7 Common Reasons For Cat Puking Why Your Cat is Throwing Up

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As a pet parent of a cat, cat puking is probably all too common. Whether it's hairballs or a little food finding its way to the floor, vomit is usually nothing to get overly concerned about. Learn about the most common causes behind cat puking.

It is not unusual for a cat to throw up every now and then. Many cats throw up after eating too quickly, or as the result of hairballs caused by grooming. However, if you see your cat puking more than once a week, or if the puking is accompanied by other symptoms, it could mean something more serious. Read on to learn the most common reasons for cat puking.

#1 Eating Habits

A cat who eats too quickly or overeats may end up puking. This problem is common in multi-cat homes where cats are fed together and feel like they need to compete for the food bowl. Puking can also be the result of an abrupt diet change, or vigorous activity following a meal.

#2 Consuming Indigestibles

This may be the most common reason for a cat puking. When a cat consumes any indigestible substance -- be it a houseplant, grass, toilet paper, part of a toy, or even their own fur — their body rejects the material and it is often vomited up in the form of bile.

#3 Allergies

Food allergies are an all too common problem in pets. A cat who is allergic or intolerant to one or more ingredients in their food may throw up. The most common cat food allergens are beef, fish, eggs, wheat, and milk. Even if your cat has been eating the same food for a long time without any problems, food allergies can still develop.

#4 Infection

Bacterial and viral infections — including but not limited to salmonella and giardia — can lead to vomiting.

#5 Certain Diseases

Vomiting is a symptom of a number of diseases. Among them are liver failure, kidney disease, irritable bowel disease, gastritis, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, adrenal gland disease, and cancer.

#6 Parasites

Internal parasites — such as hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms — can cause a cat to vomit, often excessively.

#7 Poisons

When a cat eats something poisonous, their body’s protective mechanisms kick in to get rid of the toxin, usually through puking. Common poisons include certain human foods, certain plants, human medications, insecticides, and certain chemicals. 

How to Deal With a Cat Puking

While your cat’s puking might be the result of something minor, it could also be tied to a more serious issue. If your cat’s vomiting does not seem related to eating habits or the consumption of something indigestible, visit your veterinarian to determine if your cat is suffering from a medical condition. A cat who is vomiting blood always requires immediate veterinary attention.

The treatment for your cat’s puking will ultimately depend on the cause, but there are ways to help your cat avoid tummy upset, including offering smaller portions, providing plenty of fresh water, and withholding certain ingredients.

Your cat depends on you to stay healthy. Don’t ignore vomiting, and always contact your veterinarian if you suspect that your cat is unwell.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I be concerned about my cat vomiting?

Vomiting can be a normal behavior in cats, especially if they are eating grass to help them vomit hairballs. However, if your cat is vomiting frequently or if the vomit contains blood, you should be concerned and should contact your veterinarian. Other signs of illness to watch out for include loss of appetite, weight loss, and lethargy. Additionally, if your cat is vomiting along with other symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, or difficulty breathing, it could be an indication of a more serious condition, and you should seek medical attention immediately.

Why is my cat throwing up but acting normal?

If your cat is throwing up but otherwise acting normal, it could be due to a number of reasons. Cats groom themselves frequently, and they can ingest a lot of hair while doing so. The hair can accumulate in the stomach and form a hairball, which can cause your cat to vomit. Hairballs are usually cylindrical and can be identified by their distinct texture and shape. Eating too fast, eating spoiled food, or a change in diet can cause your cat to vomit. Cats who eat too much too quickly can develop an upset stomach and may vomit. Some cats may have an allergic reaction to certain types of pollen or other environmental factors that can lead to vomiting. In cases like these, your cat may be feeling fine or a bit uncomfortable for a short time after but will not exhibit other signs of illness. However, it's always a good idea to keep an eye on your cat and to contact your veterinarian if the vomiting persists or if you notice other signs of illness.

How much vomit is normal for a cat?

It's not uncommon for cats to vomit occasionally, especially if they have ingested hair while grooming themselves. However, it's important to keep in mind that vomiting can also be a symptom of an underlying health problem. In general, if a cat is vomiting more than once a week or if there is blood in the vomit, it's considered abnormal, and you should contact your veterinarian. Some cats may be more prone to vomiting than others, especially if they have long hair and are prone to hairballs. If your cat has a hairball, it may vomit up a small amount of hair, which is usually cylindrical and can be identified by its distinct texture and shape. This is usually not a cause for concern and can be addressed with grooming and special diets. If you notice that your cat is experiencing regular vomiting or showing any signs of distress, such as weight loss, loss of appetite, or lethargy, it's important to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your vet can perform a physical examination and run any necessary tests to determine the cause of the vomiting and recommend the appropriate course of treatment. Vomiting can be caused by different things, so it's important to track the frequency, volume, color, and content of the vomit to give your vet a better idea of what might be going on with your cat.

What should I do if my cat is puking?

If your cat is vomiting, it's important to pay attention to the frequency, volume, color, and content of the vomit. Observe your cat for any other signs of illness, such as loss of appetite, weight loss, or lethargy. Also, take note of how often your cat is vomiting and the consistency of the vomit. If your cat is vomiting frequently or if the vomit contains blood, it's important to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Remove any food and water from your cat's reach for about an hour or until your cat is stable. After that, give small amounts of water, and if the cat is able to keep that water down, slowly introduce small amounts of food. If your cat is lethargic, depressed, or having difficulty breathing, contact your veterinarian right away, as these symptoms can indicate a more serious condition. Keep track of your cat's vomit, and take note of any unusual items or substances that may be in the vomit. Make sure to keep your cat calm and minimize any stressful situations, as stress can exacerbate symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Contact your veterinarian to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. Your vet will likely want to perform a physical examination, run some diagnostic tests, and may recommend treatment options.

Do cats vomit when stressed?

Stress can cause a variety of physical and behavioral changes in cats, and vomiting is one of the symptoms that can occur as a result of stress. Stress can cause a number of changes in a cat's body, including changes in hormone levels, digestion, and immune system function, all of which can contribute to vomiting. Cats may also experience an increase in stomach acid production which can lead to stomach discomfort and vomiting. There are many different things that can cause stress in cats, such as changes in the household, the introduction of a new pet or person, moving to a new home, or even a new piece of furniture. Some cats may also be more prone to stress than others, and certain medical conditions or medications can make them more sensitive to stress.

More on Cat Health

Signs Your Pet Needs New Food
5 Common Cat Problems and Health Issues
9 Signs of a Sick Kitten - And What To Do

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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