How To Know Whats Normal When Your Cat Throws Up

Posted by jeff@pethangout 10/09/2019 2 Comment(s)

How to know whats normal when your cat is throwing up.


Does your kitty cat throw up a lot? 



Better yet, have you ever stepped out of bed in the middle of the night only to have a cold, wet squishy lump squeeze in between your toes??  


I know, right!!!  so yucky and not what you wanted!! 

It’s not uncommon at all for cats to throw up their food or hairballs.    It is actually their body expelling something that doesn’t belong in their stomach in the first place.

If you are worried or just sick and tired of cleaning up these wonderful and messy surprises that your cat leaves all over the house, then read on…

Pet Hangout has some common reasons and some solutions for you today!  Yay!!!    

You’ll need to think through some of the possible reasons and narrow down what may be going on with your cat.  


Although it’s true that you can’t stop your cat from washing and ingesting a lot of hair, there still may be hope for you and your kitty’s tummy.


Here’s how to know what's normal when your cat throws up and when it’s time to sound the vet alarm:



1 - HairBalls, hairballs, hairballs!

Well, yes we all know that cats throw up hairballs.    Your cat loves to stay clean and part of that is to lick, tug, and swallow their shedding hair.

Since their body has absolutely no use for this hair coming through, it will compile it over in a “not sure what to do with this stuff” compartment in their stomach.    


The cat’s body will discard it but not process it through the normal waste system…meaning their poop.

Eventually, if the hairball get’s too large, it will obstruct normal digestion of nutrients and food.   When this happens, the good ole throw up of their food can occur.    


Hopefully, the hairball will eventually come on out too!   It can’t stay there forever my friends.

What you can do to help:

  • Give your cat Natural Laxatone.   This emollient will slowly dissolve the hairball so that your cat’s system can process it on through and out to the litter box.    Once the hairball is dissolved, you really won't detect anything strange in their stool, just a normal-looking poopie at that point.    It’s best to follow the recommended dosage on the tube to be safe.
  • Brush your cat often - daily if you have a very furry cat.    This reduces the amount of hair that is going to end up in their stomach.   
  • Place a little olive oil or butter in their food.  This will help lubricate their digestive tract and help things slide along.
  • Give them treats like, Feline Greenies Smartbites, that are full of healthy things to help dissolve hairballs.

Kitties that wash a lot will have hairballs.

Cats with lots of hair need brushing.



2 - Eating too fast

Is your cat a little bit anxious?  


Some kitties are, especially females.   By nature, they are more defensive and watching for attacks due to their innate nature to protect their young.  


Your female may have their mothering instinct about her even if she has never had a litter.     

For cats that cannot seem to relax, it may show up a bit in their eating habits as well.    If your cat gulps their food down, their stomach might just turn it right back around.  


If you are noticing throw up immediately after their meal AND the food still looks whole, then it is likely your cat is gulping (and not chewing properly).    


Their body just sends it back because it is having a hard time processing it.

What you can do to help:

  • Place pacers in their food bowl.    Place small objects (that they will not try to eat) in their food.    It will naturally slow them down while they pick around the pacers.    
  • Play calm music for you cat
  • Lower the lighting
  • Reduce the portion size and feed more often during the day
  • If feeding kibble, try switching to minced wet (can) food

Kitty may gulp their food and get sick.



3 - Emotionally upset or distraught

Cats can be very sensitive creatures.  


Did they lose their BFF recently?   Did you scold your cat?  Have they been separated from a sibling or their mother?

If your kitty isn’t purring much, this is a huge sign that they could be emotionally distraught.  Think about what recent changes may have occurred that could be upsetting your cat.


Also, if they hide a lot, they are distraught about something!

What you can do to help:

  • Ensure your cat’s eating area is safe.   No strange animals or people should be coming through at supper time.
  • Spend some quality time with your cat, especially before eating.   Try to pet her and hold her in your lap.    You might also try grooming her or him with a soothing pet glove.
  • Play soft music
  • Speak to your cat in a happy, upbeat tone always.  No screaming, please.

Kitty may feel anxious and hide.



4 - Stressful/New Environment

Are you and your kitty in a brand new environment?   


To a cat, it turns their whole world upside down.    They hate change!!          


Even if it’s a nice new home, your cat is going to need some time to adjust.    They are creatures of habit and anything new is going to make them anxious and wonder what else is coming next.

What you can do to help:

  • Introduce your cat slowly to a new environment.   Take them to it and let them see it.  Then, let them retreat into a safe place like their cozy cat crate.   And if possible, return them to the old environment that they are familiar with.    Then, the next time they see the new environment, they will remember and not be so stressed.    
  • Feed them calming cat treats before going to the new environment
  • Play soft music
  • Lower the lighting
  • Buy them a “blanky” and spray with Emotional Balance essential oil.   Let them cuddle and sleep with it in their old environment first, if possible.    Then, give the blanket to them in their new environment.  They will remember the comfort of the blanket and will help settle them.

Kitty may feel threatened and hiss.



5 - A little under the weather

Well, I guess cats can get sick too!   Yes, your cat can catch a “bug” just as you can.    They may just be feeling a bit under the weather and need a little pampering.     

What you can do to help: 

  • If they stop eating after throwing up make sure they are at least getting water.    Use a dropper and squeeze in the side of their mouth if they will not drink on their own. 
  • Monitor them for a high fever, groaning, crying, lethargy, etc.
  • Try to feed them a very small amount of boiled chicken (without seasoning).   
  • Remove their food and give them just a few natural treats.  Most cats will eat treats when they won’t eat their food
  • Make sure you are feeding high-quality cat food (or even raw food)to them.  One that is full of real food and not fillers and preservatives.   My kitty girls started eating Blue Buffalo for sensitive stomachs and it has helped them tremendously!)
  • If their sickness lasts more than 24 hours OR they are throwing up blood OR there is blood in their stool, take to the vet right away.

Kitty sleeping in a cat sofa.



6 - Food intolerance

Your cat may have certain food allergies.   If you suspect this the first thing to do is go basic.    


Some foods, especially people food, can have additives that your cat’s system just cannot handle.

What you can do to help:

  • Stop feeding all food - people and cat.
  • Introduce whole food in a small portion to them.  For example, a small amount of fish or chicken.
  • If all is good with them, introduce more foods back into their diet.  Your goal is to see if anything you introduce causes them to throw up again.   If so, then remove the last food given from their diet.    
  • You can slowly introduce cat food back into their diet but it must be of the highest quality.    Don’t go back to the same food they were eating before getting sick.
  • If you can’t figure out exactly what food is making them sick, then a trip to the vet is in order!


7 - Digestive disorders

Your cat may have something physically wrong with them and their digestive system.    


Did the problem just start?   Were they in any type of accident?  

And I hate to even ask this but…  Was the cat mistreated in any way?


What you can do to help:

  • Take your cat to the vet if you suspect there may be a physical issue causing the throw-up.

If kitty throws up blood, see a vet.



8 - Curiosity and being too nosy!

Can I say my cat, CJ is a little bit crazy?    She loves to eat plastic bags and dental floss.

Don’t ask - I haven’t a clue what attracts her to these objects.

But having said that, these types of things quickly make her so sick.    


And of course, she throws it up all over the house!!

What you can do to help:

  • If you have an ultra nosy cat, then make sure things that are not meant to be eaten are put away when your cat is around.   It’s almost like having a toddler in the house at this point.   
  • If you feel your cat has ingested something dangerous, take them to the vet right away.

Curious cats can eat things that make them sick.




Remember, there could be many reasons why your cat is throwing up.   Some include hairballs, anxiety, gulping food, a new environment, and just plain ole cat curiosity.   

The most important thing you can do is observe your cat.   This will help you troubleshoot if their throwing up is normal or not so normal.

Once you determine the reason for throwing up, you should try some of our suggestions above to see if it helps.

If it does, we are so happy for you and your cat!

If it doesn’t seem to help 


You are seeing blood


Your cat seems very lethargic and cannot function normally,

THEN please go ahead and take your kitty to the vet.  


They are trained to delve deeper into the problem so that your cat can begin feeling better!!




Did this post shed some light for you about your cat?


Tell us about it below, please!


For more cat health reads, head on over to 7 Reasons Your Cat Might Be Obsessed with Wonderful Water, 7 Reasons Why Your Kitty Pees in the Wrong Place, and How to Help Your Furious Feline Live Longer.




2 Comment(s)

Derk Duermeyer:
05/30/2020, 02:41:33 PM,

Very good subjects.

06/02/2020, 01:32:45 PM

Thanks Derk!Do you have a kitty?

Freda Savahl:
10/15/2020, 01:41:56 PM,

Thank you so much for all the information on Pet Hangout. This site is a gift of knowledge for education to care for our pets.

11/03/2020, 11:15:34 AM

Hi Freda,Thanks so much - we try!Please tell me more about your site. :-)

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