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Why Is My Cat Throwing Up?

When I got out of bed this morning and swung my legs off the side, I stepped into something icky.

Immediately, I knew.

I looked at the cat vomit and spotted the edge of something clear poking out of the mushy mess. It was plastic. Simba ate something he wasn’t supposed to eat.

At least this time, I quickly figured out why my precious kitty threw up. I knew I needed to monitor him to make sure he was okay. If not, my emergency vet was on speed dial.

Other times, though, it can be challenging to determine what happened.

Isn’t Throwing Up Normal For Kitties?

Many pet owners think throwing up is part of a cat’s day-to-day events. And that’s easy to believe since the media (television personalities, online opinions, and even podcasts geared at entertaining and not providing accurate information) give that impression.

Throwing up every day, or even every week, it’s not normal for cats. Instead, it’s normal for a kitty to puke – maybe – every several months.

However, if a cat owner notices their cat is throwing up after eating consistently, there’s something wrong. The little furball should see its veterinarian to figure out what’s wrong.

Is My Kitty Actually Vomiting?

One of the first steps cat owners should take to ensure their cat is healthy after vomiting is to make sure the cat is actually throwing up.

It’s easy for people to confuse when a cat isvomiting, regurgitating, or coughing. Cat vomiting and regurgitating refer to how a cat discharges food from its digestive system. But, the two are different from each other.


Cat vomiting and regurgitation both involve the cat ejecting food from its mouth. However, when regurgitating, the cat’s food passively passes backward through the kitty’s digestive system. The stomach muscles are not contracting to push the cat food out of the system.


When your cat vomits, the food is not passing passively through the stomach and up the esophagus. The stomach muscles contract, forcing the food up and out of the esophagus. Cat vomit includes digested and undigested food, stomach bile, and phlegm.


Coughing does not involve the kitty spitting out food. Coughing can make it confusing for pet parents to determine if their precious kitty vomited because coughing behavior is similar to vomiting and regurgitating behavior. Therefore, pet owners must watch and see if food or a hairball has come from the cat’s mouth.

Why Do Cats Throw Up?

There are many reasons why your little Tabby is spewing up food. Here are some of the reasons why the four-legged creatures are vomiting:

  •      Munching on food too fast or eating too much
  •      Furballs
  •      Introducing new food into the kitty’s diet
  •      Eating something that’s not food – like my little Simba eating plastic.
  •      Stress
  •      Bowel obstruction due to a foreign body
  •      Worms or other intestinal parasites
  •      Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  •      Kidney disease
  •      Hyperthyroidism
  •      Cancer

Here are more detailed explanations of some of the causes to give you a better understanding.

New Food

Cats are creatures of habit. Once the kitty becomes accustomed to eating a specific food brand, the kitty will want to stick with the same meal. Older and middle-aged cats are more set in their ways. Younger kittens still have an entire world to explore, including discovering different tastes.

What makes it more challenging is cats may become ill from a sudden changefrom theirnormal feeding. Cats’ intestines have bacteria that help them digest food. These friendly bacteria are called probiotics. Its job is to replace the healthy bacteria in a kitty’s digestive tract. If the bacteria quantity shrinks, cats can become ill.

Introducing new food can change the number of probiotics in the cat’s gastrointestinal system, leading to vomiting.

Therefore, changing cat food can be challenging. To keep the kitty from going on a hunger strike because the new cat food doesn’t fit its palette, veterinarians suggest pet owners gradually introduce the food into the pet’s diet.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

This syndrome is the most common reason for a cat that has chronic vomiting or diarrhea. A cat can vomit or have diarrhea at least twice a week for months or years. Humans and dogs can also have Inflammatory Bowel Disease with the same symptoms, like an upset stomach.

Animal experts say they primarily see IBD in middle-aged to senior cats. Rarely do veterinarians see IBD in cats younger than two years old.

Chronic irritation of parts of a kitty’s digestive tract causes Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This chronic irritation can stem from bacterial infections in the gastrointestinal tract, worms or parasites in the GI system, a food allergy, individual genetic traits which make cats more susceptible, drug reactions, and immune system dysfunction.

Due to the syndrome being an ongoing illness, pet owners must have consistent follow-up visits with the animal doctor.


Hyperthyroidism is a common disease in felines – mainly middle-aged and older cats. Increased thyroid hormone production from an enlarged thyroid gland causes the illness.

In most instances, an adenoma, a non-cancerous tumor, is the reason for the enlarged thyroid gland. In some rare cases, hyperthyroidism can be fatal when malignant tumors are the reason for an expanded thyroid.

Cats have two thyroid glands, one on either side of the kitty’s windpipe. The thyroid hormones help regulate a kitty’s metabolism. Increased production means the cat will have a higher metabolic rate which can lead to weight loss.

Pet parents need to be on the lookout for several signs if they are concerned their precious fur baby is suffering from hyperthyroidism. One of those symptoms is repeated vomiting. Other symptoms include diarrhea, weight loss, increased appetite and urination, and hyperactivity.


When humans are anxious or frustrated, their feelings can influence their physical health. For instance, when people get sick before a public speaking event.

 If a cat is not pleased with its environment, it too can become too stressed. The stress can cause the cat to throw up.

“How?” some may ask.

When a cat is stressed or anxious, the cat’s stomach motion changes. This change in direction causes the food to go the other way instead of into the intestine. Therefore, the cat starts to vomit.

There are many reasons a cat may become stressed. A new home may cause a little kitty to become anxious. Inviting other pets into the home can create some tension too. When I babysat my friend’s adorable Felix for a few days, Simba – who I admit is a little spoiled – would not go anywhere near the room where Felix was staying. He became so nervous that he threw up once right after supper.

After that, he didn’t eat much either. It wasn’t until we gave him some cat food that he swallowed some morsels. But his appetite returned once Felix returned to his parents.

Other signs a cat may be stressed include hiding, decreased appetite (like my Simba), trembling, avoiding eye contact, and excessive grooming.

Luckily, if you’re wondering, how to calm down a cat with anxiety? It is possible.


Cancer is one of the scariest illnesses. Veterinarians describe cancer as an uncontrolled growth of cells. This growth can cause tumors or abnormal tissue masses to grow on the cat’s body.

Statistics show that cancer is a common cause of death for senior cats, with 32 percent of kitties over 10 dying from the illness. Lymphoma is the most common cancer from which little Simbas across the United States die.

About two percent of American kitties become affected by the Feline Leukemia Virus. This contagious illness can spread from one tabby to another, and the virus attacks the cat’s white blood cells and immune system. This attack on the immune system causes the kitty to become vulnerable to cancer. Therefore, pet owners must get their precious felines vaccinated against the FLV.

While the most obvious sign of cancer is an abnormal growth that people can physically see on the outside of the cat’s body, repeated vomiting is another sign. Frequent vomiting can also indicate stomach cancer – when abnormal growth occurs inside the stomach.


The causes mentioned above are only some reasons why female vomiting occurs. The best way to keep a kitty healthy is to monitor the kitty and watch for any strange behavior.

It’s also always a good idea to feed your kitty premium cat food. It’s simple tosubscribe today to try it out. Just select the number of cats in your household to ensure your furry friend gets the perfect amount of food each month. Then, we’ll deliver it straight to your doorstep. No trips to the store and no shipping costs are necessary! Now it’s time to be your cat’s favorite person by giving them a delicious, ultra-nutritious, and flavorful bowl of PrettyPlease. Lots of happy cat purrs from your well-fed furry feline are coming your way!

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