Cat Vomit Smells Like Poop? Ways To Treat It

Last Updated on: March 29, 2024

Cat vomits are certainly not a pretty sight for feline owners. Vomiting can be quite worrying, especially for new cat owners. And while it’s common for your feline pal to vomit because of hairballs, sometimes the cause can be alarming to your cat’s health.

In some cases, your cat’s vomit may seem and even smell like poop, which can be quite worrying. If your cat’s vomit smells like poop then you should be worried. This type of cat vomit can be a sign of intestinal blockage or a simple dietary issue.

3 Reasons Why Cat Vomit Smells Like Poop

The sight and smell of cat vomit can be unpleasant, but it’s normal. Cat vomiting is a sign that your pet is unwell or has ingested something it shouldn’t have. And in most cases, you may not have to worry. But if the cats vomit smells and even looks like poop, you should be worried.

When the pet vomit smells like feces, it can be a sign of an underlying medical issue.

Therefore, you should take your pet to the vet immediately. This is why you should examine the cat vomit and fecal matter before disposing of them. Some of the main reasons why the cat vomit can smell like poop include:

1. Intestinal Blockage

Cats are known for consuming a wide range of strange materials that can cause intestinal blockage. This will result in your pet vomiting or regurgitating materials of fecal origin. 

The foreign materials can get trapped in the small intestines after passing through its stomach resulting in your cat vomiting. 

When blocked, the fecal matter won’t pass through the normal digestive tract, instead, your cat vomits it. When the bowel is obstructed, intestinal material can’t move using the normal digestive tract. The peristaltic waves compress the digestive tract, pushing the material backward to the stomach.

The strong intestinal muscle contractions will push the fecal material backward via the pyloric sphincter. When this happens, your cat vomits materials resembling and smelling like fecal matter.

With this condition, the cat vomit may end up being greenish-yellow in color. 

GIT symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal distention, and abdominal pain usually accompany fecal vomiting.

The obstruction can be complete or partial depending on the extent of the blockage. Therefore, you should take your pet to the vet as soon as you notice this condition. Complete obstruction can result in diarrhea, vomiting, and pain.

Partial obstruction may not cause diarrhea, or vomiting, so you should contact your vet when your cat has abdominal pain. The vet will examine the cat’s vomit before determining the cause of the problem.

2. Gastrojejunocolic Fistula

Gastrojejunocolic fistula in cats is extremely rare, and there is limited information on this specific condition in felines. 

A fistula is an abnormal connection between different parts of the gastrointestinal tract, and it typically results from various underlying causes.

In cats, gastrointestinal issues are often related to inflammatory conditions, infections, tumors, or congenital abnormalities. The abnormal connection between your cat’s ileum and stomach can result in it vomiting poop. Your cat’s throw-up will be a mixture of liquid stool and food.

Symptoms

While symptoms can vary, if a gastrojejunocolic fistula occurs in a cat, common signs may include:

  • Chronic Diarrhea: Similar to humans, an abnormal connection between the stomach, jejunum, and colon may lead to diarrhea.
  • Weight Loss: Chronic diarrhea and malabsorption of nutrients could contribute to weight loss.
  • Abdominal Pain: Cats may exhibit abdominal discomfort or pain due to intestinal blockages.
  • Dehydration and Malnutrition: Prolonged diarrhea can lead to dehydration and malnutrition.

Causes

The causes of gastrojejunocolic fistulas in cats could be similar to those in humans. They might include complications from previous surgeries, inflammatory bowel disease, infections, or tumors. 

However, due to the rarity of this condition in cats, specific causes and risk factors may not be well-documented.

3. Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas, an organ that plays a crucial role in digestion and insulin production. In cats, pancreatitis can lead to various digestive symptoms, including vomiting and changes in the color of their feces. 

The waste the cat vomited may have a foul smell and might contain undigested or partially digested food.

Here’s how pancreatitis can be related to poop-smelling vomit in cats:

  • Digestive Enzyme Disruption: The pancreas produces digestive enzymes that help break down food in the small intestine. In cases of pancreatitis, the inflammation can disrupt the normal production and release of these enzymes. As a result, food may not be properly digested, leading to foul-smelling vomit.
  • Malabsorption: Pancreatitis can cause malabsorption, where nutrients are not absorbed properly in the small intestine. This can lead to changes in the consistency and odor of feces and may contribute to the smell of the vomit.
  • Gastrointestinal Upset: Inflammation in the pancreas can cause general gastrointestinal upset, leading to vomiting. The vomit may contain partially digested food and other stomach contents, resulting in an unpleasant odor.
  • Pain and Discomfort: Pancreatitis can cause abdominal pain and discomfort, which may lead to nausea and vomiting. Cats may vomit more frequently, and the vomit may have a distinctive smell.

If you suspect that your cat has pancreatitis or is experiencing digestive issues, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian. Diagnosing pancreatitis often involves blood tests and imaging studies. 

Treatment may include supportive care, dietary changes, and medications to manage symptoms and address the underlying inflammation.

Prompt veterinary attention is essential because severe cases of pancreatitis can lead to complications and may require hospitalization. If your cat exhibits the above symptoms, then you should seek professional veterinary care.

Other Reasons Why Cat Vomit Can Smell Like Poop

  • Toxic ingestion: Toxins can affect your cat’s health resulting in bad-smelling cat vomits and poop while it’s getting rid of it. The toxin can cause more problems, including kidney disease, among other complications. Some toxins can force your cat to vomit a mixture of liquid poop and undigested food.
  • Infections: Bacterial or viral infections can affect the digestive system and cause abnormal odors.
  • Parasites: Intestinal parasites can cause digestive issues and contribute to foul-smelling vomit.
  • Dietary issues: What your cat eats matters a lot. Your cat may have ingested something that doesn’t agree with its stomach or a sudden change in diet.
  • Ingestion of foreign objects: If your cat eats items it shouldn’t, which can cause gastrointestinal upset.

What to Do if a Cat’s Vomit Smells Like Poop

If your cat’s vomit smells like feces, it may indicate an underlying issue that requires attention. It can be a simple thing, like a dietary change, food allergy, or a life-threatening condition that requires a specialist’s attention. 

Therefore, when you notice the foul poop smell after your cat vomits, you should do the following:

Assess the Situation

Take a closer look at the cat’s vomit. If the cat vomit contains fecal material or has a strong, unpleasant odor, it’s important to address the issue promptly. Note any other changes in your cat’s behavior, appetite, litter box habits, or overall health. 

Additional symptoms can provide valuable information to your veterinarian.

Contact Your Veterinarian

If your cat is vomiting constantly, especially if the vomit smells like feces, it’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian. They can perform a thorough examination, ask about your cat’s medical history, and run diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause.

Provide Information to Your Veterinarian

Your vet will ask for the following details:

  • Dietary History: Be prepared to discuss your cat’s diet, any recent changes in food, and the possibility of access to harmful substances.
  • Recent Events: Inform your veterinarian of any recent events, like exposure to toxins, changes in the household, or ingestion of foreign objects.

Observe for Other Signs of Distress

Watch for signs of lethargy, dehydration, weakness, or any other abnormal behaviors. These could be indicative of a more serious issue.

Follow Veterinary Recommendations

  • Diagnostic Tests: Your veterinarian may recommend blood tests, imaging studies, or other diagnostic procedures to identify the cause of the vomiting.
  • Treatment Plan: Based on the diagnosis, your veterinarian will develop a treatment plan. This may include dietary changes, medication, or other interventions.

Monitor Your Cat:

Keep a close eye on its behavior, eating habits, and litter box use (cat vomit). Report any changes or concerns to your veterinarian.

Remember that self-diagnosis and treatment may not be effective or safe, and delays in seeking veterinary care can worsen your cat’s condition. Always consult with your veterinarian for proper guidance and treatment tailored to your cat’s specific needs.

Final Thoughts

Occasional cat vomiting is normal, but if it smells like poop, you should be worried. You should examine it for a color change, and if it resembles poop, you should take your pet to the vet. The vet will perform several tests, and if it’s a dietary issue, he will tell you what to do.

But if it’s a medical issue, then you can have your pet treated immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my cat’s throw-up smell like poop?

The vomit may smell like poop because of the presence of fecal matter in the throw-up.

What’s the cause of fecal vomit?

Fecal vomit is caused by blocked intestines that result in fecal matter being pushed back into the stomach.

What color of cats throw up is bad?

Black cat vomit is a sign of blood in your cat’s stomach, which can be a sign of ulcers or blocked intestines.

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