HEALTH & CARE

How to Induce Vomiting in Cats: Three Ways to Do So

How to induce vomiting in cats
Stella Noble
Written by Stella Noble

Imagine catching your cat ingesting the toppings on a slice of pizza which has many bits of onion. You panic because you know onion is bad for him. What would you do? Do you know how to induce vomiting in cats?

It is not a secret that cats are curious and active. They can meddle with anything that catches their attention. They can go to unexplored spaces which can put them in harm’s way. Their curiosity can lead them to eat food that can make them sick, or maybe even poisoned.

So what should you do if you catch your cat ingesting harmful food? How can you make him throw up? In this article, we’ll teach you the basics of inducing vomit in felines. You will also learn how to tell if your cat needs to vomit or not. By the end of this post, you should be more knowledgeable about how to react to feline emergency situations.

When Should You Induce Vomiting in Cats?

cat holding a chocolate bar

Let’s be clear first about this—inducing vomiting in cats is not advisable except for a few situations. In most instances, trying to make a cat throw up can lead to negative consequences.

You should induce a cat to throw up only when you are certain of the thing that the cat has eaten. Induce vomiting if you are sure that your pet has ingested toxic food, plant, or chemicals.

Below is a list of some of the toxic human foods for cats:

  • Alcohol

  • Chocolate

  • Coffee or anything that has caffeine in it

  • Grapes or raisins

  • Milk

  • Green potatoes and tomatoes

  • Onion (or any food that has it)

  • Garlic (or any food that has it)

  • Salt

Here are some of the plants known to be fatal to cats:

  • Aloe Vera

  • Apricot

  • Calla Lily

  • Corn Plant

  • Daffodil

  • Glacier Ivy

  • Indian Rubber Plant

  • Oriental Lily

  • Poison Ivy

  • Poinsettia

  • Primrose

  • Sago Palm

  • Rhododendron

  • Weeping Fig

  • Yew

See Also: How to Keep Cats from Eating Plants

Ingesting household items like detergent, bleach, insecticides, and human medications like aspirin are also fatal for our whiskered pals. The same goes for small toys with movable parts or holiday decorations that may choke him.

Other items like dental floss and string may also choke a feline or even block the intestines of your beloved pet.

When to Not Induce Vomiting in Cats

vet checking calico cat

But let’s say that you deduced that your pet ingested a poisonous plant, but you didn’t see it. Perhaps you were out of the house for much of the day, and it was only upon your arrival that you realized your cat had eaten, say, poinsettia. Should you still induce him to throw up?

The answer is no—especially if you believe that it has been more than two hours since your cat ingested the poisonous plant. Vets don’t recommend inducing cats to vomit if the poison had been consumed for more than two hours because the poison is already in the small intestine.

Simply put, you can’t remove the poison from his body because it is already in his system.

Moreover, inducing the cat to vomit may further damage the other parts of the cat’s body such as his throat, mouth, and esophagus. The best course of action in such a case is to bring your cat to the veterinarian right away.

You must not induce vomiting in a cat who looks so weak that he could no longer stand since doing so can lead to aspiration pneumonia, which happens to any animal who inhales vomit. It’s also a given that you should not try to make an unconscious cat throw up.

Inducing vomiting in a cat is also not recommended if you saw him ingesting a sharp object like needles or small metal pieces. While the chances of your pet ingesting these kinds of sharp items are quite low, it’s still important for you to know that attempting to make him throw up can be even more fatal because the sharp object could pierce through his stomach or esophagus.

Remember these instances when inducing vomiting in a cat is not advisable because it can worsen your cat’s condition. Instead of potentially saving him, your actions may lead to more harm, or worse, immediate death.

Before attempting to induce vomiting in your pet, let us remind you of other important considerations:

  • Call the veterinarian beforehand. Report everything you know about the cat poisoning, including the source and the quantity that your cat may have ingested. These details can help the professional determine if it is really advisable or imperative to induce vomiting.

  • When you are successful in making your cat vomit, don’t forget to clean the surface right away to prevent your pet from swallowing the item again.

  • Don’t use milk, alcohol, or water with vinegar in attempting to make the cat vomit.

How to Induce Vomiting in Cats

There are a few ways to induce vomiting in cats, but not all these methods should be tried without a vet’s approval or supervision. Still, it would help if you have prior knowledge of these methods just in case something disastrous happens to your cat and your vet instructs you to make him throw up.

#1: Hydrogen Peroxide Method

Hydrogen Peroxide

Arguably the most widely-recommended way of inducing vomiting in cats is the hydrogen peroxide method. It’s important to note that the substance is actually toxic to cats but can be used to induce vomiting in felines in emergency situations. This also underscores the need to follow instructions when using this substance to make your cat vomit.

Use the 3% hydrogen peroxide solution to make your cat vomit. Don’t use the substance used for hair coloring because it is toxic to cats.

The recommended dose of hydrogen peroxide for inducing vomiting in cats is 5 ml for every 2.5 kg (5.5 pounds) of body weight. The average weight of domestic cats is 5 kg (10 pounds), so you should give 10 ml of hydrogen peroxide (the equivalent of two teaspoons) to a poisoned cat. However, it is also ideal to check with your veterinarian first before administering hydrogen peroxide to your pet.

Some people mistakenly combine hydrogen peroxide with other substances like saltwater—veterinarians say doing so can be lethal to cats. Ask the veterinarian first before inducing hydrogen peroxide with other substances.

Before administering the substance, find a place that’s small and doesn’t have doors or exit points to prevent your cat from escaping.

An oral syringe is considered by many veterinarians as the best way of administering hydrogen peroxide to a cat.

Your cat will probably resist being given hydrogen peroxide, so it’s best if you get an extra pair of hands to help you out. Also, look for a thick towel to secure the cat and make it easier for you to hold your cat and administer the substance. Believe us when we say that administering hydrogen peroxide on a cat is likely to be a struggle.

Place the towel on a sturdy table then grab your pet and place him in the middle. Pull it up so that it would be all over the hind legs of the cat. Fold it in the sides and ensure that all legs are well secured by the towel.

Ask your friend or family member to hold the cat so that you can administer the hydrogen peroxide into the corner of the feline’s mouth. Zero in on the gap between the cat’s teeth and carefully pour in the substance. This should make the cat swallow the fluid.

Once your cat has swallowed the substance, you can put him down. It’s even alright for him to walk around because the effects of hydrogen peroxide will only become apparent 15 minutes after he ingests it. Keep an eye on your cat, though, because there’s a chance he would try to eat the vomited substance again.

While it’s certainly not the most desirable action, picking up the vomited material is highly advisable as your veterinarian would want to examine it during the follow-up examination. Use a paper towel or dustpan for this purpose then place it in a Ziploc bag.

But what would you do if the cat doesn’t vomit? You can give him another round. But if he still doesn’t vomit, bring him right away to the veterinarian. A third round isn’t advisable since it could prove to be fatal for your pet.

In the event that your cat has thrown up, and you have cleaned up his mess, don’t assume that your cat is alright. It is still highly recommended that you bring your cat to the vet for a full evaluation.

#2: Salt Water Solution

water with salt

Make no mistake about it—salt should never be given to cats. But if your pet has ingested something toxic or dangerous and your veterinarian has given you the go-signal, then you can try to give him salt to induce vomiting. Obviously, salt is commonly found in most kitchens.

You will need to mix 1 to 3 teaspoons of this common kitchen item for every 250 ml of water. Check with the veterinarian the right dosage depending on the size of your cat. Pour the salt water solution into a syringe. Administer this in the same way that you would with hydrogen peroxide.

It is common for cats to be administered with salt water to salivate and show signs of discomfort. If nothing happens in 5 to 10 minutes, you can try it again. It’s safe to give salt water up to 3 doses. Should it fail to make your cat throw up, you should bring your pet to the vet right away.

#3: Ipecac Syrup

Ipecac Syrup

Aside from salt water and hydrogen peroxide, there’s another way to make a cat throw up. However, we don’t recommend that you resort to this method given the dangers this may pose to felines. It’s best to leave this to the veterinarian, but you should be aware of this method just in case.

Ipecac syrup is the third way to induce vomiting in cats. Ipecac is an over-the-counter medication that veterinarians use to induce vomiting in cats as well as dogs. It is available in 15 or 30 ml syrup.

The medication comes from roots of particular plants and is known to belong to a class of drugs called emetics. Apomorphine is a drug that belongs to the same class of drugs.

It helps induce vomiting in cats by irritating the stomach of the cat, stimulating him to vomit in the process. It usually takes half an hour after administration of Ipecac before the cat vomits.

It should be noted that the Food and Drug Administration does not approve Ipecac for use in cats. However, veterinarians prescribe it as an extra-label drug.

While it is available over-the-counter, Ipecac should be administered in cats under the supervision and guidance of a veterinarian.

These are the three ways to induce vomiting in cats. Again, remember that whether your cat vomits or not after trying these methods, you should still bring your pet to the vet for a check-up. Finally, don’t forget that you should only try these methods in a time of an emergency.

Wrap Up

tabby kitten vomitting

Inducing vomiting in cats is not usually recommended by veterinarians save for a few exceptions. Most of the time, making a cat puke can lead to more harm especially if the feline ingested a sharp object. Also, it would be a waste of time and effort to make a cat puke in the event that the toxic substance has entered the bloodstream.

You should induce vomiting in a cat when you are sure of the foreign object that your cat has ingested, or the toxic plant, food, or chemical that he has eaten.

In making a cat throw up, the hydrogen peroxide method is the most effective. It is also the easiest to pull off. But if you can’t find one in your home, you can also resort to the salt water solution method—just get permission from your vet first.

Finally, administering Ipecac syrup is the most delicate method of inducing vomiting in cats. It’s something that only vets should do.

Did you find this article helpful? What is your cat’s condition right now? How did you help him? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below! Also, once your pet has vomited, been checked out by the vet, and declared healthy, you might want to know how to freshen cat breath next.

About the author
Stella Noble
Stella Noble

Stella Noble lives in Warren, Michigan with her family and three cats. She is a Certified Cat Trainer and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

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