Why Does My Cat Throw Up?!

This month on the Acoma Animal Clinic blog we have been talking a lot about pet indigestion issues and what can cause them. Previously we covered dogs, and how their scavenger behavior can get them into trouble when it comes to their stomachs, this time it’s our feline friends’ turns! Every cat owner ever has asked themselves ‘why does my cat throw up!?’ and whether it’s a fur ball or regular vomit, cats throw up from time to time. Here’s why your cat may be throwing up, when to be concerned, and when to seek out veterinary attention.

cat vomit

Why Does My Cat Throw Up: The Causes

While hairballs are a common culprit for a cat’s vomiting, they are hardly the only reason. Two other main causes for cat vomit are similar to dogs: overeating and eating what they probably shouldn’t.


While our cat may be a picky eater, sometimes cats eat too much food, too fast. The stomach can only expand so much and when the stomach is forced to expand rapidly, too fast in fact, the stomach shoots a signal to the brain that its time for another response: regurgitate! This of course, is not actual vomit. This is the quick expelling of food and liquid from their esophagus. There is not any retching, gagging, or heaving, it’s a simple, quick process to get the food out.

Eating too fast isn’t the only cause of regurgitation, however. There can be esophageal disorders, digestive tract obstructions or dehydration. Or, yes, hairballs!

Curiosity ki—Made the Cat Sick

Cats, like their dog friends, tend to be curious creatures, and one of the big ways they interact and understand their environment is through their mouths. They nip at things, smell, and yes chew stuff up. Grass, cardboard tubes, carpet, all are fair game in a kitty’s mind. They’ll eat up string or toy parts, things that can get lodged in the stomach and causes distress. If you suspect your cat has eaten any foreign object and is experiencing problems seek our your vet right away, it may require surgery!

How to Stop Your Cat Throwing Up

While cats all have their occasional hairball, don’t accept frequent vomiting as just a fact of life! One way is to slow down your fast-eating feline, or feed them less food but more frequently. Some companies even make special bowls or treat feeders that feature puzzles or movable pieces that require your pet to work their way to their food.

Diet is one of the most common reasons for cats throwing up. Either their food is making them ill, eating too much, too little, or at the wrong times. If the food you are feeding your pet may be the issue, changing the diet may be necessary. When it comes time to implement dietary changes, you need to do so thoughtfully. Take it slow, make it appetizing for your cat, and measure it out.

Making a transition between food too quickly can cause an upset stomach as they adapt to the new food. If you are changing from dry to wet food or the other way around, making the swap gradual can help. If moving from dry to wet, gradually adding moisture will help the transition along. PetMD has an article on transitioning your cat food that can be read here.


If none of these steps help any with your cats vomiting problem then you certainly need to get some vet attention. Frequent vomiting is a symptom of a long list of illnesses including:

  • Kidney or liver failure
  • Parasites
  • Foreign objects
  • Pancreatitis
  • Colitis
  • Intestinal tumors
  • Or more…

If your cat is suffering from frequent vomiting, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your vet, or if you are a Tucson local, us here at Acoma Animal Clinic.

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