Why is My Cat Throwing Up?

Vomiting is not a pleasant subject; and for many of us, the very thought of an upset stomach turns us green. For people, vomiting is usually a sign that something is acutely wrong -- maybe a nasty contaminant made its way into our food or we caught the stomach flu in passing.

In cats, the cause is often a lot less alarming. However unpleasant, vomiting in cats here and there is actually quite normal and can be triggered by the most seemingly inconsequential things.

Here are a few common reasons why your kitty may be throwing up at home:

Why is My Cat Throwing Up?

The Cause: He ate too fast. Regurgitation of swallowed food happens often when your cat gets a little overeager at mealtime. If your cat throws up whole pieces of kibble very shortly after eating, it's likely that eating too quickly is to blame.

The Remedy: Feed smaller meals. Try to help control your cat's eating speed by feeding him more often but in smaller amounts.

The Cause: He switched food types recently. House cats have fairly sensitive digestive systems. If his stomach has grown accustomed to a certain type or brand of food, it may be somewhat jolting to swap to something new.

The Remedy: Mix new food with old food. Try mixing increasing amounts of a new food with decreasing amounts of old food over time.

The Cause: He has a food allergy. If your kitty acts normal in all other ways (is a healthy weight, throws up only occasionally, is of normal energy levels) this is a possibility.

The Remedy: Identify the allergen and make a swap. Look for possible intolerances and see if your veterinarian can help you find an alternate option.

The Cause: He has a hairball. Every cat ingests some hair during grooming and may get a hairball from time to time. Don't stress it.

The Remedy: Wait it out. Hairballs are normal enough and just require a little bit of patience. If this is the cause, you'll notice a small clump of hair in the vomit.

More Serious Causes & When to See Your Vet:

Each of the causes of vomiting listed in this blog are fairly commonplace; all cats will throw up from time to time - it's just the way they work. However, it never hurts to be vigilant and on the lookout for more serious concerns. Vomiting daily or several times a day, or to the point of an empty stomach, is not normal.

If you notice one of the following symptoms, you should contact your vet immediately about the possibility of hyperthyroidism or kidney problems:

  • Uncharacteristic weakness
  • Non-stop vomiting to the point of bile
  • Pain or distress
  • Diarrhea
  • Bright blood in stool or vomit
  • Evidence of dark blood in stool or vomit