What pet owners do when they hear their cat starting to vomit - Comments

Cats

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Maureen - He always does this EARLY in the morning. It wakes me from a dead sleep the minute he starts gaging. I jump up, pick him up and hold my hand under his mouth as I rush him to the bathtub. He's normally done by the time we reach the bathtub.

Cheryl L. C. Cats are going through enough stress when they pass a hairball having it coming through their already lodged area. So when they finally pass it they do not "pick a place" they simply are finally letting it release itself from themselves. Therefore I do NOTHING and allow the cat to let it go and I wait till it's done, and then, and only then, go clean it. Think of it this way........when you vomit - would YOU like to be moved in the middle of it coming out as it does into the toilet bowl or bucket in front of YOU? Hmmmmm?????

Gale - Sometimes I try to push gently on his intestines in the hope that this will help
the hairball come up. It seems to help but I always wish I knew if I was doing the right thing.

Anne - I'll let my girls hack it up and not chase them. If they're close enough, I might give them a comforting rub on their head or shoulders and actually make encouraging, soothing noises to let them know it's ok. Then I let it dry for a few minutes, go get a wet wash cloth, and some damp ones, pick up the mess, soak up what I can (yay for stain resistant rugs), and then carefully 'blot clean' the rest.

Andy - I figure it's better to let them know it's okay and they're not in trouble than scare them even more by yelliing, chasing them, or even stressing myself over it. After all, I can clean it up after! :)

Toni - I know the "Spewing of the 'ball" is a good thing, so I become like a huge cheerleader, "Get it up, Baby! C'mon! Get it up!". In my demented mind, this makes the situation an exciting sports-like activity. Works for me.

Sandra - I always go & sit with Crystal to reassure her, in case she needs help, as I know she hates these darn things. Afterwards she always fusses me & says thank you for being there. I look on her as my baby & you would go & see if the baby was ok, so why not with your cat. I truely love her & she knows that I will do anything for her.

Lynn - I usually groan as i know i can clean up another mess, but better up than left in-happens to all of us-lol-

Tracey B. - I let Brady know its ok as I clean it up right away. Horrible sight to see him go through the motions. He always acts weird after, keeps going back to the area, like he is embarrsed.

Terry- I read about butter being good for the cat as helping the hairball to pass the other way so I started giving my 2 babies butter on a finger or put on their paw when they start the coughing and gagging and it stops it every time and then It gets it going the other way. I'd rather scoop it from the litter box than pick it up from the carpet. If anyone knows better that this isn't a good idea I'd appreciate a response to this. But it works or seems to work for my 2 brothers (3 yr old babies brought/sneaked into my house and under my bed by a stray).

Ellie - I know how stressful it is for him, so I let him cough it up on his own without scaring him. Then I pick Cisco up, give him a lots of love and a little massage and let him know that it is OK. The worst thing one can do is scare their cat, as we know as humans that when you are gagging, you do not need anyone interfering. Afterward, I give him a little bit of butter, so that his tummy feels better. Then, I clean up the hairball. We have to realize that our "babies" are not humans, and you cannot explain to them what happened. All you can do is reasure them. Cisco, a Siamese loves to get "brushes" so I make sure that I do not forget to brush him as often as I can.

Ellen - If I am close, I try to slip a magazine or newspaper under her into the "catch zone" without scaring her. Sometimes that works. Most usually I hear her at the other end of the house or during the night. She seems to know not to puke hairballs onto the Persian Rugs and keeps to the hard surface areas, or my shoes. Oh well, it's part of owning a cat. I figure that if I can't tolerate her natural behaviors, then I shouldn't have cats.

Dave - It's probably a personal thing, so I try to pretend I'm not there... then just clean up afterwards... if they want attention, I'll give them attention and mumble soothing things, but try not to overdo it. I figure if I make a big deal out of it, it'll be an even bigger deal for my cats.

Zena - I leave mine alone, as I'm sure it's better out than in!! I've also found that rather than trying to clean it up right away, it's usually best to let it dry out and then hoover it out of the carpet as this way it doesnt tend to stain

Kiernan- Our lovely boy has had a cholecystoduodenostemy surgery (he nearly died) so he has more problems handling hairballs than he did in the past. He howls for us before he spews so we know when it's coming--usually 3 am! We only move him to a hard surface if one is nearby. Not too much fun to have a puke delivered to your bed! Instead we keep wet wipes and paper towels on hand to clean up the mess. We cheer him softly on telling him he's such a good boy for getting up the nasty hair ball. Afterwards he always looks brighter and has more pep and bounce. But he gives every indication that it reassures him to have his parents involved and caring for him. Like any kid ;-)

Rhonda- We give our five cats petromalt. It's a hairball remedy that works great and they love it. I put it on my finger and they lick it off. We try to brush our cats because they are long haired as much as possible. I also try to talk to them softly and rub their throat if necessary. Or just try to put a paper towel if I can.

Tess- I normally rush over to her quietly so as not to disturb her process of elimination and then when she is finished, I pet her gently as it seems to soothe her. The good news is, I have hard wood floors through out my home and tiled bathrooms so the clean up is very easy.

Sara - My cat takes forever to cough up a hairball. Like 10-15 hacks. I don't rush, and he knows I will come pick him up and move him. It's just our routine.

Sue - I wait for him to do what he has to do where ever he wants to do it.... its not his fault is it poor thing then cleam up... lucky i have wodden floors, even if i didnt I would not move him......

Suzanne - I try to comfort and help my precious kitty when this happens. I try to stay calm because I'm always afraid she will choke. I would never grab her and rush her to a different area. That sounds too cruel.

Dixie - If I'm close by I'll lay a paper towel or napkin in front of him/them. I have two cats. My vet told me that a little olive oil in their food on occasion is good to help keep them cleaned out. I would much rather have to deal with cleaning a fur ball up than deal with a sick furbaby that couldn't expel one. Been there, done that, and do NOT want the t-shirt.

Katja - I usually do a little kitty heimlich maneuver on my cats to help them get it out. I do tummy massages on all the cats to help them keep hairballs moving through their systmes. It works and they love it.

Tre- To a previous respondent - yes I would like it very much if someone moved me to a toilet or bucket when I am about to vomit. I do not employ the snatch and run technique but I do "encourage" them to move off of cloth or carpeted surfaces (luckily we have hard wood down stairs and tile in the upstairs so there is always a good surface near by). Once they get to that place I try to help them. My Duffy likes when I rub under his neck and always tries wrapping around me in the aftermath while I clean. My Onyx on the other hand just wants to know you are there, like he is scared of it or something, all I do is pet a small portion of his back until he finishes. He is our "King of the Household" and as such watches me clean the mess with an appraising stare. When the mess is cleaned and I move away from the defiled area he will come reward me and allow me to place my hands upon his fur....lol

Tina - If they're in bed with me then I try to move them quickly to the floor, and talk to them calmly letting them know it's ok and momma's right there to help them. Anywhere else, I let them do what they have to do quietly and then momma talks to them and loves on them, then cleans it up, lol....after all, thats what momma's do. :)

Wendell - Nothing. I'd love to answer "Pretend you didn't hear it and hope someone else cleans it up", but it's just me and the cat, so that doesn't work. I'm just glad I have tile floors. I never liked carpeting, anyway.

Betty Crisp - I don't want Felix to think he is doing something wrong, so I just leave him to get rid of the hairball. He always looks guilty afterwards, like he has done something wrong.

Lorre - When my Sami Himalayan/Persian mix, or Kiki Long hair Calico (both rescued) start to expell hairballs, I walk over to them and gently place my hands on each side of their rib cage to lend a relaxing and supportive feel to their plight. At the same time, I talk/whisper soothingly to them and that relaxes them. If they are on the carpet (thick pile, sighh) I let them do it right there... afterwards putting a paper towel over it to let it dry AND keep me from stepping on it. Once dry, it is so easy to pick up and dispose of, and no staining. I have noticed lately that they don't get hairballs as often as before and I credit that to their love of a few licks of butter every day, and they both love mayonnaise too. They are definitely my babies... and we have an ongoing love affair....

Andie- I run to get her laxatone. She loves it. She knows when she starts to come to me and i bring her a spoon of laxatone and she laps it all up. i guess it makes her feel better and she's never coughed one up yet.

Bridget - Why do they always go for the CARPET?!?!

Reddwine - I want my kittys to be as comfortable as possible thru this painful ordeal. I run to grab a towel to put under them. It would only be messy and cruel to grab her and run with her.

Cat-Lover- When a hairball is eminent, I slowly approach the cat. I keep quiet and do not move it. I reach out and put my hand on its back, talking quietly and soothingly. I don't let it move away from me - but am always calm while looking for choking and ultimate danger. When the episode is over I pick up the cat, cuddle with it and continue to talk in the same vocal tone. After a few minutes I put the cat back on the floor and clean up the mess. I never worry about the carpet or furniture. They can be cleaned. When I have any animal in distrees, they are more important to me than any replacable inanimate object.

Tom - I tried to move my cat when she was coughing up a sausage one time and she made such a horrible noise, I never tried again.

Kat- My lord, the poor babies are feeling bad enough as it is without being yanked up and moved aroundand glared at. They are just innocent animals that feel like crap when they're puking just like you would. All u need to do is keep a magazine, newspaper or even a cheap plastic placement around and slip it under them to catch what you can, and don't scare them or yell - and afterwords be NICE to them, clean off their little mouth and wash the placemat or throw out the newspaper. And if they still get your carpet messy, try having a human child and cleaning up it's messes for 20 years. You will opt for the cat, believe me.

Katy- Wow, I am so grateful to see so many people love their cats the way I do. My cats are my babies, and I just want them to know it's okay. I mean, after a very difficult surgery, I am often sick to my stomach nowadays, so why should I get mad at them when they are? I think people who love animals are better people for it. :)

Purringkat - We place a paper towel under our cats' mouths.

Cookie's Mom- I just sit with them and pet them and try to calm them while they are actually in the act of throwing up. It's wonderful to see that others do the same and actually take the cats' feelings into consideration. It's bad enough to be throwing up, but to have your parent pick you up and move you while you're retching your guts up....not a nice thing to do, any more than we'd like to have someone do that to us when we're in the process up vomiting. I found a great product..."Kids n' Pets", which is non-toxic to our babies and great for removing stains from carpet. The only place that I can find it locally is our K-Mart. Makes clean-up a breeze. So remember...the next time your kitty is throwing up....put yourself in their place and ask yourself.....would I want someone picking me up and moving me while I'm in the process of throwing up? I think not. I think we'd either want to be left alone, or to be comforted by a gentle pat on the back or holding our forehead......I'm sure kitties are the same, at least mine seem to be soothed and appreciate the fact that I do that when they are in the process of throwing up a hairball.

Becky R. - This question gave me a chuckle! I had two kitties who regarded tossed up hairballs as trophies to show off. One would leave (heave) them in front of the toilet so I would see it, often AFTER stepping on it, first thing in the morning. My calico liked to deposit treasures in shoes. The paper balls were cute, the hairballs not so much. I got a door-mounted shoe rack. My skittish kitten had her first barf a couple of weeks ago. We were changing to "Taste of the Wild" and that new venison flavor was so yummy she picked out all (obviously way too many!) "Bambi bits" from the bowl. She was shocked, confused then ran to the bathroom as if that pile of barf was going to rise up off the carpet (yeah, right!) and eat her alive. Had to calm her down, then she "helped" as I washed off her E-collar (recent spay surgery). I knew with her disposition that she'd be scared when the inevitable happened, so I was very glad to be there for baby's first barf!

John - If a human child vomits anywhere in the house we clean up and comfort the child,If our cat vomits we should do the same! We have cleaning products for all
surfaces in the house,and if cleaning up after a sick child or animal is a chore then we shouldn't have them in the first place.

Lexi gets brushed every day and has a good diet so she very seldom retches. If She does, I usually calmly place a paper towel or news paper under her head to catch the offending hair ball and talk sweetly to her while I'm doing this. No big deal one way or the other.

Jill- I chose "ignore it and hope someone else cleans it up" because that's what I'd like to do. But I usually end up cleaning it up so my husband won't have to. Our two girls rarely have hairballs, but when they do (always in the middle of the night or early, early morning, of course!), we just let them finish and then soothe and comfort them because they seem to be a bit embarrassed by all the noise and mess. The first poor cat I had had her first hairball in the middle of the night, and I jumped up, turned on the light, and scared her so badly that she ran from the room! Poor girl! My husband, who had always had cats, reminded me that, with cats, what goes down often comes back up! So I got used to it. Eventually. I'll never forget my first cat-sitter who called me to say that Spooky was "pooping" on the carpet because she'd never seen a hairball!!

Kesa- I will try to put a paper towel under him or her (litter mates), and sometimes if it seems like one of them is really choking, I have given them a gentle tap on the back which seems to help dislodge something that is hard to get up. I also give the female fur ball remedy. It seemed to cause an aggravation of the kidney problems that male has, and so I don't give him the medicine but give him more canned foods.

Kittykatmama - I always try to grab my cat and hold him/her in the litter box if possible. Not always easy, with 10 cats, but it does work sometimes.

Kay- My cat used to throw up until I bought the furminator.

Pat - I dont think that a cat should be moved. Cats dont pick a place to voment as to where its nateul for them to do! Just leave them alone and clean up the mess..But make sure u follow them and make sure you know where they will trow up so you dont step in the mess.........And another thing to remember!!!..Never ever move a cat when vomiting!!!!

Elaine – Cats are like children. It happens. I just let it happen, clean up the mess, spot clean the carpet and I always reassure my cat that it's ok and I love him/her. I have 5 cats living with me and 18 others in there own house on my property. I love them all dearly and they are my children. Remember this.. picking them up and moving them while they are trying to throw up can cause them to choke. I learned this from experience many years ago and lost a precious cat because of it. Please be careful

Karen Silliman - The same thing one does for any family member with a problem, offer support and reassurance and clean it up before kitty feels the need to help.

Moonflwr912- I just get out the fizzy water, or club soda, etc. and towels. It works well, even on my light tan carpets. Just pick up what you can with paper towels, pour on the carpet and blot with clean paper or old cloth towels (and blot, blot, blot!) Bit of an effort, but Tibbles is upset anyway, there is no need to add to that stress. It always comes up (no pun intended!) and we go on our merry way.

Kathy Wade - My Sassy always seems to have this happen in the archway between my living room and dining area -- on the carpet, of course. I try to move her to the tile, if possible. I always pick her up and love her after the hairball is out of the way. It seems to be our routine. She knows this will be what we do, and she always nuzzles her nose into my neck and purrs. She knows that she is loved.

Vanessa- I always allow them to finish, and then go survey the damage. I wouldn't want to be moved if I was in the middle of puking, would you?

Cindy - With my current cats, I just let them be. With a previous cat, we were able to grab a flyer and put it underneath her, where she is about to throw up. She didn't move. It was probably about the easiest way to clean it up afterwards.

Don Pignolet - I usually just let them pitch it up and clean it afterwards. If I move them, I'm afraid I'll hurt them. I do make an exception, though, and put them off the bed!

Nisa- I will never move my cat around during her difficult time, but try to support & comfort her until she is done. I wait 'til I am sure she is fine and comfortable, then I will start the cleaning process. To me if I decide to have a pet around, occasionally there must be a damage done to my household stuff, but I always remind myself those are just material, but my cat is priceless!!!

Dan Campbell- I feel more normal about how I react to my cats and laughed with many of the same experiences. Fur Balls. If cats didn't have fur balls, they would almost be perfect; mating is another behavior I don't think I will ever understand. I am fortunate to have been with my current two Maine Coon Cats from birth. Fur Balls are the only thing I don't believe their mother hadn't been around to guild them through. The long haired kitten let out a horrifying scream, terrifying me. Before I had any time to react, she hacked 2 or 3 times, a small ball came up and it was over. I was able to pet her and she somehow understands this is normal. If I'm not around or don't promptly clean, I will find the mess cleaned up for me, and I feel bad. She likes Vaseline naturally and I have a small container for her personal use. Using the Furminator is making a big difference in the frequency and density. The other short hair coon cat, I don't think has suffered from a fur ball. She sheds so little. However, she experiences asthmatic attacks which are much worse to watch and listen too then any fur ball. She knows when she is about to experience an attack, and searches me out. Holding her and comforting her, she quickly returns her to normal breathing.

Karen M- I have 3 cats, I don't usually worry where they hack up a furball. I heard one in the night so I got up when I didn't hear it anymore and cleaned it. But I disagree with someone on the fact that they don't pick a spot. Normally they don't but I know darn well if they have a comfort zone or quiet place they prefer, they do it in that general area. Poor little things.

Tina Marie V.- I feed my two(bro.and sister) babies SCIENCE DIET ORIGINAL FORMULA which seems to prevent hairballs. They are now 3 yrs old and i THINK w/in that amount of time, i MAY have seen 1. Plus if they start vomiting their food, i go right for the HAIRBALL MALT REMEDY and put it on their paws. Truthfully, they hate that, but i think after its on there ,they enjoy licking it off. My cats have this thing about having their front paws touched. I dont know why. They were born outside, brought in around a few 4-5 wks of age.Plus they get groomed not bathed but cut every other month coz they are long hair and prefer to have it short. keeping the long tails. They seem to have more energy and this way they dont have all that hair!
When vomiting whenever, i leave them alone. When cleaning it up, they look @ me as if they are sorry, but i reassure them its okay. The male cat always comes over and tries to cover up the mess. Until i get it thoroughly cleaned up. Cats are very clean animals! Do doubt about it! That's why they like a clean litter box also! IN and AROUND the box.

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debra-primovic Dr. Debra Primovic

Debra A. Primovic, BSN, DVM, Editor-in-Chief, is a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Nursing and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Following her veterinary medical training, Dr. Primovic practiced in general small animal practices as well as veterinary emergency practices. She was staff veterinarian at the Animal Emergency Clinic of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the busiest emergency/critical care practices in the United States as well as MedVet Columbus, winner of the AAHA Hospital of the year in 2014. She also spends time in general practice at the Granville Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Primovic divides her time among veterinary emergency and general practice, editing, writing, and updating articles for PetPlace.com, and editing and indexing for veterinary publications. She loves both dogs and cats but has had extraordinary cats in her life, all of which have died over the past couple years. Special cats in her life were Kali, Sammy, Pepper and Beanie.