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Why Does My Cat Throw Up After Eating? 6 Vet Reviewed Reasons & Solutions

Sophie Herlihy

By Sophie Herlihy

a cat that feels sick and seems to vomit

Vet approved

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If your cat has been throwing up after eating, there is a good chance that you are concerned. It can be alarming to see your pet vomit after eating, and it can be difficult to determine why it is happening.

Let’s discuss six possible reasons why your cat might be vomiting after meals. We will also provide tips on how to address each of these issues.

Causes of Cats Throwing Up

Vomiting is a common intestinal response to a large variety of issues. Determining exactly why your cat is vomiting can be difficult, as there are many potential causes. Some of the most common reasons for cats to vomit after eating include:

  • Ingestion of foreign objects
  • Toxic ingestion
  • Organ diseases (e.g., kidney, pancreas, gallbladder, or liver)
  • Parasites
  • Neurological disorder
  • Infection (e.g., bacterial or fungal)
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Allergies

An occasional throw-up is a normal response to mild irritants, but if your cat throws up more than once a week, you should see a vet to discuss possible reasons.

To determine the cause, examine your cat physically and observe their behavior for any other relevant symptoms. Bring these observations to your vet so they can help to make a diagnosis.

The 6 Possible Reasons for Cat Vomiting After Eating

Determining that your cat is throwing up after mealtimes is a significant observation. Vomiting after eating can be a sign in itself. Here’s why it may be happening.

1. Overeating

One possible reason your cat is throwing up after eating is that they’re overeating. Cats are opportunistic creatures and will go through periods of feast and famine in the wild.

This instinctive trait can hang around in our domestic pets, causing them to eat any and all food that is available even if they don’t need it!

Over-filling their stomachs can cause discomfort, and their body will eject food that simply cannot fit.

cat eating dry food
Image Credit: aleg baranau, Shutterstock

How To Stop It:

  • Stop feeding your cat on a free-feeding basis and put down set times for meals.
  • Only put out the recommended serving size of food and if they finish it, take the dish away until the next mealtime.
  • Utilize an automatic feeder to offer smaller meals more frequently.

2. Eating Too Quickly

When cats scarf down their food too quickly, they can easily become bloated and uncomfortable. This discomfort will often result in vomiting as a way for the cat to try and relieve the pressure.

How To Stop It:

  • Put your cat’s food in a puzzle feeder toy. This will make them eat more slowly and give their stomachs more time to digest the food.
  • If you’re not able to get a puzzle feeder, try cutting their food into smaller pieces. This will also make them eat slower and give their stomach a chance to digest.
  • Feed them separately from other pets. This will prevent them from eating too quickly out of competition.

3. New Food

A cat’s stomach gets used to eating the same food day in and day out. When you switch up their food, their stomach might not be used to the new ingredients and this can cause gastrointestinal upset.

russian blue cat eating dry food in bowl
Image Credit: Felice Wölke, Unsplash

How To Stop It:

  • Mix the old food with the new food gradually over a period of a few days. This will give your cat’s stomach time to get used to the new food.
  • From days 1–3, offer 1/4 of the new food and 3/4 of their old food. On days 3–6, feed half and half. Lastly, from days 7–10, feed 3/4 of the new food and from 10 days onwards, they should have adjusted fully.
  • Supplement with a probiotic to boost their stomach bacteria during the transition.

4. Food Allergies

Another possible reason your cat is throwing up after eating is a food allergy. Cats can be allergic to a variety of ingredients in their food, including grains, meat, and dairy.

How To Stop It:

  • Consult with your vet about using a limited ingredient diet and slowly introducing new foods to identify the allergen

5. Hairballs

With all the grooming your cat does, it’s no wonder they collect balls of hair in their digestive tract. Hairballs are normal and the majority pass through the digestive tract with no issue.

However, large or frequent hairballs can cause blockages within the gastrointestinal tract, a blockage in the esophagus will cause food to be unable to pass into the stomach efficiently. Backed-up food will be quickly vomited back up. Intestinal blockages from hairballs need might require surgery for removal and can be fatal.

cat vomiting
Image Credit: Tunatura, Shutterstock

How To Stop It:

  • Feed a fresh, high-moisture diet
  • Feed a high-fiber diet
  • Keep your cat well-groomed
  • Feed a hairball-formulated diet
  • Use a hairball remedy

6. Stomach Obstruction

A foreign body, such as a small toy or piece of trash, can get lodged in the throat or stomach, limiting any food from being digested. An obstruction is a serious emergency and may require surgery to remove the object.

How To Stop It:

  • If you suspect your cat has a foreign body obstruction, take them to the vet immediately.
  • Cat-proof your home by removing all possible ingestion hazards.

Final Thoughts

While vomiting is never fun for either you or your cat, it is usually not a cause for major concern. If your cat vomits more than once a week, however, or if the vomit contains blood or bile, please consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to determine the root cause of the vomiting and help you take the necessary actions to get your cat back to feeling its best.

Featured Image Credit: chie hidaka, Shutterstock

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