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Why Did My Kitten Throw Up? 7 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

Written by: Patricia Dickson

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

British Chinchilla kitten throwing up

Why Did My Kitten Throw Up? 7 Vet-Reviewed Reasons


Dr. Nia Perkins Photo


Dr. Nia Perkins

Vet, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you have a kitten, you’ve most likely experienced waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of your little darling gagging and retching.

While all cats are known to vomit occasionally, it gets worrisome trying to figure out when you need to pull out the cleaning supplies because this is normal—or when you need to call the vet because it isn’t.

So, is it normal for your kitten to throw up? The short answer to this question is yes. However, it depends on the cause. In this list are a few of the most likely reasons for your kitten vomiting on the furniture, along with reasons that they might do this.

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The 7 Likely Reasons Your Kitten Threw Up

1. Hairballs

Hairballs are the most common reason that your kitten may vomit. The cause is built-up fur and hair from licking themselves all of the time. A normal hairball should not be painful for your cat to throw up.

However, there have been cases where a hairball has caused a blockage to form in a cat’s intestinal tract, which will require further intervention. So, keep an eye on your kitten’s hairballs, and make sure that vomiting isn’t happening constantly and that they’re in no discomfort when it does.

cat hairball
Image Credit: Montakan Wannasri, Shutterstock

2. Eating Something They Shouldn’t

Another likely cause of your kitten throwing up is eating something that they shouldn’t. For example, house plants are very appealing to kittens and adult cats too. However, eating part of a plant can cause an upset stomach or other complications.

Most of the time, your pet will throw up the offending plant afterward, but there are some plants, such as lilies, daffodils, and tulips, that are toxic to cats. If you think your kitten has gotten into a toxic plant, take them to the nearest vet right away for treatment, as these plants can be deadly when ingested.

3. Foreign Body

There’s no denying the fact that cats are curious, and they’ll put anything in their mouth or bat it around with their paws. So, keep an eye on any toys you give your kitten, as parts can easily break off and be swallowed.

Your kitten could end up throwing up because a small piece got lodged in their stomach or intestines. This can be uncomfortable and in some cases, require surgery if the foreign body doesn’t come out on its own.

Young cat fighting with scorpion
Image Credit: sinsamut ku, Shutterstock

4. Infection

Gastrointestinal infections are common in kittens. While they are usually short lived, they need to be treated if your kitten is throwing up so much that they could be suffering from dehydration.

It’s best to get your kitten to a vet if you suspect an infection. They can tell you whether the infection is bacterial or viral and treat it accordingly. If the infection is viral, you must isolate and disinfect any toys, food and water bowls, and bedding that your kitten was using for safety’s sake, especially if you have other pets in the home.

5. Parasites

No pet parent wants to think of their tiny kitten having parasites that are making them throw up, but it does happen. While internal parasites are uncommon, they can happen to kittens that haven’t been given antiparasitic treatments.

It is possible that you’ll find worms in the vomit. If you do, it means the parasites are serious, and your pet needs to be seen by a vet. Make sure to take pictures of the vomit so your vet can determine what type of parasite it is, which will make it easier for them to treat your darling cat and make them well once again.

6. Food Allergy

It is possible for your kitten to suffer from a food sensitivity, which can lead to stomach problems and throwing up. Remember, kittens already have sensitive stomachs, so don’t introduce them to new foods too often.

If the throwing up persists, there are numerous tests your vet can do to determine just what your kitten is allergic to. However, these tests take time, so it’s best to feed your kitten food that’s meant for sensitive stomachs until your vet can find out what the problem is and make a food recommendation for you.

7. Travel Sickness

Cats don’t travel in cars often, at least not as much as dogs do. So, if you’ve moved recently or just brought your kitten home, they might have an upset stomach due to the traveling. This sickness can include throwing up, nausea, and even drooling.

If you’re going to be traveling with your furry friend, and they experience any of the mentioned signs, speak with your veterinarian to see if anti-nausea and/or anti-anxiety medication might be helpful. They will also help determine the proper dosage needed.

kitten in crate
Image Credit: Evgeniya Tomashevskaya, Shutterstock


When Should You Worry?

While throwing up is fairly common for kittens, you still worry and want to know when you should call the vet. If you see the following signs in your kitten, it’s best to call your veterinarian right away.

  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Changes in litter box habits
  • Appetite loss
  • Changes in behavior and health

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These are just a few likely reasons for your kitten throwing up. In most cases, vomiting occasionally isn’t anything serious. However, if it happens consistently, you should make an appointment with your vet. They will help determine what the problem is and how it can be treated so that your furry feline can be happy and healthy once again.

Featured Image Credit: Maksim Safaniuk, Shutterstock

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