Why does my cat vomit?

  • Allergy to an ingredient(s)
  • Hairball or foreign object/obstruction
  • Eating too much food at one meal
  • Other medical issues

Mild food allergies usually produce skin and ear irritation. However, severe food allergies can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Vomiting is typically the first symptom observed. Almost always the cat will vomit more than an hour after eating and the vomit will usually be liquid or syrupy and smell like gastric juices. The liquid nature is because it had already begun the digestive process. A food allergy may also cause diarrhea that is liquid in nature, stool that is the consistency of soft serve ice cream is not diarrhea. Soft stool can have many causes, including eating too much food. Poopology.

Generally, if a cat is suffering from vomiting and diarrhea related to food allergies, it will become more frequent over the next few days until the cat refuses to eat any more food. It will become necessary to find another food with a different protein source and try again. There is seldom a medication that will be effective with this level of a food allergy. Allergies & Your Cat.


Cats will often vomit as a result of a hairball or a possible intestinal blockage. Hairballs in the stomach take up space making it more difficult for your cat to consume the proper amount of food. This can cause excessive pressure and the cat will vomit to reduce that pressure. If a cat continues to vomit (numerous times a day) when given food or the vomiting came on suddenly and severely, a blockage is possible and you should consult with your veterinarian immediately.


A cat that brings up whole food (in a tube that looks like whole cat food) is regurgitating food from the esophagus, this is often caused from eating too quickly or too much food at one time. Typically, your cat just pigged out on the food and they need to vomit to relieve the pressure from overeating. Read more about feline obesity,


Over consumption of food can also result in vomiting and soft stool with the consistency of soft serve ice cream. If a cat fills her stomach completely; the food will moisten and start to swell in 15 to 20 minutes. The swelling will make your cat feel too full and she will toss some back up to relieve the pressure. This is not harmful, but should be avoided if possible. Many cats overeat due to competition from other cats or her bowl may look like it is becoming empty. She will try to eat as much as possible before it is all gone. Please read our section on Free-Choice Feeding for a detailed explanation and solution.

If you have questions, please contact us and we can discuss your cat’s specific case to see if it is food related. Once you eliminate the obvious possibilities, you should consult with your Vet to discuss other causes. Always work with your veterinarian for assistance with any abnormalities or changes to your cat’s eating habits and digestion.

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