Do Cats Throw Up For Attention?

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Do you keep running into cat vomit in your house? Does your cat seem to throw up whenever you aren’t paying them enough attention?

Cats do not vomit to get your attention; they only vomit when sick. Vomiting when you are around is probably coincidental. 

Your cat may have issues related to a routine around her food. She may have stress, food sensitivities, or hairballs causing her to throw up.

If your cat is throwing up at odd times and in odd places, you may want to read on to find out more!


Is my cat throwing up for attention?

Your cat’s vomiting habits may make you question whether she is doing this for attention. Cats can be emotional and moody but do not vomit for attention. So, what could all her behaviors mean?

Scenario 1: My cat only throws up when I’m around

You may be noticing your cat throwing up every time you are around. Perhaps you’ve been extra busy lately, and it seems like she is vomiting for attention.

This is probably a coincidence. You may be feeling guilty for not spending as much time with her. Those feelings have you noticing your cat throwing up more when you are around.

Your cat may also be throwing up when you are around because she feels safe with you. She may be staying around you because she feels ill. She wants to be close to you for comfort.

You two have built routines together, as well. So, maybe she is getting sick after eating. If you are the one who feeds her, this could lead you to notice her vomiting more often.

Scenario 2: My cat throws up on my things.

If your cat is vomiting on your items and no one else’s, she isn’t trying to be spiteful. Cats often lie on their owner’s possessions to self-soothe.

Suppose your cat is feeling unwell. She may lie on your stuff for comfort and then accidentally throws up on them.

It may seem intentional if your belongings are the only ones getting vomit on them. But your kitty doesn’t mean to mess up your stuff. She likes your scent and is using it to help her feel better.

Scenario 3: My cat only throws up when I’m not paying attention to her

If your cat is only throwing up when you are not paying attention to her, it can seem like she’s doing it for attention. However, this is probably coincidental.

If she is vomiting more frequently, it may seem like it happens when you are not paying her attention. The more often she vomits, the more likely you are to start noticing the vomit.

Also, if you’ve recently had lifestyle changes, these may cause your cat stress. Her vomiting could seem attention-related, but it may actually be stress-related.

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How do you know your cat is not vomiting on purpose?

How do you know your cat is not vomiting on purpose

Cats only throw up when they are sick. They are intelligent animals. Cognitively, though, they are about the same emotional age as a two-and-a-half-year-old human. They don’t have the emotional reasoning to throw up for attention.

Your cat simply doesn’t feel well, and she wants to have your attention because she feels unwell. So, although she is not vomiting for your attention, she does need your attention if she feels sick.


What can cause a cat throw up? (4 reasons )

What are some reasons cats throw up

Reason 1: Stress

Cats can vomit due to stress. So, if you are paying less attention to your cat due to a major lifestyle change, this could affect your cat. Cats don’t always handle major changes to their environment and routines well.

She may feel like she doesn’t know what to expect. If there are new people or pets around, she may not trust them yet. 

As with humans, stress affects animals’ bodies. She could be throwing up from a build-up of cortisol from stress.

Cats can become stressed for several reasons. Illness, moving houses, changes in cat food, new family members, rival cats, a dirty litter box, and boredom are all reasons cats get stressed.

 If you are seeing other behavioral changes in your cat, such as excessive grooming or urinating outside the litter box, you may want to try to reduce your cat’s stress levels.

Reason 2: Food Sensitivities

Some cats develop sensitivities to ingredients in their cat food. They will begin to vomit almost immediately after eating, but sometimes it can take a few hours.

Cats can eat the same food for years, but as they age, they develop reactions to the ingredients inside the food.

A common diagnosis for cats with food sensitivities is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). With this illness, a cat’s digestive tract can no longer tolerate certain ingredients.

This is because cats are carnivores. Many lower-quality kibbles have filler ingredients and grains added into the food. Cats cannot digest grains well, so they vomit.

Reason 3: Hairballs

Cats vomit up hair to keep it out of their intestines. If your cat is a frequent groomer, she may have more hairballs than the average cat. This is how they naturally regulate their grooming process.

Throwing up hairballs is normal. To identify whether the throw-up is a hairball, look at the contents. A hairball has fur in the vomit. If your cat is vomiting because she is sick, it will have food or bile in it.

Cats should only throw up hairballs once or twice a week. If your cat is vomiting more often than this, you should consider other problems. 

Reason 4: Other obstructions

Your cat could be throwing up because she swallowed a toy or something she shouldn’t have. If a cat has something stuck in her digestive tract, it blocks her from being able to digest her food properly. Then, she throws up more frequently.

Your vet will remove obstructions. Don’t try to remove them yourself unless it is easy to see at the front of the mouth. You could hurt your cat otherwise.

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How can I get my cat to stop throwing up?

How can I get my cat to stop throwing up

Tip 1: Give her more attention.

If you worry you aren’t giving your cat enough attention, set aside a few minutes daily. One-on-one time with your cat is important. 

It doesn’t have to be long—15 minutes in the morning and evening would help.

Then, you won’t feel guilty, and your cat will have the attention she craves.

However, if you spend plenty of time with your cat, and she still vomits, you probably need to consider other reasons for her behavior.

Tip 2: Reduce stressors in the home.

If you believe stress over lifestyle changes is the cause, try to make things as normal for your cat as possible. Your cat thrives on consistency. 

You can build routines, play with your cat, and establish set meal times to help her feel more at ease.

If another pet or family member is causing your cat distress, try to limit your cat’s time with them. Your cat may need time to adjust to the new family members. 

You can also facilitate the new family member and the cat in a room to try to familiarize your cat with them. 

Tip 3: Change your cat food.

If your cat throws up every time you feed her, you could try switching cat foods to see if she improves. There are grain-free cat foods you can buy. Some cats even develop sensitivities to proteins such as chicken.

Many of the limited ingredient cat foods use unconventional proteins. This will ease your cat’s digestive tract and, hopefully, stop her from throwing up so often.

Tip 4: Give your cat hairball medication.

Some cats have more hairballs than others, especially if your cat is a frequent groomer. She may need supplements to help her get rid of hairballs without vomiting all the time. 

There are a lot of over-the-counter medications you can give your cat for hairballs. There are also hairball medication disguised as treats.

It makes giving your cat the medication easier. It works by helping to break down the hairball and making it easier for your cat to digest the material.

Tip 5: Take him to the vet. 

Your cat’s vomiting should improve after food and lifestyle changes. If it does not, she may have an obstruction or another issue that needs the attention of her vet. If there is an obstruction, your vet will remove it.

Your vet can also perform tests to rule out other illnesses.

Your cat may have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Sometimes IBS sufferers need to be on medications. 

The inflammation in their bowels may make it difficult for them to digest food properly, even after changing cat foods. 


Final thoughts

Although your cat doesn’t throw up for attention, she is trying to tell you something. Cats should vomit no more than once or twice a week. 

Changing cat foods, giving your cat more attention, and reducing stress in the home can ensure you and your cat return to your normal routine.