain from feeding them for a few hours to give their digestive system a chance to recover. Encourage your kitten to relax and keep a close eye on them.
If your kitten doesn’t seem better or continues to throw up, you should bring them to the vet. Because excessive vomiting can lead to death in young kittens, mostly because of dehydration, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
Kittens throw up for a variety of reasons. Most of the time it isn’t serious, but it can be. Kittens usually vomit because they overate, had something that didn’t agree with them, exercised too vigorously after eating, have a virus, or have a parasite.
Watch your kitten very closely if you notice them vomiting. If you notice any other sign that something is amiss, take them to the vet right away.
And don’t forget to clean up! Using an enzyme cleaner such as Earthworm Pet Stain Remover reduces the chance that the vomit will leave an odor or a stain, and cleaning up quickly ensures that your kitten doesn’t have a chance to eat the vomit.
Do you have a kitten that constantly tosses his or her cookies? Was it something serious, or simply a fact of kittenhood? Do you have any tips of how to handle a kitten that throws up after overeating? Let us know in the comments!
After moving to New York City from Rome, Italy, I began working in the nonprofit world. Despite my day job, my passion has always been animals, especially dogs and cats, and writing. What better way to combine the two? I’ve been a pet owner for 15 years, and my menagerie includes dogs, cats, hamsters and the occasional hermit crab. My beloved cat, Mozart, who I found as a newborn kitten, sparked my love for felines and is now nearly 15 years old. I am an enthusiastic volunteer at the local ASPCA, where I enjoy spending time with the cats and cleaning up after the dogs. I’ve been writing about pet ownership and care for the past five years.