Why is My Cat Throwing Up? A Definitive Guide to Cat Vomiting!Reading Time: 5 minutes
You are probably familiar with dog vomiting – the unmistakable pre-vomit sound followed by some form of vomit – but did you know that cat vomiting is just as prevalent? Dogs and cats can both suffer from vomiting just like humans so here’s what you need to know about your cat throwing up.
SUMMARY VERSION: Wondering how to get your cat to stop throwing up? Try this!
Feline Emesis: What is Cat Vomiting?
Just like dog vomiting, cat vomiting can happen from time to time. A cat throwing up can be something minor, such as an upset stomach or motion sickness. Or, it can be something more serious, like a gastrointestinal disorder or systemic disorder.
Your cat throwing up is very much like any other pet vomiting. You can tell a cat is about to vomit if you hear gagging followed by some form of liquid – whether that is clear liquid, food, blood, or white foam.
Type of Vomiting in Cats
There are three reasons why a cat vomits: on occasion (also known as feline vomiting), acute feline vomiting, or chronic feline vomiting.
Like other animals, cat’s vomit on occasion. On occasion – or feline vomiting – often happens once or twice a month for some cats. However, other cats may only vomit once or twice per year.
Acute feline vomiting typically appears very suddenly and is not pleasant for your cat. It can also involve a significant amount of vomit or projectile vomiting (you’re welcome we did not include a picture).
Chronic feline vomiting happens regularly – typically more than several times per week. While it can be scary, sometimes chronic vomiting doesn’t even phase your cat!
Products for a Cat Throwing Up
Seeing your kitty suffer from vomiting isn’t easy, but there are some solutions available. Although you should always consult your vet for recommendations, you can start by looking into preventative products that can help your cat’s digestive and immune health.
While some products are as quick and simple as chews, there are a variety of other options to consider. Depending on the causes of your cat’s symptoms, the type of treatment and dosage will vary.
Combining a healthier or adjusted diet and supplements will probably make a big difference in your cat’s health. Regardless, making a vet’s appointment first cannot be stressed enough. After all, we want the best care for our four-legged children.
Sensitive Stomach Cat Food and Probiotics: Dinovite for Cats and Pet Ultimates!
While you should check with a vet first, here are some options on treating your sickly cat!
Pet Ultimates Probiotics for Cats and Dinovite for Cats are great beginners when dealing with your cat throwing up if you begin to notice their illness. However, as you’ll learn later in the article – sometimes it’s natural! Gross but true.
Blue Buffalo Sensitive Stomach Natural Adult Dry Cat Food and Hill’s Science Diet Adult Sensitive Stomach & Skin Cat Food can help if your cat has regular stomach issues. If you do suspect your cat has a sensitive stomach, always consult your vet. You never know if it will mean something serious or not.
Learn what most vets say about cats throwing up and causes below!
A Symptom of a Bigger Problem? What Causes Vomiting in Cats?
One of the most common causes of vomiting in cats is eating too much food, too fast. You’ll find what is known as regurgitation near your cat’s food bowl when this happens. When a cat’s stomach wall expands too fast, the brain receives a signal, causing regurgitation.
Unlike vomiting, regurgitation doesn’t cause the cat to open their mouth – the fluid and food is brought up from their esophagus. According to DVM Dr. Sara Stephens, “Cats that eat too quickly because they are gluttonous or stressed by food bowl competition can regurgitate right after eating.”
However, regurgitation isn’t always innocent – it can be due to esophageal issues, digestive tract obstruction, dehydration, or hairballs.
Cat Not Eating?
In addition to eating too quickly, cats vomit after eating something they shouldn’t. For example, cats love to get into toilet paper, grass, and even carpet – all things that can cause an upset stomach! All of which can also play in part of NOT eating!
But, curiosity can mean something more – especially when they ingest objects like strings, toy parts, or even feathers. Cats often vomit excessively when they eat something that can become lodged in their stomach. In this case, take your cat to the vet immediately as surgery is often necessary.
Cats may also vomit due to a bacterium, viral, or parasitic infection. Gastrointestinal parasites may also cause a cat to chronically vomit as they cannot digest their food properly.
Chronic diseases, such as acute kidney failure, colitis, gallbladder inflammation, pancreatitis, and gastritis, can be a symptom of a cat vomiting. Your veterinarian will help evaluate if your cat has a chronic disease.
Furthermore, a change in diet can set off your cat throwing up. Switching up your cat’s meals can cause nausea and vomiting. And, if you recently had to put your cat on a new feline medication, it could easily cause an upset stomach.
Sometimes Vomiting is Normal! Enter Cat Hair Balls…
If you’ve ever had a cat, you are absolutely familiar with cat hairballs. Hairballs are undigested, wet wads of fur – and almost every cat gets them.
Hairball vomiting is typically followed by hacking noises and spasms – and then the vomiting of the said hairball. While most hairballs expel easily, if your cat can’t get it out, bring them to the veterinarian as it could cause intestinal blockage.
When is Cat Throwing Up a Serious Problem?
Because the causes of vomiting can be so varied, it can be difficult to diagnose. However, some cases are easier to diagnose depending on the type of vomit. Additionally, some types of vomiting are more serious than others.
Vomitus! What’s the Meaning Behind a Cat Throwing up Bile
Bile is a yellow-green fluid created in the liver and stored in the cat’s gallbladder until they have eaten. Bile is then released in the small intestine to help with digestion.
When cats throw up bile, it means the bile doesn’t enter the stomach properly and causes irritation followed by vomiting. The gastrointestinal tract does not automatically react to normal tract functions and the tract contents do not move as they should. Ultimately, this causes abnormal internal behavior and the cat vomits bile.
Cats typically throw up yellow bile in the early morning or late evening prior to eating. It’s a rare condition and typically occurs in older cats.
The cause of bile is still unknown but can be a result of gastritis or inflammation of the intestine.
Cat Throwing up Food!
Cats throwing up undigested food is quite common and often harmless. When cats vomit their food, it is often because they ate too much, too fast.
When a cat is vomiting up food, diet change can be to blame – especially in cats with sensitive stomachs. Furthermore, food allergies can be to blame. For example, a cat can be intolerant or allergic to a particular ingredient in their food. Common cat allergies include fish, beef, eggs, milk, and wheat.
A Sick Cat: Cat Vomiting Blood
A cat vomiting blood, also known as hematemesis, can be caused by many different factors. Their gastrointestinal system can be affected by an ulcer, trauma, inflammation or they may have ingested a foreign object. Your cat could also have a hemorrhage that affects their heart, causing a heart murmur or low blood pressure.
Additional reasons your cat is vomiting blood may be trouble with their mouth and stomach lining or a stomach irritation. They might also throw up blood due to a mouth or lung injury.
Blood may be found in the form of fresh blood, clots, or digested blood that appears like coffee grounds.
Bring your cat to the vet if you see any signs of blood in their vomit as it could be life-threatening.
Cat Puking? Why is The Cat Vomiting Foam?
While a human vomiting white foam is often a sign of illness, a cat vomiting foam is quite common. A cat vomiting foam is most commonly associated with hairballs. Other reasons cat vomit foam includes a change in diet or stomach inflammation.
Dietary changes can cause white foam vomit as some cats may resist a change in diet. Cats might skip meals or eat their meal later than normal if you change their diet unexpectedly. When feeding them a new food – especially when it is not introduced slowly – their bodies have no warning and will not produce the digestive juices needed to break down food – whether they eat the new food or not.
White foam vomit can also occur if you unexpectedly change their eating schedule.
Stomach inflammation – or gastritis – can cause white foam vomit as well. Gastritis is commonly seen with lack of appetite. And, your cat may vomit bile or blood in addition to white foam.
If your cat is vomiting white foam due to a hairball, you probably don’t need to be concerned. But, if they are vomiting from gastritis, a trip to the vet may be in your best interest.
My Cat Keeps Throwing up! When to Visit a Vet
It’s time to see your vet if your cat is continuously vomiting or if they are suffering from diarrhea, dehydration, lethargy, weight loss, there is blood in their vomit or if they have a sudden change in appetite or are not drinking enough water.
A Barfing Cat: Here’s What Your Vet Will Do
Your vet will most likely perform various tests such as X-rays, blood tests, sonograms, or a fecal examination to make a diagnosis. This will also depend on your cat’s age, their medical history, and their specific symptoms.
Veterinarians will typically recommend removing food and water until vomiting has stopped for at least two hours. Then, slowly introduce water followed by a bland diet – such as rice, cooked, skinless chicken, and boiled potatoes.
Some situations will require antiemetics-drugs or fluid therapy in order to help the vomiting.
In the event your cat’s vomiting is due to food allergies, your veterinarian may suggest removing different ingredients from your cat’s diet in order to find the culprit. If your cat is vomiting up their dry food, your vet could recommend switching foods to see if that helps.
While sometimes scary, cat vomiting is quite common and often harmless. They could be vomiting simply because they are eating too quickly or have a hairball. However, vomiting can also be a sign of something more serious. If they are consistently throwing up or throwing up blood, it’s time to take your cat to the vet.
All product and Company names are Trademarks™ or Registered® trademarks of their respective holders.
Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase CertaPet.com may earn a commission. Keep in mind that we link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission we receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.