Why is my cat vomiting? Causes and treatment

Why is my cat vomiting? Causes and treatment

Vomiting in cats is a recurring fact, but we should not downplay it because of this, since if your kitten vomits it means that something is not going well in his body. Its causes can be very varied, ranging from a food allergy to a behavioral disorder, such as stress, or an underlying disease.

We show you the main causes why a cat vomits foam, bile or even food or hair , so that you can apply the best solution and take care of its health.

You may also be interested in: Symptoms of calicivirus in cats

Why do cats vomit?

In general terms, we can say that if vomiting is a common occurrence in your kitten, it is very likely that the cause comes from its diet . The proteins he receives are of low quality (from slaughterhouse leftovers) and, consequently, difficult to digest, he is allergic to any of its compounds or his diet is far from varied.

On other occasions, the origin lies in the components of the prizes or snacks that you offer. Look at their label. You are likely to find ethoxyquin, propylene glycol, emulsifiers or surfactants, among other unhealthy additives and preservatives. Cow’s milk is not suitable for felines as their pancreas lacks lactase to break down lactose.

Digestive causes that cause vomiting

In this section we find the following factors as triggers for vomiting:

  • The hypersensitivity food. Your cat is allergic or intolerant to any ingredient in its diet. You must apply an exclusion diet with a hypoallergenic hydrolyzed protein feed for 2 months, always under the supervision of the veterinarian.
  • Intestinal inflammation. Gastritis, enteritis, colitis or irritable bowel syndrome are part of this group for which diagnosis an ultrasound and a biopsy are required. If it becomes chronic, it can lead to lymphoma that also causes vomiting.
  • Intestinal lymphoma. It is classified into large cell (more aggressive and lethal) and small cell (better diagnosis).
  • Infections. Viruses, parasites, and bacteria can cause cat vomiting, which is usually accompanied by pasty and foul-smelling stools.
  • Pancreatitis. The feline pancreas may secrete less lipase, protease, and amylase than necessary, resulting in low-profile acute or chronic pancreatitis. The recommendation is to add digestive enzymes to your food. In a short time you will appreciate the improvement.
  • Cholangitis. It is about inflammation of the bile ducts with liver involvement.

Since the esophagus of felines is horizontal, rather than vertical, it is possible to have several of these causes at the same time. In the so-called triaditis, your cat can suffer intestinal inflammation, pancreatitis and cholangitis simultaneously complicating its medical approach.

Non-digestive causes that cause vomiting

On the other hand, we can consider as a non-digestive cause the concurrence of any of these situations:

  • Kidney disease chronic. Do you know that 1 in 3 cats over 10 years old, and 1 in 12 over 15 years old suffer from it? The kidney is unable to clear urine and causes gastric irritation, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Hyperthyroidism. This metabolic alteration is usual in cats over 7 years old. Excess thyroid hormone causes vomiting, as well as weight loss despite a good appetite.
  • Diabetes. Intermittent vomiting is a known symptom of diabetes along with increased frequency of urination and appetite and anorexia, among others.
  • Poisoning. If the vomiting is acute (sudden) it is very likely due to the ingestion of plants, herbicides, cleaning products, foreign bodies such as ropes or pesticides. When a cat eats plants it denotes a certain need to eat raw food. Therefore, we recommend that you always have catnip or catnip at home.
  • Trichobezoars. The continuous grooming of cats and their rough tongue favor the daily intake of hair. However, their digestive system is adapted to this situation and they usually get rid of them through the stool normally. If you notice hairs in his vomit, take note of what we explain below.

Hairballs also cause vomiting

If you detect hairs in their vomit it may be due to:

  1. Your pet ingests more hair than his body can tolerate. Its intestinal motility is unable to rid itself of all the ingested hair. You should help him do this by providing him with more fiber in his diet, cat malt or catnip.
  2. Your pet ingests more hair than it should. A behavioral disorder such as stress, allergies, itching or pain in a part of your anatomy can explain it. Consulting with the veterinarian is the most successful.
  • Complete information on hairballs in cats

When to go to the veterinary consultation?

Not only do you have to pay attention to the presence of hairs in their vomit, but also to their frequency or the concurrence of other symptoms. In this sense, we can affirm that hairballs are not the cause of vomiting if any of these requirements are met:

  • Your pet vomits more than 2 times a month or several times in a row on the same day or on consecutive days.
  • Your cat is over 7 years old and has started vomiting for a while now for no apparent reason.
  • You observe other symptoms such as weight loss, loss of appetite, listlessness, diarrhea or drinking and urinating more frequently.
  • You offered him malt thinking it was for hairballs and he keeps throwing up.


Although it may seem the same to you, regurgitation is distinguished from vomiting in that the feed is whole and is expelled without gagging . It is usually due to anxiety or ingestion without chewing due to competition between cats. In fear of running out of his food, he devours it without chewing.

To avoid this, make sure that each kitten is in a different room, close the door while they are eating, give them a minimum of 20 minutes to eat and use the pheromone diffusers to reduce stress between them. Successful, frugal meals throughout the day help control vomiting.

At other times, the regurgitation may take on the texture of a kind of white foam . It is the hydrochloric acid that your cat secretes before an already established feeding routine. Delaying the time to eat, already learned, makes your body go to work, not having eaten any food should vomit it to avoid irritation.

Bet on appetizers

To keep these situations at bay, it is best to offer them something to nibble on before eating. If for some reason you have to delay their mealtime, with that snack your cat will be able to trick his stomach without vomiting making an appearance. Similarly, small and frequent meals are a smart tactic to mitigate them.


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