When in doubt, do not try to make the cat vomit. If unsure, call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. This can potentially do more damage to the cat than not vomiting at all. Some poisons can burn the throat and stomach lining as they come back up. These poisons include gasoline (petrol), kerosene, acid, drain cleaner, cleaning product or household chemical. Chances are they are already vomiting or having watery diarrhea.
Remember to only induce vomiting in a conscious cat. Remember how several famous rock stars died choking on their own vomit after they’d passed out? The same could happen to a cat. Also, if you saw your cat swallow a sharp object, get the cat to the vet. The sharp object may do a lot of internal damage if the cat were to vomit.
Perhaps your cat got into the garbage can. There certainly are a lot of tempting smells there. But seeming treasure trove is covered with bacteria that could potentially kill the cat. Although you should call the vet first and ask if you should get the cat to vomit, chances are the answer will be yes. The sooner the rotten food is out of the digestive system, the better. If the cat is already vomiting, then there is no need to make him vomit more.
Perhaps someone partied a little too hearty at your home and left a lump of marijuana or some other illegal drug in the cat’s food dish as a joke. This is a terrible joke because these illegal drugs can kill a cat. In this case, induce vomiting immediately, unless the cat is already vomiting. If you can have someone call a vet while you are inducing vomiting, so much the better.
But maybe you dropped an aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen (paracetamol) on the floor by accident and just before you get to it, the cat zooms along and swallows it. Human medications are one of the main reasons that pets get poisoned. Don’t wait to call the vet. Induce vomiting and then call the vet.
One of the most common poisonous chemical cats drink is antifreeze because it has a sweet taste. Some people theorise that it also gives a warming sensation which can be desired by a feral cat in winter. Antifreeze kills quickly. Don’t wait to call the vet. Induce vomiting at once and then get the cat to the vet. However, some cats have been reported to vomit almost as soon as they swallow the antifreeze. Even if the cat vomits soon after drinking antifreeze, take to the vet.
Eating Slug Bait or Rat Poison
Again, this has an appealing taste but lethal consequences. If you have a pet or a small child you should never have slug bait or rodent poison in your home. Induce vomiting and take immediately to the vet.
If the cat consumed the undesirable substance less than two hours ago and they aren’t already vomiting, then they should be okay to begin feeding them something to get them to vomit. According to “Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook” (Howell Book House, 1995), after two hours the vomiting won’t do much good because the toxic materials will be well absorbed by then.
“Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook.” Delbert G. Carlson, DVM, et al. Howell Book House, 1995.
“ASPCA Complete Guide to Cats.” James R. Richards, DVM. Chronicle Books; 1999.
Pet Place.com “How to Induce Vomiting (Emesis) in Cats.” Dr. Dawn Ruben. http://www.petplace.com/cats/how-to-induce-vomiting-emesis-in-cats/page1.aspx
Washington State Universty College of Veterinary Medicine. “Antifreeze Poisoning.” http://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/ClientED/antifreeze.aspx