Cat Vomiting After Bath: Is There a Reason?

Many people believe cats vomit after a bath because the water is too hot. However, this is not always the case. Many cats enjoy a bath and will even lick themselves clean afterward. If your cat vomits after a bath, there may be another reason.

The causes of cat vomiting after bath

When bathing our feline friends, most of us take it for granted that they will enjoy a nice, relaxing scrubbing. 

But occasionally, something can go wrong, and our cat will vomit after taking a bath. Vomiting after a bath is not common, but it can occur for several reasons. 

Gastrointestinal issues

This is probably the most common reason cats vomit after a bath. If your cat has had any stomach problems in the past, they may be sensitive to soap and react adversely to it. 

The soap can irritate their intestinal walls and cause them to throw up. This can often be corrected by giving your cat acetaminophen or ibuprofen before bathing them and then continuing with regular care afterward.

The stress of the situation

Stress is a common cause of vomiting in people, and it can also be a cause of vomiting in cats. 

The stress of the situation can cause the cat to vomit after taking a bath. Sometimes, the vomiting may be mild and only last a few minutes. 

Other cases may result in more dramatic episodes, where the cat will throw up all the water taken with the bath.

Allergic reaction to the soap or shampoo

Allergic reaction to soap or shampoo is the cause of cat vomiting after a bath. The allergic person may experience hives, difficulty breathing, and anaphylactic shock from exposure to the allergen. 

If your cat vomits after a bath, it may be due to an allergy to soap or shampoo. Make sure you are using a safe and effective soap and shampoo, and keep them out of your pet’s reach.

Swelling from the bath

Cats are naturally inclined to drink large volumes of water when they take a bath, which can lead to their stomachs becoming full quickly and causing them to vomit. 

In many cases, swelling from the bath is the only identifiable cause of this problem. If your cat regularly vomits after taking a bath, it may be prudent to speak with your veterinarian about investigating other possible causes.

Dilated cardiomyopathy

Dilated cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the heart cannot pump blood effectively. This can result in shortness of breath, fatigue, and chest pain. 

In some cases, it can also lead to vomiting and diarrhea. Cat vomit after a bath is a common symptom of Dilated cardiomyopathy. 

The cause of this problem is unknown, but it may be related to damage to the heart muscle caused by fluid accumulation or inflammation. 

Treatment for Dilated cardiomyopathy varies depending on the severity of the condition but often involves medications and/or surgery. 

If you notice any concerning symptoms in your cat, please consult your veterinarian for more information.

Esophageal reflux disease

In cats, the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxes and allows food and drink to flow back into the stomach. 

This can happen when cats eat or drink too much or are stressed. If left untreated, ERS can cause chronic vomiting and malnutrition.

You can take several steps to avoid ERD in your cat:

  • Keep them hydrated.
  • Feed them small meals throughout the day.
  • Give them lots of love and attention. 

If your cat vomits after a bath, provide plenty of water and food afterward to help settle their stomach.


Pica is a condition in which an individual consumes things that are not typically considered food. This can include anything from ice chips to clay. 

In cats, pica can occur after a bath or other water-related activity. This can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. There are many causes of pica, but it is not always clear which one is involved in a particular case. 

Some possible causes of pica in cats include an urge to eat dirt or clay, problems with oral hygiene, and stress caused by changes in the home environment or family dynamics. 

If you think your cat may be experiencing pica, talk to your veterinarian about the possibility of a diagnosis and treatment plan.

Medications and toxins

Many people are unaware that their cat may be vomiting after a bath due to the ingestion of medications or toxins. 

Many medications and household cleaners contain chemicals that can be harmful if ingested. These chemicals can cause vomiting and diarrhea in cats, even after a short time. 

To avoid this problem, it is best to consult your veterinarian before giving your cat a bath and to monitor them closely following the bath.

Treatment for cat vomiting after bath

Some cats vomit after taking a bath. You can do a few things to help your cat feel better, and if necessary, see a veterinarian. 

Keep the cat hydrated by providing plenty of water or ice chips and ensure it has access to a litter box. If the vomiting does not stop after several hours, call your veterinarian.

How to prevent your cat from vomiting after a bath

If your cat vomits after a bath, you can do a few things to prevent it from happening again. Follow these tips, and your cat should be able to enjoy its baths without any problems.

  1. Make sure the water is sufficiently hot. Cats tend to vomit when they feel cold or wet, so ensure the bath is hot before adding your pet.
  2. Avoid giving your cat fluids after a bath. This includes milk, water, and even cranberry juice. If your cat drinks something after getting bathed, let it drink slowly, so it doesn’t aspirate any of the liquid back into its stomach.
  3. Give your cat some fresh air immediately following its bath. Exposure to fresh air will help clear out any excess water and gas in the stomach, which will help prevent vomiting.


It is always best to consult a veterinarian if your cat is vomiting after bathing. While some cases may simply be caused by changes in diet or gastrointestinal infection, others may indicate more serious medical issues. 

Be sure to keep an eye on your cat and contact a veterinarian if you notice any change in their behavior or appearance.

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