Updated - Oct 13th, 2022
It can be scary to find your cat throwing up their food, and vomiting can be a symptom of many different things. Let’s look at some common reasons why your cat might be throwing up their food, and when you should contact a veterinarian.
Much like their human friends, cats can be allergic to different types of food. If your cat vomits up undigested food after eating something new, there’s a chance they might be allergic to one of
the ingredients. When it comes to food allergies, your veterinarian may recommend a simple diet to determine which foods your cat is allergic to. They may also recommend a hydrolyzed diet that breaks down proteins so that they are easier to digest.
Eating too fast
Sometimes our furry friends eat too quickly and this can cause them to throw up undigested food. Feeding your cat smaller portions or feeding them with a puzzle bowl can help slow down digestion. Your veterinarian may also recommend adjusting your cat’s feeding schedule.
Change in diet
If your cat isn’t experiencing allergies or eating too fast, a change in their diet might also cause a temporary shock to their digestive system. Whether that’s from new treats, new cat food, or exposure to human foods, changes in routine can be a lot for a cat to adjust to. One solution that your veterinarian might recommend, is to slowly introduce your cat to a change in diet. For example, if your cat is switching from wet food to dry food, you might consider adding a small portion of dry food to the wet food over time, so that the adjustment is not so hard on your cat’s stomach.
Cats groom themselves every day, meaning they spend plenty of time eating and licking their own hair. Most of that hair is digested, but sometimes it gets stuck and forms a hairball, which is normal but can cause vomiting. There are over-the-counter supplements that can help if this becomes a recurring issue.
If you notice that your cat is throwing up its food in addition to regurgitating blood and bile, they may be experiencing gastrointestinal bleeding. This could be caused by a blockage in your cat’s digestive tract or esophagus, especially if your cat has recently swallowed a foreign object or a large piece of food. Intestinal parasites such as roundworms can also cause stomach bleeding. If you suspect that your cat may be experiencing gastrointestinal bleeding, contact a veterinarian immediately.
Other serious problems that can cause acute vomiting or chronic vomiting for cats include hyperthyroidism, stomach tumors, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, liver disease and pancreatitis. If your cat throws up more than once a week, reach out to your veterinarian. They may recommend blood work, an X-ray, or other tests to determine the cause of vomiting. Look out for other symptoms including weight loss, retching, gagging, drooling, and lethargy, so that you can share all of the relevant information with your veterinarian.