Cat vomits after meeting new baby for first time. Why?

Domestic cat vomits after meeting newborn baby for the first time
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Domestic cat vomits after meeting newborn baby for the first time. Screenshot.

This is a slightly strange video. The cat’s behaviour certainly bemuses the male half of the couple who own the cat. He can’t believe it. It is believable. But why? My instinctive response without trying to research an answer is that it must be one of two reasons or both together:

  1. Smell (olfactory) – cats are very sensitive to scents. This cat will have smelled an entirely new smell. It may have shocked the cat a little and provoked her to vomit. The smell my preferred reason why the cat retches and throws up frothy, clear liquid.
  2. Stress (visual) – encountering a new ‘creature’ in her home (home range) might have been stressful.

It is said that both smells and stress can unusually cause a domestic cat to vomit but the source of that information is not great. It must be rare. I have an excellent text book on feline health. The four vet authors do not state as far as I can tell that vomiting can be caused by smells or stress.

But let’s think about humans.

Certain things that people see and smell can cause them to retch. You see this all the time. Clearly it has to be something strong and unusual but it can happen.

And some people are very sensitive to smells. This is called hyperosmia.

We don’t know whether this cat is very sensitive to smells. She probably isn’t. However, she carefully smells (to try and identify) a newborn baby as seen in the video. Newborn babies have a very characteristic smell. And this is a new living sentient being in the home.

I think she vomited a frothy clear liquid because of the smell and the unfamiliarity of what she was seeing. Clearly the vomiting is nothing to do with what she ate because no food came up and it is obvious that this cat is healthy and had not vomited before recently. You can deduce that by the fact that the owner is surprised and it is clearly linked to her recent experience of meeting the newborn baby.

This can be the only plausible assessment, I think. It is unusual and interesting which is why I have discussed the point on this page. There is not a lot on the Internet or in textbooks on this so I’ve had to work it out as best I can myself.

I would welcome the input of visitors on this. Do you have personal experience of this sort of thing?

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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1 Response

  1. Around my house cleaning cat or dog puke is at least a weekly chore it’s why I’m always looking for deals on cheap but nice covers for my couches. And collections etc always comes thru. I just got these in full and king and it’s full fleece on both sides with matching shams and very soft LOL! Keep in mind not everything at CE is quality.
    Maybe the baby had a poopy diaper, new babies poop is awful because they are expelling amniotic fluid from their systems they been living on for 9 months. Anyone who’s helped birth any kind of baby will tell you the smell isn’t that great.

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