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Is it bad if cats eat their own vomit?

Have you ever caught your cat eating their own vomit and wondered if it’s a cause for concern? As a cat owner, you may have heard the saying that cats have nine lives, but can they stomach their own sick without any consequences? In this post, we’ll be diving into the intriguing world of feline vomit to explore whether or not it’s bad for cats to eat their own puke.

Simply put, vomit is what comes out of a cat’s stomach when they can’t digest their food properly. While it’s not a pleasant sight, vomiting is natural for felines and can be caused by anything from hairballs to dietary indiscretions. However, when cats start munching on their own regurgitated meals, pet owners start wondering if it could pose a risk to their health.

In this blog post, we’ll be examining why cats eat their own vomit and whether or not it’s considered normal behavior. Most importantly, we’ll delve into whether or not this habit could harm your furry friend. So sit tight, relax and get ready to learn more about the fascinating world of feline vomit.

The Instincts of Cats as Natural Predators and Scavengers

As natural predators and scavengers, cats have a strong instinct to hunt and consume prey, which includes both animals and insects. Their digestive system is designed to handle the bacteria and enzymes present in raw food, making it effortless for them to consume raw meat and other animal products without getting sick. However, this instinct also extends to their own vomit, which can be concerning for their owners.

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When cats eat their own vomit, they are essentially consuming partially digested food that has already been exposed to their stomach acid and digestive enzymes. While it may not necessarily be harmful for cats to eat their own vomit in all cases, there are some potential risks that owners should be aware of.

Firstly, if the cat has vomited due to an underlying health issue such as kidney disease or gastrointestinal problems, the partially digested food may contain harmful bacteria or toxins that can make the cat sick if consumed again. Further, if the cat has recently eaten something that is not safe for them to consume, such as chocolate or onions, eating their own vomit can lead to further health complications.

Despite these risks, there are experts who believe that there may be benefits to cats consuming their own vomit in certain situations. For example, if a cat is experiencing digestive issues or an upset stomach, consuming their own vomit may help to settle their stomach and aid in digestion.

To prevent any potential health complications, it is essential for owners to monitor their cat’s behavior and seek veterinary care if they notice any concerning symptoms or behaviors. Promptly cleaning up any messes and providing them with a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs can also discourage cats from eating their own vomit.

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Potential Health Risks Associated with Cats Eating Their Own Vomit

While it may seem like a harmless instinctual behavior, it can pose potential health risks to your beloved companion. As an expert in this field, I’ve compiled some research notes to help you understand the potential health risks associated with cats eating their own vomit.

First and foremost, one of the most significant risks associated with this behavior is the transmission of diseases. When a cat vomits, it can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, or parasites that can make your cat sick. If they eat their vomit, they are reintroducing these pathogens into their body, increasing their risk of infection. This can lead to severe health issues and even death if left untreated.

Moreover, frequent vomiting or other symptoms such as lethargy or loss of appetite may indicate underlying health issues. It’s essential to monitor your cat’s behavior closely and seek veterinary care immediately if you notice any concerning symptoms.

Another potential health risk associated with cats eating their own vomit is digestive issues. Vomit is acidic and can irritate the stomach lining if ingested in large amounts. This irritation can lead to vomiting and diarrhea, which can cause dehydration and nutrient deficiencies if left untreated. It’s crucial to monitor your cat’s behavior closely and seek veterinary care if they show any signs of digestive issues.

Furthermore, if a cat has recently consumed something toxic to them, such as plants or medication, and then vomits it up, eating the vomit can result in a double dose of the toxic substance. This can lead to severe illness or even death. Therefore, it’s crucial to keep an eye on your cat’s surroundings and prevent them from consuming anything that may be toxic to them.

Are There Benefits to a Cat Eating Its Own Vomit?

In fact, this natural behavior has several benefits that are worth examining.

For starters, cats are known for their impeccable grooming habits, and eating their own vomit is just another way for them to clean up after themselves. This helps keep their surroundings tidy and free of any unwanted smells.

But what about the nutritional benefits? Believe it or not, when a cat vomits, it often brings up undigested food or hairballs that can be re-eaten for additional nutritional value. This is especially important for outdoor cats who may not have regular access to food or have difficulty hunting.

Moreover, eating their own vomit can help cats settle an upset stomach and reduce nausea. This is particularly useful for cats with digestive issues or those who have undergone medical procedures that leave them feeling queasy.

However, as with any behavior, there are some risks involved. The primary concern is the possibility of the cat ingesting something harmful or toxic that wasn’t entirely digested the first time around. Additionally, if your cat is vomiting frequently or excessively, it could be a sign of an underlying health problem that needs to be addressed by a veterinarian.

How to Deter a Cat from Eating Its Own Vomit

Not only is it distasteful, but it can also pose health risks. Fortunately, there are several practical ways to deter your cat from indulging in this unsettling behavior.

Prompt Cleanup

The first and most crucial step in deterring a cat from eating their vomit is cleaning it up immediately. Cats have a natural instinct to eat whatever is in front of them, so removing the vomit as soon as possible is essential. Use paper towels or a cleaning solution to get rid of any traces of vomit and disinfect the area to prevent your cat from returning.

Optimize Their Diet

Cats may eat their own vomit because they’re not getting the proper nutrients they need from their current diet. Consult with your veterinarian to make sure your cat is getting the right type and amount of food for its age, weight, and health needs. Consider switching to a specialized diet designed for cats with sensitive stomachs or digestive issues to help reduce vomiting.

Use a Deterrent Spray

A deterrent spray is another effective way to discourage cats from eating their own vomit. These sprays contain natural ingredients such as bitter apple or citrus, which have a strong smell and taste that most cats find unpleasant. Applying the spray to the area where the cat has vomited or around their food dish can deter them from eating it.

Frequent Small Meals

Offering your cat frequent small meals throughout the day instead of one or two large meals can reduce overeating and decrease the likelihood of vomiting. Monitor your cat’s weight and adjust their food intake accordingly.

Behavioral Training

In some cases, behavioral training may be necessary to deter your cat from eating their own vomit. Teach your cat a “leave it” command and reward them when they comply. Consistency is crucial, so continue reinforcing this behavior over time.

Home Remedies for Upset Stomachs in Cats

If you have a feline friend, you know how they can sometimes experience an upset stomach. However, fret not. There are effective home remedies for upset stomachs in cats that can provide relief to your furry companion. Whether it is caused by overeating, ingesting something bad, or anxiety, these remedies can help alleviate the symptoms.

First and foremost, it is recommended to withhold food for at least 12 hours. This will give your cat’s digestive system time to rest and recover. After the fasting period, introduce small amounts of bland food such as boiled chicken or rice. Gradually increase the amount of food over a few days until your cat is back to their normal diet.

To prevent dehydration, offer your cat small amounts of water frequently. You can also give them Pedialyte or Gatorade diluted with water to replenish lost fluids. Keeping your cat hydrated is crucial as it can worsen the symptoms of an upset stomach.

Another effective remedy for an upset stomach in cats is probiotics. These are live bacteria and yeasts that are beneficial for your cat’s digestive system. You can find probiotics specifically formulated for cats at your local pet store or online. Adding probiotics to your cat’s diet can help improve digestion and reduce the symptoms of an upset stomach.

When to Consult a Veterinarian About Your Cat’s Vomiting Habits

While it’s common for cats to have an occasional hairball or upset stomach, it’s crucial to know when it’s necessary to seek veterinary care. So, when should you consider consulting a veterinarian about your cat’s vomiting habits?

Firstly, if your cat is vomiting more than once a day or if you notice blood in their vomit, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian right away. These symptoms could indicate a serious health issue that needs immediate attention. Other warning signs that require prompt medical attention include loss of appetite, lethargy or weakness, and dehydration. These symptoms can be signs of an underlying health problem that requires medical attention.

It’s also important to keep an eye out for any changes in your cat’s behavior. If they appear more irritable or lethargic than usual, it may be a sign that something is wrong.

If you do need to take your cat to the vet, be sure to provide them with as much information as possible about your cat’s vomiting habits. Keep track of any potential triggers like changes in diet or exposure to toxins. This information can help your veterinarian make a more accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment.

In addition, there are other situations where seeking veterinary care is necessary. These include vomiting accompanied by diarrhea or fever, sudden weight loss, difficulty breathing, and abdominal pain.

Common Causes of Vomiting in Cats

However, vomiting can be a common issue that can signal a more serious underlying problem. As an expert in the field, I want to share with you the top five common causes of vomiting in cats and how to address them.

Firstly, hairballs are a well-known culprit for causing vomiting in cats. As they groom themselves frequently, hairballs can accumulate in their stomachs and cause irritation. If you notice your cat frequently coughing up fur or vomiting, hairballs could be the cause. To prevent this, make sure to regularly brush your cat’s fur, provide them with hairball-preventing food and treats, or talk to your vet about other preventative measures.

Secondly, diet plays a crucial role in your cat’s digestive health. Sudden changes in diet or consuming certain foods can lead to upset stomachs and vomiting. To avoid this, provide your feline friend with a consistent and balanced diet. Avoid feeding them table scraps or human food, which can upset their stomach.

Thirdly, foreign objects such as toys or string can cause blockages in your cat’s digestive system and lead to vomiting. Keep an eye out for any toys or objects that your cat may have ingested and seek veterinary care immediately if necessary.

Fourthly, infections or illnesses such as kidney disease or inflammatory bowel disease can cause vomiting in cats. If you notice your cat is vomiting frequently and has other symptoms such as loss of appetite or lethargy, it’s important to schedule a visit with your vet. Early detection and treatment of these illnesses can prevent further complications.

Lastly, stress can also manifest itself physically in cats, including vomiting. If you’ve recently moved or there have been changes in your cat’s environment, they may experience stress that can lead to physical symptoms. Provide your cat with a comfortable and safe space and try to minimize any environmental stressors.

The Best Diet for a Cat Prone to Excessive Vomiting

Not only is it distressing for you, but it can also be uncomfortable and even painful for your cat. Fortunately, there are simple dietary changes you can make to reduce the frequency of vomiting episodes and improve your cat’s overall health.

If your cat is prone to excessive vomiting, one of the best diets to consider is a limited-ingredient diet. These diets contain a single protein source and a single carbohydrate source, reducing the likelihood of food sensitivities or allergies that can cause vomiting. Plus, they’re easier to digest and may help reduce the frequency of hairballs.

Another option worth exploring is a prescription diet formulated specifically for cats with gastrointestinal issues. These specialized diets are designed to include easily digestible proteins and carbohydrates, as well as added fiber to promote healthy digestion. It’s essential to consult with your veterinarian before switching your cat to a prescription diet.

In addition to choosing the right type of food, it’s crucial to feed your cat small meals throughout the day instead of one or two larger meals. This can help prevent vomiting due to overeating or stomach irritation from an empty stomach. Providing plenty of fresh water is equally important as it keeps your cat hydrated and aids in digestion.

To sum up, finding the right diet for your cat prone to excessive vomiting may take some trial and error, but it’s worth it to see your furry friend feeling their best. Work closely with your veterinarian and monitor your cat’s symptoms to determine what works best for them. Here are some additional tips:

  • Avoid feeding your cat table scraps or human food
  • Consider using puzzle feeders or slow feeders to prevent overeating
  • Consider adding probiotics or digestive enzymes to aid in digestion


In conclusion, while it may seem like a harmless habit, cats eating their own vomit can pose serious health risks. Consuming partially digested food that may contain harmful bacteria or toxins can lead to further medical complications. Therefore, it’s crucial to monitor your feline friend’s behavior and seek veterinary care if necessary.

However, there are instances where this behavior can be beneficial for cats. It can help settle an upset stomach and aid in digestion. As a responsible cat owner, you need to discourage this behavior by promptly cleaning up any messes and optimizing your cat’s diet with small frequent meals. You can also use deterrent sprays and provide behavioral training to prevent this habit from forming.

Moreover, understanding the common causes of vomiting in cats is essential in preventing future episodes. Feeding them a limited-ingredient or prescription diet formulated for gastrointestinal issues can go a long way in ensuring they stay healthy and happy. Avoid feeding them table scraps or human food as well.

By working closely with your veterinarian and keeping an eye on your cat’s symptoms, you can find the right diet for them and prevent any potential health problems down the road.