Cat Throwing Up Food But Acting Normal

Cat Throwing Up Food But Acting Normal

There are several reasons why cats throw up food or vomit including hairballs, ingestion of foreign substances, food allergies, toxins, or worm infestation. 

Common causes why your cat is throwing up food 

These are the common causes why your cat is throwing up food:

It may be due to hairballs

This is probably the most common cause why cats will vomit and throw up food.  Felines are known to be obsessive self-groomers.  Their rough tongues tend to pull pieces of their hair out and swallow it and when it forms into a bundle or ball, your cat will have an urge to throw it up along with bits of food. Hair gastritis in cats may also occur due to the ingested hair wherein they suffer from stomach lining inflammation and it’s another contributing factor why your cat is vomiting due to hairballs.  

Other symptoms aside from vomiting:

  • gagging, retching, or hacking 
  • lack of appetite 
  • diarrhea
  • constipation
  • lethargy 

It may be due to food allergies

Your cat may also be throwing up food because of food allergies that may develop at any time during her life. Genetic predisposition is said to have an important role when it comes to food allergies in cats.  

Other symptoms aside from vomiting:

  • skin problems like itching, redness, and bald areas of the skin
  • diarrhea 
  • recurring ear infection 
  • respiratory problems 

It may be due to toxins

Certain foods are toxic for your pet cat and if these food are ingested it could cause vomiting even if she may be acting normal. These may include antifreeze, lead, garlic, onion, raw eggs, caffeinated drinks, chocolate, alcohol, raw dough, milk, grapes, raisins, other dairy products, and even dog food. If you suspect that your cat has eaten something toxic, make sure to bring her to your vet at once. 

Other symptoms aside from vomiting:

  • neurological signs like seizures, tremors, incoordination, or coma
  • liver failure
  • weight loss 
  • respiratory signs like coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing 
  • kidney failure 

It may be due to worm infestation.

If your cat is heavily infested with worms she may vomit even if she’s acting normal otherwise.  While most cats won’t show signs of infections, a major infection of roundworms or heartworms may lead to vomiting.

Other symptoms aside from vomiting: 

  • weight loss 
  • potbellied appearance 
  • dull hair
  • presence of worms in the vomit

It may be due to diet/low food quality.

It may be due to diet low food quality.
Image: / Lightspruch

Another reason why your cat is throwing up food but acting normal may be the low food quality or it may be that some proteins in the food are not suitable for her. It could also be due to an unbalanced diet and you may be giving your cat the same food daily.  To prevent it, be sure to serve your cat an array of food while ensuring that she’s receiving enough protein as part of her nutritional requirements.

It may be a serious condition like a kidney problem or infection. 

If your cat is throwing up food but also thick yellow bile then be aware as it could be a sign of a serious kidney infection or disease. Other symptoms that may accompany it include a loss or increase of appetite, lethargy, and abnormal behavior. It’s best to consult your vet right away to address the concern. 

It may be due to quick eating/gluttony.

Cats that tend to eat too quickly because of competition with other felines or are gluttonous may throw up food within minutes of consuming it.  This is because cats have horizontal esophagus so eating time should be done slowly. To avoid this from happening, slow feeder bowls that have channels or pegs can do the trick,  so your cat may eat slowly and be able to digest the food well. 

It may be due to diet changes.

Abrupt changes in your cat’s diet can also cause her to throw up food even as she may be acting normal.  This may include changing her from a dry to wet food diet, or even just a change in brands may result in an upset stomach. To avoid this, make sure that food and diet changes are done gradually for one week.  

Other symptoms aside from vomiting:

  • diarrhea 
  • soft stools 
  • decreased or loss of appetite It may be due to foreign substances. 

It may be due to an enzyme deficiency. 

Some cats may also tend to throw up food due to a lack of digestive enzymes or pancreatitis. This happens when the pancreas doesn’t discharge the enzymes that are needed to break down the food. It may be accompanied by other conditions such as diabetes or liver disease or due to abdominal injury and ingestion of toxic materials like insecticides.

Other symptoms aside from vomiting:

  • lethargy
  • fever
  • abdominal pain 
  • diarrhea 
  • decreased appetite 

It may be simply due to a cat’s curiosity. 

Cats are curious animals and they’ll tend to eat anything that catches their fancy.  These may include strings, toy parts, feathers, paper, plastic materials, and even medications. These foreign substances and undigestible materials irritate your cat’s stomach and result in vomiting and regurgitating.

What to do if your cat is throwing up food but acting normal?

What to do if your cat is throwing up food but acting normal
Image: / Kenneth Chow

If your pet cat appears to be acting normal but has been vomiting a few times during the day you should call your vet at once. You should also observe the following that may occur:

  • if your cat continues to throw up during the day
  • if she’s weak or lethargic 
  • if there’s blood in the vomit 
  • if she’s vomiting after her meals 
  • if there are grooming changes 
  • if there are changes in her appetite, drinking pattern, and toilet habit

Make sure to bring your cat to the vet at once so he can do a thorough checkup. A series of laboratory tests may also be done like blood tests, fecal examination, and urine analysis. Your vet may also do an X-ray and ultrasound to assess the problem completely. 

A common treatment to stop the vomiting is not to give food and water until it has stopped and then slowly reintroduce water along with a bland diet.  

If the cause of throwing up was due to hairballs, try the following treatment:

  • treat your cat with cat oil or butter as it will lubricate the intestinal system and may help expel hairballs
  • give her treats that are designed to eliminate hairballs 
  • use hairball gels 

If it was due to food allergies, this is the recommended remedy:

  • exclusion diet trial recommended by the vet  – while on this diet your cat should not eat anything else including treats 

If the cause was due to toxic substances or chemicals, the following is the recommended treatment:

  • remove your cat from the poison source and isolate her 
  • prevent your cat from grooming herself if the poison is in her coat or paws 
  • consult your vet at once and inform him of all the details about the poisoning and take the plant, substance, or packaging with the toxic substance to the vet 
  • don’t induce vomiting unless your vet instructs you to do so 
  • if the poison is in the skin or fur, be sure to wash it thoroughly with shampoo and water 

If the cause of vomiting was due to worm infestation, the recommended treatment is the administration of deworming medication for at least 3 sessions. 

If the cause was due to enzyme deficiency,  it may be treated by supplementing the enzymes through powder which is effective compared to tablets and capsules.