Seeing your cat vomit can be alarming, especially if the vomit is an unusual brown colour. While not always serious, brown vomit does need veterinary investigation to determine the cause and ensure proper treatment. This guide covers potential reasons for brown vomit in cats, how to distinguish non-urgent cases from emergencies, at-home care tips, and when to seek vet assistance.
Possible Causes of Brown Vomit in Cats
- Eating something brown like dirt or faeces
- Acute hairball obstruction with bile
- Severe gastritis irritation causing blood mixing
- Liver or kidney disease leading to bile buildup
- Pancreatitis preventing proper digestion
- Intestinal blockage or obstruction
- Cancer or ulcers affecting the stomach/intestines
- Poisoning from toxins like antifreeze
Mild, infrequent vomiting of small amounts of brown liquid may simply indicate transient stomach upset. But any recurrent brown vomit or vomit accompanied by concerning symptoms warrants prompt veterinary care.
Potentially non-urgent causes include hairballs, mild gastritis, or singular vomiting episodes. Watch for improvement.
Troubling signs suggesting emergency care needed include:
- Persistent vomiting over 24+ hours
- Projectile or forceful vomiting
- Very large volumes of brown vomit
- Blood present in the vomit
- Dark tarry stool indicating digested blood
- Severe lethargy, collapse or seizures
- Pain or distended belly
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of appetite for 12+ hours
If your vet agrees your cat is stable, provide supportive care:
- Withhold all food for at least 12 hours
- Allow access to small amounts of water if vomiting permits
- Gently syringe feed water mixed with unflavoured Pedialyte if dehydrated
- Avoid any medication or diet change without vet approval
But rush to the emergency vet if any worrying symptoms develop or persist beyond 24 hours. Do not attempt to force food or make your cat vomit without vet guidance.
Getting Effective Treatment
Cats can deteriorate quickly when vomiting persists. Blood work, imaging tests, anti-nausea medication, fluid support, and hospitalisation may be needed depending on the underlying cause. Seeking prompt veterinary diagnosis and care leads to the best outcomes. Stay alert to any brown vomit and do not hesitate to contact your vet, as rapid action makes all the difference. With appropriate treatment guided by your vet, your cat can likely get back to feeling their best.