Critter Culture
Why Do Healthy Cats Throw Up?

Why Do Healthy Cats Throw Up?

Critter Culture Staff



Cats are notorious for throwing up. As any cat owner will attest, these aloof critters have a knack for giving you the gift of barf on a brand-new rug or in your favorite shoes. It's the price of coexistence with a cat.

But what if your furry feline is constantly throwing up their food? If this is a frequent occurrence and your cat is otherwise acting normal, this might start to worry you. There are a few underlying reasons your cat may be constantly throwing up, and most of them are pretty manageable.


Your cat is eating too quickly

Cats may throw up because they're quickly swallowing their food without chewing and ingesting too much air. If you notice your cat throwing up whole kibble then this is the likely reason.

If you have multiple pets, it's a good idea to separate your gluttonous pet from other animals so the others don't feel the need to compete for kibble. Try putting the food on a wider, flat surface rather than a deep bowl, which will force them to slow down and prevent them from gorging on huge mouthfuls.

British cat eating food from a bowl on the floor Kseniya Ovchinnikova/ getty Images


New food may cause an upset stomach

It's important to transition to a new food slowly. Over the course of a week, slowly mix the new food with the old food. The first day should be a small amount of the new food. During the next few days, gradually increase the amount of new food mixed in. This should help avoid any discomfort as your cat adjusts to their new diet.

A large bowl with cat food, and two curious cats looking at it MarioGuti/ Getty Images


Your cat has a hairball

Cats spend a lot of time cleaning themselves each day, and their barbed tongue means they may catch and ingest a lot of their fur. This will upset their stomach and, consequently, they will throw up.

To help avoid this, try brushing your cat with a de-shedding brush to remove some of the excess. If your cat tolerates baths, that's also a great way to get rid of loose hair. You can even give your cat supplements designed to help prevent hairballs.

Cat with a cane ramustagram/ Getty Images


Older cats may have difficulty digesting dry food

If you have a senior cat that's throwing up their food, it may be due to the low moisture content of kibble. As cats age, it gets harder for them to chew and swallow dry kibble. If their stomach isn't able to digest it quickly, this may cause them to throw it back up. Try mixing wet food into their diet or moistening the kibble with water.

Portrait Of Black Cat Resting On Stool In Balcony Jochen Wittmann / EyeEm/ Getty Images


Your cat may have parasites

It's important to take your cat in for a yearly exam with a veterinarian. They can check for parasites, such as roundworms, which can cause gastrointestinal upset. If your cat has ever had fleas, the fleas can spread tapeworms, which can also cause consistent throwing up.

Cats that go outside are more likely to get these parasites, but it's possible for indoor cats to have them as well. Ensure that your cat has a regular flea and deworming regime.

female veterinarian is indoors at a clinic. She is wearing medical clothing. She is looking after a cute cat lying on a table. FatCamera/ Getty Images


Your cat is stressed

It's hard to believe an animal that sleeps 12–16 hours a day can be stressed, but any changes in your home can easily stress out your pet. Since cats often don't show their emotions, it may seem as though they're just acting like their normal aloof self.

Take some time to think about anything that's changed in their life. Did you add a new pet into the mix? Have you had visitors staying with you? Is the house noisier than usual? Any unexpected stimuli can cause stress that results in throwing up.

Shy Tense Cat Stares from the Back of a Kennel with Big Wide Eyes Cavan Images/ Getty Images


Your cat is too active right after eating

Most people know to let themselves digest after a big meal, but some cats miss that memo. This is mostly seen in younger cats or kittens, who are more active in general than adult cats. Do you notice your cat is stuffing itself at the food bowl, then dashing off to play and promptly puking on your floor? Chances are that your cat needs to stop exercising so quickly after eating.

Consider putting the food dish in a small room like the bathroom and closing your cat in for a while after they've dined. This forces them to take some chill time to digest their meal before they run off and play.

two maine coon kittens playing in living room in front of sofa jumping in the air Nils Jacobi/ Getty Images


Your cat has new medication

If you recently changed your cat to a new medication, this could be upsetting their stomach. Some supplements must be given with a meal to avoid this. Take note of when your cat is throwing up. If it happens soon after they take their medication, you may need to change how you give it to them or change the supplement entirely.

Woman giving pill to cute cat indoors, closeup. Vitamins for animal Liudmila Chernetska/ Getty Images


Your cat is eating plants

If your cat eats grass or plants, this can cause them to throw up due to scratching in their throat and stomach or chemicals in the greenery. Check any houseplants for bite marks that indicate your kitty has been nibbling, and move them to a different location where your cat can't use them as a snack.

If your cat goes outdoors, keep an eye on them to ensure they aren't chomping down on grass.

British purebred gray shorthair cat nibbles on green ficus benjamin plant in pot in home room. Aleksandra Pavlova/ Getty Images


Your cat may have cancer

cat watching owner clean up vomit or hairball

Cats are extremely good at faking good health. Many people won't notice their cat is sick because they prefer to hide any weakness. If you've ruled out other causes for unexplained puking, then it may be time to take your furbaby to a veterinarian for an in-depth analysis. Your cat could have a tumor in their throat or stomach that causes them to throw up frequently.


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