You may think cat vomit is an odd topic for a video, but the fact is, many cats throw up. And many throw up regularly. Let us go over some of the basic reasons kitties throw up to help you hone in on the potential causes of your own pet’s problem, which you can then discuss with your veterinarian. It’s important to know there are lots of reasons why cats throw up – not just one or two – so there’s usually not a quick.

Why is my Cat Throwing Up?

Why my cat keeps throwing up

Cat throwing up

If your cat eats a poor quality, rendered diet, it could be a contributor. Rendered means the proteins in your cat’s food are not approved for human consumption. They may consist of slaughterhouse leftovers like bird feathers and beaks, animal skin, hooves, eyes, and heads. These pieces and parts are considered protein, but they can be very difficult for your pet’s body to digest and assimilate, which result to vomiting.

Some kitties develop allergies to food, and in fact, this is a very common reason for vomiting over a long period of time. If your kitty acts fine, is a healthy weight, doesn’t seem ill and has a normal energy level, but just throws up occasionally, you should consider a food allergy as the possible cause.

Food allergies develop when cats are fed the same food over and over. Lots of people owned by cats think; that kitty cannot eat anything else. That’s why cats tend to get fed the same diet year in and year out – not because their people don’t know better, but because the kitties refuse to eat other types of food.

It is important if your cat is vomiting regularly to address diet as a central cause. Feeding the same type of protein, even if it’s excellent human-grade quality, can ultimately result in GI inflammation and food allergies. So it’s not just about the quality of the protein, but also about switching proteins frequently. You transition your kitty to a human-grade cat food, and then to a raw food diet if possible. Then every three months, rotate to a different protein source to prevent food allergies.

Cat Throwing up

Cats will commonly vomit from time to time, often because they might have eaten something that upset their stomachs, or because they have sensitive digestive systems. However, the condition becomes acute when the vomiting does not stop and when there is nothing left in the cat’s stomach to throw up except bile. It is important you take your pet to a veterinarian in these cases.

While vomiting may have a simple, straightforward cause, it may be an indicator of something far more serious. It is also problematic because it can have a wide range of causes, and determining the correct one may be complicated. The condition described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats.

Symptoms

Some of the more common symptoms include:

  • Weakness
  • Non-stop vomiting
  • Pain and distress
  • Bright blood in the stool or vomit (hematemesisor hematochezia)
  • Evidence of dark blood in the vomit or stool (melena)

Causes of cat throwing up

Some possible risk factors include:

  • Tumors
  • Heat stroke
  • Liver disease
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Changes in the diet
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Pancreatitis
  • Dietary indiscretion
  • Gobbling food/eating too fast
  • Allergic reaction to a particular food
  • Food intolerance (beware of feeding an animal human food)
  • Adrenal gland disease
  • Dislocation of the stomach
  • Intestinal parasites (worms)
  • Obstruction in the esophagus
  • Metabolic disorders such as kidney disease

Main causes include

Treats and Milk as Potential Culprits

Another area to look at is kitty treats. What I see a lot of in my practice is cat parents who feed a very high quality food, but then give trashy treats to their pets. When you look at the label on your cat’s treats and see they contain things like propylene glycol, FDC red #4, ethoxyquin, chemical dyes or emulsifiers, surfactants, and other stuff you can’t pronounce, it is a sign you shouldn’t be feeding it to your furry feline.

All those additives, preservatives and just plain junk can cause GI inflammation, which causes vomiting. Most mammals drink milk if it’s offered, but it’s important that it’s milk from the same species. Gastrointestinal issues arise from drinking milk (‘nursing’) from a different species.

Your kitty doesn’t have the enzymes required to break down the milk sugar in cow’s milk, his pancreas doesn’t secrete the lactase necessary to break down the lactose in cow’s milk. The result is Secondary GI symptoms, including vomiting.

Cat Gobbling Up Every Meal

Another common reason cats throw up is they eat too fast. Your kitty is a quadruped – his esophagus is horizontal rather than vertical. Food can slap against the lower esophageal sphincter and cause regurgitation of whole, undigested food several minutes after it’s consumed. Slowing down gobbling will help. This seems to be a special problem in multi-cat households where the kitties are portion fed, and a bit of competition develops.

Chances are you’ve got at least one gobbler, and when you put down the morning or evening food bowls, he eats his own portion in a flash and starts checking everyone else’s bowl to see what else he can help himself to.

If this is happening in your house, you need to feed your kitties in separate areas or rooms so they can’t see or hear the others eat. It’s best if you can close the door behind each kitty, because it won’t take long for your gobbler to figure out where the rest of the bowls are if he can still get to them.

The Timing of Meals Makes a Difference

Portion-fed animals that are fed, for example, at 6:00 am and 8:00 pm, will begin to anticipate the next meal in advance, sometimes way in advance. You might find your kitty waking you at 5:00 am because he knows meal time is near. For the next hour, your cat’s stomach will release hydrochloric acid, gastric juices and bile, all of which are needed to digest his meal.

There’s a good chance he’ll throw up some white foam and a bit of yellow bile between 6:00 am and 7:00 am. That’s because the hydrochloric acid irritates his tummy, and since there’s still no food in there for the acid to digest, his body gets rid of some of the acid to avoid further irritation.

Enzyme Deficiency Can Cause Vomiting

Why my cat keeps throwing up

Cat throwing up causes

A cat’s pancreas sometimes doesn’t produce enough lipase, protease, and amylase, which creates a chronic or acute low-grade case of pancreatitis. In fact, we’re finding as veterinarians it’s a lot more common than we assumed as the underlying cause of intermittent vomiting.

Adding a digestive enzyme to your cat’s diet is like buying insurance. You may never need it, but it’s always good to have. If Fluff’s pancreas is properly producing enzymes, adding additional enzymes to the food is not a problem.

Hairballs Are another Common Cause of Intermittent Vomiting

If you’re unsure whether your cat is dealing with hairballs, look for cylindrical plugs that appear on your floor in a pool of fluid. Kitties with long hair and those that groom themselves and every other cat in the house will need some help from you to reduce the amount of hair they are swallowing.

Other Reasons Cats Throw Up

Poisoning is a very common cause of sudden vomiting in kitties. If you have a cat suddenly start throwing up – especially if she doesn’t do it often – you should be concerned she has ingested something toxic.

If your kitty likes to eat your houseplants, she’s probably trying to compensate for a lack of certain nutrients that are available only by feeding raw. Cats don’t have a biological need for houseplants. They don’t have houseplant deficiency, in other words. What they have is a need for living foods.

Supplying your kitty with cat grass is one way to offer him some living foods, and it might be enough to keep him away from potentially toxic household greenery. Other things poisonous for kitties are chemical herbicides, pesticides, and household cleaners. These will cause vomiting if ingested.

If you suspect your cat has ingested a poison, you should immediately call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline.

Cat throwing up Bile

Bile is a bitter, yellow-green fluid that is created in the liver and stored in the gallbladder until food has been ingested. It is then released into the small intestine to help in digestion of food and to emulsify the food so that it can be used appropriately by the body. Bile also carries various waste materials out of the body along with the feces.

Bilious vomiting syndrome occurs due to motility problems, when bile abnormally enters into the stomach, causing irritation and vomiting. That is, when the gastrointestinal tract fails to react automatically to the normal functions that occur within the tract, contents in the tract do not move as they should, causing abnormal behaviors within the system. Bile that has entered into the stomach is expelled by the cat, and the vomit contents are found to contain bile.

Cat Throwing up White Foam

Cat throwing up white foam is common, but let’s find out if you should do something about it or the issue will resolve on its own.

What Causes Cat Throwing Up White Foam?

Overeating

They can sometimes overeat and this may lead to certain problems. If you have a young kitten at home with no clue about when to stop eating, you may soon see a cat vomiting foam.

Dietary Changes

If you change your kitten’s diet suddenly, this may also result in vomiting. It is important that you take some time and introduce new foods slowly to ensure your kitten faces no stomach related issues.

Skipping Meal

One of many reasons why you see your cat throwing up white foam is that she has not received enough food and her stomach is still empty. A cat’s stomach will release gastric juices, bile, and hydrochloric acid to create a feasible environment to digest food. If you don’t feed your cat for long, the buildup of hydrochloric acid may cause stomach irritation. This may result in your cat throwing up white foam – it may also be a combination of white foam and yellowish bile.

Sign of Hairballs

You may have a cat throwing up foam due to hairballs. Many cats swallow hair and vomit foam as a result. This is usually the case when your cat makes noticeable hacking sounds. Sometimes, the mass may also form a plug that strains liquid out and looks like foam. Reduced appetite and constipation are other common indications of hairballs.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Your cat may be suffering from a disease called inflammatory bowel disease or IBD. This can cause a variety of stomach and gastrointestinal problems in kitten. You will see your cat throwing up white foam if unwanted cells have invaded the gastrointestinal tract. Other symptoms of IBD are lack of energy, weight loss, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.

Enteritis

In this condition, the small intestine of some kittens becomes inflamed. Some of the most common symptoms of enteritis are weight loss, lack of energy, diarrhea, and vomiting. The vomiting may include bile, blood, or food, but it usually has a white foamy consistency.

Adrenal Gland Disease

Some kittens suffer from adrenal gland disease in which they cannot produce enough cortisone. This often leads to vomiting of a foaming white substance. The disease can affect both mature and young cats. Female kittens are more at risk. Some of the most common symptoms of adrenal gland disease include low blood sugar, diarrhea, muscle weakness, depression, and lethargy.

Cat Throwing up Clear Liquid

Causes of cat throwing up clear liquid

My cat throwing up clear liquid

Cat vomit may be a sign that the cat is ill. The vomit may contain gastric juice mixed with food particles, hairballs, blood, yellow bile, parasites or clear liquid. When the vomit is clear, the causes may be various including the need to throw up a hairball, thyroid problems, poisoning, cancer or the ingestion of a foreign object. If the vomiting episodes last for several days, a vet must be consulted to prevent severe dehydration.

Cats often vomit clear liquid prior to coughing up hairballs as well; the liquid that comes out is actually gastric juice. The cat will also make different noises, as if he is chocking, in attempt to eliminate the hairballs. If your cat vomits clear liquid without eliminating a hairball soon after that, you should visit the vet and determine the reason your cat vomits clear liquid.

Thyroid Problems 

This can cause the cat to vomit clear liquid. Hyperthyroidism, which is a condition caused by the excess secretion of the thyroid hormone is a disease that is difficult to detect. However, the cat may also present other symptoms such as oily skin, greasy hair, and acne in the facial area or excessive salivation.

Thyroid problems may be managed through anti-thyroid medication and a special diet.

Cancer

It may affect cats, especially older cats and the cancer may be located in different parts of the body or affect the skin or bones. If the cancer is located in the cat’s stomach, the cat may often vomit clear liquid, which is gastric juice, especially if the cat hasn’t eaten.

Other symptoms may include blood in the vomit, lack of appetite, weight loss or diarrhea. The tumor may also be located close to the vomiting center of the brain, causing the cat to throw up. A few scans can determine if the cat has a brain tumor.

The Ingestion of a Foreign Object 

If the cat has ingested a foreign object and cannot digest it, this may cause clear vomiting. The object should be removed, as it may cause an intestinal occlusion or injure the stomach or the intestines of the cat.

Cat Throwing up Treatment  – Get Rid

If there is no serious underlying disease present, your doctor will decide on an appropriate line of treatment based on the symptoms. Drugs to enhance gastric motility will be used to overcome delayed emptying of stomach, increase stomach and gut motility and thus prevent reflux. Also, drugs that will decrease acid secretion in the stomach can be used to prevent damage to the stomach wall due to the increased acidic contents of the bile.

Some animals respond quickly to the treatment, while others need a longer course of medication. For patients suffering chronic bilious vomiting, dietary management is a very important component of treatment, usually involving feeding small, frequent meals, especially late at night.

Preventing the stomach from being empty for long periods of time will help to increase normal stomach motility. Diets low in fat and fiber content will also help the stomach to empty and reduce gastric retention of food. Your veterinarian may also suggest canned or liquefied diets, which also can be helpful in such patients because solid food tend to stay longer in the stomach.

Treatment

Treatment is dependent on the underlying cause of the vomiting; some of the veterinarian’s possible suggestions include:

  • Dietary changes
  • Medication to control the vomiting
  • Antibiotics, in the case of bacterial ulcers
  • Corticosteroids to treat inflammatory bowel disease
  • Surgery, in the case of tumor-caused vomiting or foreign body
  • Special medications for treating chemotherapy induced vomiting

Living and Management

Always follow the recommended treatment plan from your veterinarian. Do not experiment with medications or food. Pay close attention to your cat and if it does not improve, return to your veterinarian for a follow-up evaluation.

Fasting

If your cat is throwing up white foam, you may consider fasting as a way to resolve the issue. A 24-hour fast will do the job in most cases. The idea is to give your cat’s stomach some rest to reduce inflammation. Just be sure to provide them with enough water throughout the day. After 24 hours, start with bland foods such as cooked white rice and give her regular food after 48 hours.

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea helps settle upset stomach; it works great for human and is equally effective for your kittens. Simply brew a cup of peppermint tea and let it cool off for some time. Give her a tablespoon after regular intervals to soothe her tummy.

Hairball Relief

Since you cannot stop cats from licking their fur, it is common to see them dealing with hairballs. It is important to do something for hairball relief because if your cat digests it, she may have constipation. The best thing is to give your cat a teaspoon of mineral oil thrice a week – you can simply add it to their regular food. It works as a laxative and helps prevent constipation and vomiting.

When to Call a Veterinarian

How to get rid of cat throwing up

Cat throwing up treatment

If you see your cat throwing up white foam and you have tried other remedies, you may consider paying a visit to her veterinarian. Here are a few points to help you decide if it is time to call a veterinarian.

  • Notice your cat’s appetite. If she is not interested in eating, it usually means something’s bothering her. It could also be due to a serious condition called fatty liver.
  • Check the frequency of vomiting. If your cat’s vomiting a couple of times a day, there’s no need to worry about it. It should be a cause of concern if she’s vomiting several times an hour.
  • Observe how thirsty your cat is. If you notice a considerable increase in her thirst after vomiting, this could be due to kidney toxicity.
  • Examine urination habits. This is especially important when you have a male cat that’s vomiting and facing issues when urinating. This may be due to a urinary tract blockage.

In addition to all this, you should trust your gut feeling. If your cat is not behaving like he/she always does, it is a good idea to take him/her to a veterinarian.

More references

  1. Most common reasons for cats throwing up:
  2. Acute vomiting in cats:
  3. Vomiting with bile in cats:
  4. Reasons that causes your cat throwing up white foam:
  5. Illness indicated by clear cat vomit:
  6. Vomiting in cats:
  7. Causes of vomiting and their treatments: