Why Do Cats Always Vomit In the Worst Possible Places?


Has this happened to you?

You get home from a long day at work and you’re about to relax in your favorite chair with a glass of your beverage of choice and read a book or melt your brain with some ridiculous TV shows. Just as you’re about to sit down, you notice it: a pile of cat puke right where you’re about to plunk your exhausted butt.

With a groan and a curse, you grab the paper towels, clean up the now-cold and excruciatingly gross mess, dab up as much of the liquid as you can, and then pile some towels on so said puke doesn’t make an embarrassing wet spot on your jeans.

It certainly happens to me.

Fortunately, my cats aren’t members of the frequent vomiters’ club, but when they do decide to upchuck, it’s always in the worst possible place.

My cats insist that the only reason they vomit on my pillow, my chair, or the carpet is because puking is so uncomfortable and scary that they seek solace in soft places. There may be some merit to this argument: Even if I manage to catch an upchucking cat in time to remove him or her from the inconvenient spot to a place like hardwood or vinyl floors, they always run right back to that soft spot and commence to hurling.

And if there’s a lot of hurling to be done, they run from one carpet to another until they’re done.

Blogger Abby Rosenberg believes that cats’ choice of vomiting locations could also have to do with better traction than a hardwood floor and an instinct to eject their stomach contents in an area where the puke would be easier to bury or hide. “Your carpet simply resembles more closely a place your cat would vomit in the wild than does your tile floor,” she writes.

I guess I buy this. After all, cats also bury their urine and feces. On the other hand, I’ve never seen a cat attempt to scrape imaginary dirt over a puddle of puke.

There are a lot of reasons cats vomit, and none of them have anything to do with their feelings toward you. Most of the time, the problem is pretty benign — maybe kitty ate too fast or ate something that irritated his stomach, or perhaps he has a hairball — but frequent vomiting can be a sign of health problems ranging from food sensitivities to kidney failure. It is not normal for cats to vomit every day, or even once a week.

My cats quit their membership in the frequent vomiters’ club once I began feeding them a more species-appropriate diet and brushing them on a regular basis to remove hair that they would ordinarily swallow. Bella vomits less often now that I put her meals in a slow-feed bowl: She takes a whole minute to finish her dinner rather than her former 30-second gnaw-fest.

Now, if I could just keep Thomas and Belladonna from cleaning up after Siouxsie on those days when she loses her lunch. Yuck!

Do your cats always seem to find the worst places to puke? Share your groan-worthy tales or success stories about rehabilitating your frequent vomiter in the comments.

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About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their award-winning cat advice blog, Paws and Effect, since 2003.

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