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Brown Liquid Vomit in Cats: Causes Treatments and Solutions

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Why Cats Vomit Brown Liquid: What You Need to Know

Do you own a cat? Then, you have probably witnessed your feline friend vomiting at least once in their lifetime.

While occasional vomiting may not be a cause of concern, vomiting brown liquid can be a sign of serious health issues. In this article, we will explore the potential causes of brown liquid vomit in cats, what it may indicate about their health, and what you can do to help them.

Understanding Brown Liquid Vomit in Cats

Vomiting is a normal and healthy reflex that helps cats eliminate indigestible or toxic substances from their stomachs. It can happen for various reasons, such as eating too much, eating too fast, hairballs, stress, or bacterial infections.

However, when the vomit appears brown or coffee-colored, it may indicate that something is wrong with your cat’s digestive system or other organs. The brown color usually comes from partially digested blood, bile, or food, and can vary in consistency from watery to chunky, depending on the underlying cause.

Possible Health Concerns that Result in Brown Liquid Vomit

Brown liquid vomit in cats can be a symptom of several health concerns, some of which are more serious than others. If your cat vomits brown liquid more than once, or displays other symptoms of illness, such as lack of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, or diarrhea, you should seek veterinary advice promptly.

Some of the possible causes of brown liquid vomit in cats include:

1. Allergic reactions: Some cats may have an allergic reaction to a specific food, medication, or parasite that can irritate their gut lining and cause inflammation or bleeding.

In some cases, the allergic reaction may also trigger hives, itching, or facial swelling. 2.

Internal obstructions: If your cat has eaten something that cannot pass through their digestive tract, such as a toy, string, plant, or bone, it can cause an obstruction that blocks the passage of food and leads to vomiting. In severe cases, the obstruction can also perforate the gut wall and cause a life-threatening infection.

3. Pancreatitis: This is a condition in which the pancreas, an organ that produces enzymes to digest food, becomes inflamed and damaged.

It can happen due to various reasons, such as infection, trauma, or obesity, and can cause vomiting, abdominal pain, fever, and dehydration. 4.

Kidney failure: As cats age, their kidneys may lose their function gradually, leading to a buildup of toxins in their body and a decreased ability to regulate the water balance. Kidney failure can cause vomiting, lethargy, dehydration, and weight loss, and is more common in older cats.

5. Parasitic infections: Some parasites, such as roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms, can infest your cat’s gut and cause irritation, inflammation, and bleeding.

They can also absorb vital nutrients and cause nutrient deficiencies, which can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. 6.

Liver disease: The liver is responsible for filtering toxins from the blood, producing bile, and storing energy. If the liver becomes damaged or diseased, it can lead to a buildup of toxins, a decrease in bile production, and a decrease in metabolic function.

Liver disease can cause vomiting, jaundice, lethargy, and weight loss. 7.

Inflammation: Some cats may develop inflammation of the gut lining, a condition known as gastroenteritis, due to various reasons, such as infection, stress, or diet change. Gastroenteritis can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and abdominal pain.

8. Poisoning: Cats may accidentally ingest toxic substances, such as antifreeze, pesticides, or human medications, which can cause severe symptoms such as vomiting, seizures, and organ damage.

Some toxins can also cause a brown coloration of the vomit, such as chocolate or rat poison. 9.

Nervous system disorders: If your cat has a neurological disorder, such as a brain tumor or epilepsy, it can cause disturbances in their balance, coordination, and muscle control. These disturbances can lead to vomiting, especially after eating or drinking.

Causes of Brown Liquid Vomit in Cats

In addition to the underlying health concerns that can cause brown liquid vomit, there are also a few specific factors that can influence the color and consistency of the vomit, such as:

1. Bleeding in the Gastrointestinal Tract: If your cat has a bleeding ulcer, tumor, or injury in their gut, it can cause the vomit to appear brown or tarry due to the presence of partially digested blood.

2. Brown Bile: Bile is a greenish-yellow fluid that aids in digesting fats and absorbing vitamins.

Sometimes, bile can mix with food in the stomach and digest partially, leading to a brown or green coloration of the vomit. 3.

Food Sensitivities or Allergies: If your cat has a food sensitivity or allergy, it can cause their gut to become inflamed and sensitive to certain ingredients or additives. This inflammation can lead to vomiting and diarrhea, as well as a brownish coloration of the vomit due to the presence of mucous or partially digested food.

How to Help Your Cat Who Vomits Brown Liquid

If you notice that your cat vomits brown liquid or displays any other symptoms of illness, you should schedule a veterinary appointment as soon as possible. The veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination, ask you for details about your cat’s diet, behavior, and medical history, and may run some diagnostic tests, such as bloodwork, urinalysis, or imaging.

Depending on the underlying cause of the brown liquid vomit, your cat may need different treatments or medications, such as anti-nausea drugs, antibiotics, dewormers, special diets, or even surgery in some cases. It’s essential to follow your veterinarian’s instructions carefully and monitor your cat’s progress at home, including their appetite, water intake, urination, and stool quality.

In Conclusion

Vomiting brown liquid can be a worrying sign for cat owners, as it can indicate serious health concerns that require prompt veterinary care. As we have seen, brown liquid vomit can result from a variety of causes, including allergic reactions, internal obstructions, pancreatitis, kidney failure, parasitic infections, liver disease, inflammation, poisoning, or nervous system disorders.

If your cat experiences brown liquid vomit, take action quickly and schedule a vet visit to help your feline friend feel better.

3) Treating a Cat with Brown Liquid Vomit

If you notice that your cat is vomiting brown liquid, you should take them to the vet immediately. The veterinarian will perform a physical examination, get a thorough history from you, and might recommend diagnostic tests.

Let’s explore the potential diagnostic tests and treatments that your veterinarian may recommend.

Visiting a Veterinarian

The most crucial step in treating a cat with brown liquid vomit is to visit a veterinarian. The veterinarian will perform a physical examination to check your cat’s overall health.

During the examination, they will check your cat’s vital signs, such as heart rate, breathing rate, and body temperature.

Blood Work

The vet might recommend a blood test to check for any underlying medical condition that could be causing the brown liquid vomit. Bloodwork can show if there are any abnormalities in the liver, pancreas, or kidneys.

It can also detect if there are any infections present.


X-rays may be taken to see if there is any foreign object causing the obstruction or if there are any anomalies in the gut or other organs.

X-rays can show abnormalities such as blockages, foreign objects, or masses.


An ultrasound may also be performed to look at the internal organs, including the liver, pancreas, kidney, and intestines.

Ultrasound can help to identify if there are any significant masses, foreign bodies or other obstruction in the gut.

Potential Treatments

The treatment of brown liquid vomit in cats depends on the underlying cause of the vomiting and the overall health of the cat. Some possible treatments that your veterinarian may recommend are:


If your cat is severely ill, they may recommend hospitalization. This will allow your cat to receive the necessary medical care, such as intravenous fluids, medications, and supportive care, to help them recover.

Fluid Therapy

If your cat is dehydrated because of vomiting, the veterinarian might recommend fluid therapy. Fluids will help to rehydrate your cat and restore the electrolyte balance.

Supportive Care

Your vet may also provide supportive care for your cat, such as administering anti-nausea medication, giving a bland diet, or feeding your cat with a syringe.


If there is a foreign object, a mass or other abdominal obstruction present, surgery may be necessary.

Surgery can remove the object or mass or repair any tears in the stomach or gut walls, which is necessary for your cats recovery.

4) Solutions for Vomiting Cats

If your cat is vomiting, there are some things you can try at home to help manage the symptoms. However, if the vomiting persists, you should consult with your veterinarian.

Slow Down Eating

If your cat is vomiting because they are eating too fast, one solution is to give them a food puzzle. Food puzzles are devices that dispense small amounts of food at a time, which ensures that your cat eats slowly and prevent digestive problems.

You can also provide smaller, more frequent meals, rather than giving one large meal.

Hydrolyzed Protein Diet

If your cat is experiencing an allergic reaction to their food, they may need a special hypoallergenic diet. Hydrolyzed protein diets are specially formulated to be easily digestible and prevent food allergies.

Check for Allergies

Some cats are allergic to certain types of proteins in their food, causing vomiting. One way to combat these allergies is to attempt a change in diet.

Your veterinarian can recommend the right food for your cat. Do not change your cat’s diet without seeking the advice of your vet.

Call Your Vet

If your cat is experiencing chronic vomiting or vomiting brown liquid, you should seek help from a veterinarian. Scheduled appointments or Walk-in appointments are options depending on how severe the episode of vomiting is.

Your veterinarian will help you determine any underlying issues and provide the right treatment for your cat. In conclusion, brown liquid vomit in cats can be a concerning symptom of underlying health conditions that require prompt veterinary care.

It is essential to take your cat to the veterinarian if they begin vomiting brown liquid to determine the cause of the issue accurately and develop a suitable treatment plan. While there are some solutions for vomiting cats that you can try at home, it’s crucial to call your vet if the vomiting persists or is severe.

By working closely with your veterinarian, you can help ensure that your cat is healthy and happy. In summary, brown liquid vomit in cats can signal an array of serious health problems.

Some of the possible underlying causes include gastrointestinal bleeding, internal obstructions, pancreatitis, kidney failure, and even poisoning. If you observe your cat vomiting brown liquid, it’s important to take them to the vet right away.

Your veterinarian may physically examine your cat, perform blood tests, x-rays, or ultrasounds to determine the underlying cause. Treatment varies depending on the severity of the condition, but hospitalization, fluid therapy, supportive care, and surgery may be necessary.

In addition to contacting your veterinarian, the article suggests solutions for owners, such as slowing down eating by using food puzzles or a hydrolyzed protein diet to check for allergies. While there are some solutions that owners can try at home, a vet’s visit is necessary if vomiting persists.

Therefore, it’s important to know why cats vomit brown liquid, potential treatments, and solutions to address the condition to help ensure your feline friend is healthy and happy.

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