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Do Cats Vomit When Stressed? Cat Behavior Explained

Cat vomiting
Image Credit: Tunatura, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Christian Adams

Cats are sensitive animals, so they can become easily frustrated or anxious by the things happening around them. Did you ever notice your cat acting strange and then vomiting afterward? If so, there’s no reason to worry.

Vomiting is a normal reaction when your feline becomes overly stressed. That’s why you should know how to recognize stressful behavior in your cat and help it when it’s anxious. We will talk more about the subject to explain why cats vomit when they’re stressed and how to react to help your cat.

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Why Do Cats Vomit When Stressed?

When a cat is stressed or upset, vomiting can easily happen. The reason why vomiting occurs is that a cat’s stomach motility changes when they’re anxious. It’s important to notice all signs of a stressed kitty and try to relieve their anxiety.

Cat vomiting
Image by: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

What to Do When My Cat Vomits?

The first thing you should do is stay calm and take your pet to the vet. They will examine your cat and check the underlying cause of the issue. If the reason was stress, you should take care of your kitty at home. If there were more significant issues you weren’t aware of, the vet would prescribe a treatment and the next checkup for your feline.

Once your cat is taken care of, clean the vomited area in your home to ensure the site is disinfected. Try to practice prevention as much as possible and try to reduce and manage your kitty’s stress.

When exposed to too much stress, your cat can quickly become physically and emotionally unwell, leading to potentially severe health issues. Always keep a close eye on your kitty’s behavior and take action whenever you notice alarming signs. The sooner you realize something strange is going on with your cat, the faster you’ll be able to resolve the issue.

Below we’ll explain more about how to tell when your cat is stressed and which signs can show that your kitty is dealing with anxiety.

How to Tell When My Cat Is Stressed?

Cats are very subtle, so sometimes, it can be hard to know if your feline is stressed or not. Still, there are both behavioral and physical symptoms you can observe if your cat is annoyed or anxious. Below you can see some common signs of an upset cat.

Behavioral signs
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Excessive scratching
  • Too much meowing
  • Urinating outside of their usual spot
  • Increased dependency
  • Hiding
  • Too much grooming
  • Pacing
  • A noticeable change in your feline’s typical behavior

Physical signs
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny nose
  • Poor appetite
  • Excessive drinking or eating
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Not urinating as frequently as usual
  • Sores or bald patches on the skin
persian cat eating dry food
Image Credit: Patrick Foto, Shutterstock

Other than the signs we mentioned, there are other indicators that your cat is feeling anxious. The most common ones are:

Physical signs
  • Frequent head shaking
  • Staring at one spot for long periods
  • Wide-open eyes with dilated pupils
  • Twitching skin on the back

The best way to help your kitty deal with stress is to anticipate which situations can be stressful and try to prevent them.

What Causes Stress for Cats?

cat lying on the floor hiding behind the curtain
Image Credit: Mantikorra, Shutterstock

Like us, every cat is an individual.

Therefore, not all the same situations will make all cats stressed. Still, everyday situations can aggravate cats, so check them out below. We also provided a possible solution for these circumstances.

Stressful situationSolution
Other pets


If you have a new pet in your home, try to introduce them slowly and patiently so that the cat can relax and feel safe.


Since moving can be stressful for cats, if possible, leave your feline with a friend or someone you can trust and then gradually introduce them to your new home.
Change in daily routine


Changes can be challenging for cats, so it might be best to try and accommodate their needs as usual. That said, even when there are significant changes, try to feed your cat or play with them at a regular time so that they’re less nervous.
Home renovations


Home renovations can be very noisy, and there will be unfamiliar people in your home. To keep your feline happy, try to create a peaceful environment in one room where they can get away when they feel anxious. Put familiar things in the room as that will help your cat calm down.


Advise your guests to allow your cat to decide if it will approach them or not. If your cat likes treats, have them give it a treat so that your cat can relax quicker.

Your cat can also become nervous if there are a lot of cats in the neighborhood or if you have other cats it doesn’t like. The important thing is to realize what triggers them so that you can react promptly.


How Do I Relieve My Cat’s Stress?

Since kitties can become aggravated easily, you need to know how to help them relieve their stress. There are a couple of different things you can do to help them cope with stressful situations.


Although this seems obvious, ensure your cat has everything it needs. That means having a bowl of water, food, a clean kitty litter box, and a scratcher. Create designated areas for food and water, playing, and the kitty bathroom. Your cat will be happy knowing that they have everything they need.

Peaceful mealtime

Your kitty should eat quality food and should have peace during mealtimes as much as possible. Ensure that the place where your cat eats is clean, choose a food bowl that’s appropriately sized for your feline, and locate it in a peaceful area that doesn’t have high traffic. Try to place the water bowl nearby so that your kitty can easily drink if they get thirsty.

hepper pod bed nom nom bowl himalayan cat eating

Social interaction

Never push or force your cat to interact. Instead, allow them to do things at their own pace. If you want to hold them but you notice that they’re not too thrilled about the idea, let them go. Be patient and allow your kitty to make decisions for itself. You’ll probably notice your cat likes you more when it can decide the course of interactions.


Fun playtime has a positive effect on cats, and it reduces stress. To keep your cat stimulated, you can purchase fun toys, set up tunnels, or any other activity your cat might enjoy. Be consistent and try to have playtime at the same time every day to create a healthy routine.

cat playing with owner
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

Less-stressful transitions

Whenever you know there will be a transition or a change in your life, try to help your cat gradually go through everything. Create baby steps that will help your cat adjust to anything new smoothly. Your kitty will be happy knowing you took an extra effort to make them feel safe and less nervous.

Kitty-adapted environment

Cats love to play but to do that, they need an environment that’s adapted to their needs. Invest in cat trees, perches, or anything else where your cat can climb and relax. Also, create hiding spots where your cat can unwind if they become nervous. When a cat has all the resources they need and are in a calming environment, they will undoubtedly be less stressed.

sphynx cat in hepper pod 2

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Tips for Keeping Your Cat Healthy

All the things we mentioned that relieve stress for a cat will also help her be healthier. Other than that, the most important thing for keeping your cat healthy is regular vet checks. It’s best to catch a potential medical problem early so that you can resolve it quickly. Also, ensure that you provide good nutrition, regular grooming, dental and nail checks to your kitty.

Make vet visits less stressful

Vet visits can be another trigger for your cat, so although you need to do them to keep your cat healthy, you should think of a strategy to make them less stressful. The first thing you would need to do is familiarize your cat with the carrier and make it feel comfortable when inside. When you’re at the vets’, keep the carrier in your lap or next to you and avoid putting it on the floor. If possible, bring a toy or a treat to distract your cat if it starts feeling anxious.

cat is being checked by a vet
Image Credit: Maria Sbytova, Shutterstock

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Although it can be stressful for you to watch your cat vomiting when dealing with stress, you need to stay calm and try to tend to your cat as quickly as possible. To prevent these situations from happening, try to practice prevention and relieve stress when you notice possible triggers for your cat.

See also:


Featured Image Credit: Tunatura, Shutterstock

About the Author

Christian Adams
Christian Adams
Christian is the Editor-in-Chief of Excited Cats and one of its original and primary contributors. A lifelong cat lover, now based in South East Asia, Christian and his wife are the proud parents of an 11-year-old son and four rescue cats: Trixie, Chloe, Sparky, and Chopper.

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