Reacting fast to the hork-hork feline vomity noise

Reacting fast when your cat begins to be sickYour cat is on your bed. You are snoozing contentedly, drifting away to better places, in and out of consciousness. Suddenly you hear that dreaded feline hork-hork sound that means one thing; your darling cat is warming up for a vomit. It is the prelude to the classic cat sick session.

What do you do? Do you leap into action? I wake up very sharply, grab him firmly but gently, pick him up and place him on the wooden floor. All the while he hork-horks. You have about 4 seconds before he produces the stuff.

In the nick of time I have him in a safe place and he sicks up there and then. My job is done for a while. I know it’s alright because the floor can take cat sick without any staining. It can be cleaned up in seconds with kitchen paper.

I lie back and start to drift off again. I smell that special aroma that is cat sick. I get up, grab some kitchen paper and mop it up. It is still warm.

In the meantime Charlie has hopped (he has three legs) to the kitchen for some more grub.

Then I go back to sleep. I feel him jump on the bed about 5-10 minutes later. He washes himself and after about 10 minutes he settles down and falls asleep. I follow.

The question is: do you bother to move your cat to a safe place which is feline vomit resistant and easy clean the moment you hear him starting to be sick? Or perhaps you don’t have a floor that is tiled or wooden close by.

Perhaps every cat caretaker should have a house with wood floors. If Charlie had been sick on the bedspread it would have meant a dry cleaning bill. No big deal. Just a hassle.

Cats are very good at being sick. Most of the time it is probably caused by hairballs. It certainly is for Charlie. He is an avid groomer and swallows a lot of fur. Sometimes he has a loud coughing fit to get rid of it from his windpipe. It is all part of the process.

One off vomiting is fine. Anything persistent means a check up by a vet.

FB comments (see below)
This entry was posted in Cat Behavior, vomiting and tagged by Michael Broad. Bookmark the permalink.

About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!


Reacting fast to the hork-hork feline vomity noise — 48 Comments

  1. heya my cat cassy did this alot i often wander if it was a beginning of her getting really sick. i just usually clean it up afterwards. SO far the other boys havent had any of this laterly. Though rebel eats too quickly as im sure the first place he was at he didnt get much food. as i rescued him from a cat horder. who had over 22 cats.

    • Some cats are very prone to hairballs, no matter what you do they still manage to make them, our Jozef does and we have to accept that they are better up than blocking his insides.

  2. Michael, somehow I missed that earlier article, on one of MY favorite topics. 😉 My favorite expression is, you guessed it, hurl! (Also,an old DOS PC game that was loads of fun.)

  3. I heard the music of Jo bringing up a hairball during the night a few nights back but couldn’t find it anywhere…until yesterday when I stood in it, it was balanced on the very edge of my bedside rug disguised in the pattern lol and very cold and mushy by then.
    There is no feeling like hobbling to the bathroom with a hairball plastered on the bottom of your foot lol

    • Oh, no! You too!
      Getting out of bed half asleep (do you remember when you didn’t wake up to pee?) and stepping on something cold and wet sure is a wake up. And, if it smells, sleep time is over.

      • Once I’m out of bed the day has begun lol Walt and Jo won’t let me get back in.
        I don’t think I’ve peed myself for over 60 years now lol but you reminded me of this little rhyme:
        ‘When I was young and in my prime
        I peed my britches many a time,
        But now I’m old and going grey
        I only pee them once a day’
        lol lol lol

  4. You’ve all made me laugh so much with all your especially descriptive stories about yakking up and hairballs 🙂 I had to wash twice in quick succession after my beautiful ozzie yakked up on the quilt cover, quilt, sheet and mattress protector!!! who’d have thought it would go right through!!!

  5. Every now and then we have a cat throw up. Especially our “Italian” cats who delight in gorging on food, then throwing up and then going back to eat more food. The kitchen table or the kitchen floor is like an Italian vomitorium.

    Our problem is Oozy, who has been with us since the end of August. He LOVE to run over to the throw up and get it! So instead of cleaning up the mess, we have to grab OOzy and get him into a feeding case so he won’t eat pre-digested cat food.

    Some cats are just gross in what they’ll do. Look at that little face. He’s actually smirking like he KNOWS how cute he is.

      • He’s a toe biter. He has to sleep with me because he spends most of the night attacking her feet. I guess old toes aren’t as tasty as young toes because he rarely attacks mine. He’s also kept busy attacking my nebulizer as I take my breathing treatments.

  6. I’ve laughed myself silly reading all these posts, better than a tonic they are, if they were in a book it would be a best seller. Occasionally I’ve tried catching sick on a newspaper, as the cat backs away the newspaper has to be slid forwards to keep it in the receiving position, it’s a great feeling if one manages to catch the deposit and can just fold it inwards, put it in a carrier bag and bin it, saves getting the bowl of water and scrubbing brush out to tend the carpet. Michael I agree there is a special aroma to cat puke.

    • That is so weird– I have never noticed that Monty’s barf has any odor at all. Very seldom I can get a faint whiff of his poopy if I’m scooping it, but only then. Jeff can smell it from the next room, but I can’t at all. A blessing I think, really. Monty’s perception of the world compared to mine must be so different. But you don’t miss what you’ve never had.

    • There is a 3 day training course at my local town hall on how to catch cat puke with a copy of the Northern Echo… 😉

      You get a certificate. I’d love to see a video of you doing it.

      • We up here all have our Northern Echos open on the page where there are pictures of David Cameron or his cronies, it gives us more incentive to move faster and get a good catch 😉

        • LOL. There is a good debate on the radio about Cameron and his cronies who all have first class degrees from Oxbridge and yet make stupid decisions that mess up our lives. You can’t beat good old fashioned gumption and guts.

          • They wouldn’t dare show their faces here up North, not only for the devastation they’ve caused many people and businesses but because they are wanting to reverse the hunting with dogs law we campaigned so hard to get passed.
            Gumption and guts a’plenty up here, no shilly shallying, we say what we think

    • It is a great feeling, relief, to get that bit of thick newsprint under there, until next time! The worst choice I’ve made was when I grabbed my almost spanking new Sudoku book (over-sized and thick). Imagine how much fun it was trying to work puzzles after the mess had been wiped up off of page after page. I ended up drying it in the toaster oven, and now bits of burnt page follow me, leaving a trail…But I did save the carpet.
      Last night, walking across the parking lot to the grocery entrance, suprise! I had to veer around a whooped cookie. It made me appreciate the fact that I tend to look at the ground while reflecting. lol

      What if we had a Roomba [a Vom-a-Boomba?] that could detect the throwup odor and head straightaway into action. Poor kitty might start looking for a more isolated place to puke and wouldn’t THAT be fun. 🙂

      • Your poor Sudoku book lol we just have to grab what’s nearest don’t we.
        Talking about isolated places, Jozef sometimes deposits a hairball far under my bed, just for a change from on Blue Mammy or the rug. I have to drag myself under like a sloth as there’s not room to pull it away from the wall.
        One day I might get stuck under there for good lol although I think Babz would come and drag me out, I can just imagine Walt and Jo having a good laugh at us.
        Whatever is a whooped cookie?

  7. Linus and Lionel are my 2 semi-feral l-o-n-g haired buff orange tabby boys who bring up a fair share of hairballs.
    I hear it, I know it’s coming, but only Linus allows me to pick him up and move him to a more “cleanable” surface. Lionel doesn’t; but, he’s a pretty easy clean up anyway.
    That’s just the way it is.

  8. My Karan loves to vomit on top of the kitchen cabinets. I’ve even seen him jump up there specially when he feels the Horks a-coming on.

  9. lol I laughed at your descriptive words Michael, the special aroma and the still warm sick.
    I was awoken at 5.30am today by the hork hork of Jozef on my bed and as I sat up he deposited his load on Blue Mammy, the last bit left of a long gone dressing gown I wore when he was a kitten. He won’t sleep on my bed on anything else so into the washing machine poor Blue Mammy went.
    He’s OK, had his brekkie and went on his rounds!
    Walter is very rarely sick but poor Jo, like Charlie, is prone to hairballs.
    Years ago we had a cat called Bert and when he vomited the whole neighbourhood heard, lol, he would do a very loud YAM YAM YAM YAM and back away at a rate of knots so we could never catch his load.

  10. Timing is everything. Often, if they are at the horking stage, you don’t have much time! I keep thick bath towels handy. I prefer not to move Bigfoot. He is one of those rare ones that doesn’t like to be picked up. And he is light as a feather, but still…..he doesn’t seem to mind that I slip the towel under the horking. He is pretty compliant. But believe me, I’ve had to clean the duvet many a time. And the carpet.

  11. What a great title for an article, Michael, but every cat lover knows exactly what you are describing. Monty hasn’t been sick in a long time. He’s growing his winter coat, not shedding and I eliminated dry biscuits entirely since he doesn’t chew them and then barfs. My sister’s cat upchucks more frequently. I think as they get older it’s more common. I have never seen a cat choose the tile as a place to vomit. They always do it on a soft surface such as a rug or your bedspread. Unless you grab and move them as you did, it’s always going to be fun to clean it up. I never noticed it had a smell. Sometimes having a very weak olfactory sense is a blessing.

    • Thanks Ruth.


      That’s a nice word.

      Yes, cats don’t “choose the tile” as Americans say. They choose whatever is in front of them, the swines 🙂

      I have a finely tuned nose and ear. It makes life more difficult.

      • lol – yes Gigi loves to do it on carpet. She always gets it on the carpet no matter what. She loves to nibble the grass I bring home and vomit on the carpet.

        I would not dare to pick her up mid hork 🙂

        • The “mid-hork pickup” is for advanced users 😉

          LOL. Try some mid-hork pickups. You’ll master it in time. You’ll get a bit of vomit smeared on the walls and over your clothes etc, at first. But things will improve 😉

          I am enjoying the language coming out of this post.

            • “Mid-hork Management” is something out of a training session in the seminar room on how to make the company more profitable ;).

              “Look here guys, we gotta improve mid-hork management. We’re just slipping up here…..”

            • I slipped on upchuck once. I was working at an elementary school and I was trying to beat the other teachers to the copy machine in the morning, slipped on a little pile of puke, fell down, sprained my ankle. My guess is a kid puked and was afraid he’d get in trouble (or she) and didn’t tell anyone. Cats don’t worry about it. “It’s fine. Mom will clean that up,” Monty seems to be saying. If I don’t get to it right away he will sometimes eat it again. Now that’s taking this conversation to a whole new level of gross. But if I have to work long hours and I’m worried that Monty will barf his second breakfast I sometimes reflect that if he does he will just eat it again when he gets hungry so everything is fine.

              • lol sorry Ruth but I can just picture you sliding on that pile of puke lol and can’t help laughing.
                Yes cats take vomiting for granted and so do we that we are here to clean it up. Funny Monty eating it, the only other cat I knew who did that was a cat who lived in our street at our old home, his name was Shelley. One day one of ours had been sick on the lawn, Shelley was there like a shot eating it! Oh YUCK!

              • I slipped on upchuck once

                New cat world terminology: “Upchuck Slippage” 😉

                Monty eats his own sick? Is that what he does? It is gross but very environmentally friendly. Highly efficient way to live. Less waste…..

              • That’s horrible, Ruth–a sprained ankle? That was a long time ago? so we can laugh now, good! I’m just wondering if the principal made an announcement to the students over the intercom re the dangers of vomiting in the hallways, [in their lingo] “Please DO TELL someone if you ralph in the hallway, so that we can get it cleaned up!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Please try and upload photos that are small in size of max 500px width and 50 KB size. Large images typical of most default settings on digital cameras may fail to upload. Thanks. Comment rules: (1) respect others (2) threatening, harassing, bullying, insulting and being rude to others is forbidden (3) advocating cat cruelty is forbidden (4) trolls (I know who they are) must use real name and upload a photo of themselves. Enforcement: (1) inappropriate comments are deleted before publication and (2) commenters who demonstrate a desire to flout the rules are banned. Failure to comply with (4) results in non-publication. Lastly, please avoid adding links because spam software regards comments with links as spam and holds them in the spam folder. I delete the spam folder contents daily.