Help! My Cat Keeps Vomiting: What Should I Do?

Help! My Cat Keeps Vomiting: What Should I Do?

Vomiting can often be nature’s way of getting rid of something we shouldn’t have eaten. Cats are no different. As with humans, vomiting can sometimes also be a sign of a more serious condition.

Cats do, however, have a habit of throwing up even when they’re not sick. Hairballs could be to blame: cats that groom themselves may get clumps of fur stuck in their stomachs. They’ll throw these up to avoid blockages in their intestines.

So, when is a cat throwing up something to worry about, and when is it not? Read on to find out.

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Why Is My Cat Throwing Up?

Sometimes it’s necessary to put on your detective hat when a cat throws up. There are a number of factors that could be at play. 

For example, a change in diet or embarking on a course of medication could be to blame. You should check for other symptoms like diarrhea or weight loss. How often your cat throws up and what the vomit looks like are both key to determining the cause.

Whether your cat is an indoor or outdoor cat is relevant and, if you have other cats, their condition is worth keeping an eye on too.

Sometimes, cats regurgitate food. You may see mucus in the vomit in these instances. You should not confuse this with vomiting. Regurgitation happens if a cat hasn’t managed to begin digesting food. It’s a passive action when undigested food gets expelled from the esophagus.

Potential reasons for cat vomiting tend to fall into 2 categories: gastrointestinal causes and non-gastrointestinal causes.

Gastrointestinal causes include:

  • Dietary issues
  • The ingestion of foreign bodies or toxins
  • Parasites or cancer
  • Constipation or inflammatory bowel disease

Non-Gastrointestinal Causes of cat vomiting include:

  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Liver or kidney disease 
  • Pancreatitis or cancer
  • Feline infectious peritonitis or neurological diseases

What Does the Cat Vomit Look Like?

The color and texture of a cat’s vomit can give us clues about the underlying cause. Here’s a little about what these can tell us:


When a cat vomits several times in a row and if there’s blood in the vomit, it can be a sign of irritation in the esophagus and stomach lining due to increased acid. 

Blood can also be present if there are internal ulcerations or if there’s a clotting abnormality. If the color is brown or browny-red, it may mean digested blood is further down the intestinal tract. This could be a result of foreign bodies, hairballs in the intestines, or ulcerations. 

Toxins such as rat poison can also lead to blood in a cat’s vomit.

Clear Liquid 

When a cat throws up, the fluid contents of the stomach may mean they have drunk too much water. Diseases that can cause a cat to do this include kidney disease and diabetes mellitus.


Cats tend to vomit yellowy-colored bile if their stomachs are empty. This can happen if your cat goes too long without food or if they are anorexic. Sometimes the vomit may appear a greenish color when food or a substance brought up from the small intestines gets mixed with bile.

White Foam

This might appear as part of cat vomit due to the small intestines or lining of the stomach becoming inflamed. This can happen for all sorts of different reasons.

Food and Worms

When a cat eats too much too quickly, the vomit often manifests in a tubular shape. They may sometimes vomit food if they feel nauseous immediately after eating. The cause could be a foreign body that’s preventing the food from moving into the small intestines, or there’s a food allergy at play.

The most typical kind of worm seen in cat vomit is the roundworm. Should your cat vomit a worm, it is vital to seek the help of a vet, so they can give your cat the most appropriate treatment.

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Why Is My Cat Vomiting With Other Symptoms?

Cats will very often display other symptoms as well as vomiting. You should keep a careful note of these so that you can pass on the information to a vet. 

For example, cats will typically not feel like eating when they’re nauseous. This could be due to a condition such as liver or kidney disease, chronic diabetes, or because of a foreign body that’s become lodged in the intestine.

When a cat suffers from constipation, the contents of the small intestines and stomach get backed up and can cause a cat to vomit. On the other hand, if a cat has diarrhea and is vomiting as well, it’s a sign that there’s an inflammation in the stomach as well as the intestines. 

If a cat has an acute bout of vomiting and sneezing, they may have contracted a virus. It is relatively common for cats who start vomiting to also develop an upper respiratory tract infection. 

When Should I Contact a Vet?

Always remember – the safest option is always to contact a vet, if you’re at all concerned. You should get in touch with a vet straightaway if your cat vomits more than 2 or 3 times consecutively. When a cat has diarrhea as well as vomiting, they run the risk of dehydration, and it usually takes the help of a vet to sort this out. 

If you know your cat already has other illnesses like diabetes, kidney disease, or hyperthyroidism, you should treat vomiting as an emergency. Early medical intervention is essential. 

If your cat throws up a worm, you must seek the help of a vet and deworm your cat along with any other pets in the household as quickly as possible. Read here about diarrhea and vomiting in dogs.

You must also keep the environment clean and clean any litter boxes frequently to mitigate the chances of reinfection.

Our Expert Vets Are Ready to Hear From You

Cats are curious by nature, so you should keep toxic plants, human medications, chocolate, or small objects well out of reach. Any of these items can lead to digestive complications. If you see your cat throwing up and have concerns about their condition, talk to one of our team of highly qualified vets. Book a timeslot now to ensure any cat that’s vomiting stays safe and healthy.

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