Why Is My Cat Throwing Up Undigested Food?

Why is my cat throwing up undigested food? Cat is throwing up undigested food because of food allergies or intolerances, blockages, or any other condition that causes upper gastrointestinal tract discomfort.

cat throwing up

Why Is My Cat Vomiting?

Vomiting is a difficult symptom to diagnose since the reasons are so many. Vomiting may be a symptom of almost any feline ailment.

Toxins, medications, food (including eating improper items), gastric (stomach), intestinal, organs dysfunction, endocrine, neurologic (usually brain-related), infectious, and cancer are among the more common reasons for vomiting, although there are more. Difficult to count the number of illnesses and syndromes that fall under each of these broad categories.

More prevalent reasons are outlined below.


This may lead cats to vomit food that hasn’t been properly digested. Slowing your cat down by feeding them from a food puzzle toy might be beneficial. Cats love food puzzles because they are both fun and educational.

2 Cats’ natural predatory and foraging tendencies are piqued by the increasing number of commercially produced food riddles. For cats that often vomit their food, food puzzles have an additional benefit: they allow them to eat more slowly, reducing their risk of becoming ill as a result of eating too rapidly. If your cat eats from a puzzle feeder regularly, yet continues to vomit up their food, see your doctor.

Food Sensitivities

As previously said, some cats overeat, while others suffer from food allergies. Intestinal sensitivities or habitual “scarf and vomit” cats may vomit up partly digested or undigested food if such is the case with your cat.

If your veterinarian has checked out other medical conditions and believes that what your cat is vomiting up is true food, they may recommend that you feed your cat a commercial, sensitive systems food. An astringent, hydrolyzed protein diet may be necessary if your cat continues to vomit food on this particular diet.

Protein is what most cats are allergic to, rather than any other kind of vitamin. In a hydrolyzed diet, the protein is broken down into its constituent amino acids, making it more easily digested. As a result, your cat’s immune system won’t recognize the food as a potential allergen, and an allergic reaction won’t occur.


Cats spend a significant portion of their waking hours grooming themselves. Tiny hooks-like structures on your cat’s tongue capture loose and damaged hair, which is subsequently ingested while they groom themselves. The vast majority of hair goes through the digestive process unharmed, but some hair remains in the stomach and forms a hairball, which is difficult to remove from the digestive tract.

Hairballs may cause or contribute to a cat vomiting up food that hasn’t been digested. Even though a cat may vomit a hairball from time to time, it is vital to remember that hairballs should not be regular, unpleasant, or difficult for your cat to pass.

There are over-the-counter nutritional supplements, in either chew or gel form, that may help prevent hairballs in your cat. You can prevent your cat from accidentally eating loose hair from their coat by brushing them regularly and making them comfortable with the process.

Changes in Nutrition and Diet

If your cat skips a meal or eats later than usual, your cat may regurgitate food that hasn’t been digested. Changing your cat’s food too rapidly might also be a problem. The best way to transition your cat to a new diet is to gradually decrease the quantity of their existing food and gradually increase the amount of their new food.

If your cat eats too rapidly, undigested food may be regurgitated. Eating smaller, more frequent meals may help prevent your cat from becoming ill from overeating, although it is less probable. It’s a good idea to discuss how much food you’re giving your cat with your vet to make sure they’re not getting too much or not getting enough.

Intestinal Irritation If your cat is prone to ingesting items they shouldn’t, their stomach may have been irritated by what they ate. Vomiting food that hasn’t been digested, as well as blood and/or bile, may occur when this occurs. Your cat may also be showing signs of dehydration, a reduction in appetite, a mood shift, or a lack of energy. If your cat vomits due to gastritis, your veterinarian will know just what to do.

Among the other possibilities are:

  • Disorders of motility

  • Inflammation of the esophagus

  • Parasites

  • Constipation

  • A blockage in the intestines caused by foreign material


Acute and chronic vomiting may both have the same underlying reasons; however, this is not always the case. Chronic vomiting is seldom caused by toxins (unless a cat is chronically exposed to the same toxin, such as eating a toxic plant). It is fairly uncommon for a foreign item (usually string) to be ingested and linger in the stomach, which may lead to prolonged vomiting.

Types of Cats Vomiting

Acute and chronic vomiting are the two main types of vomiting. Chronic vomiting in a cat indicates that the cat vomits regularly, such that the cat vomits once or twice per month or week.

However, many cats that had never vomited previously are now experiencing extreme vomiting. If your cat vomits repeatedly in a short period, you and your veterinarian should be quite concerned.

In other words, at what point does it become concerning? As long as your cat’s vomiting occurs no more than three times a day, you shouldn’t be too concerned about it. However, if it rises over this threshold, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian right once.

Any of the following signs may indicate that your cat is becoming more prone to vomiting than usual:

  • Your cat is always exhausted and does not have the stamina to go for a brisk stroll around your home.

  • The food that your cat eats doesn’t get digested, so it keeps eating.

  • For one day, leave your cat alone at home and check in on how it’s doing. Emergency care should be sought if your cat’s health worsens throughout the night.

  • Your cat may be suffering from a serious ailment, such as liver disease if you delay providing it the medication it needs.

  • Make sure to keep an eye on your cat daily to catch any signs of illness early on. If you’re worried about your cat’s health, don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian.

Difference between Vomiting & Regurgitating

The distinction between vomiting and regurgitation might be useful. For this reason, if you know which your cat is indulging in, the doctor has a higher chance of determining why this is happening.

Vomiting and regurgitation may seem the same at first glance, but there is a significant difference. A piece of regurgitated food hasn’t been digested by your pet’s stomach acids yet, unlike food that has been vomited up. Because of this, determining the underlying cause may depend on knowledge of the differences.

Vomiting Regurgitating
Vomiting is when the contents of your cat’s stomach are evacuated. Distinct from other forms of vomiting, regurgitation affects the animal’s esophagus or mouth alone.
Vomiting comprises not just food but also water and bile, which they’ve expelled. Water, food, or any other ingested material is not able to reach the stomach before passing back via the mouth.
When an animal vomits, it does so by contracting its abdominal muscles, which might manifest in many ways such as heaving, nausea, and vomiting. Since no abdominal effort is required to induce regurgitation, it is distinct from aspiration.
Your cat may slobber or vocalize during vomiting, as well as retching before the actual vomiting. Regurgitation, on the other hand, is passive; your cat may merely droop their head and the food will fall out.

What Should I Do When My Cat Vomits?

Depending on the reason behind your cat’s vomiting, there are a few things you may do to prevent it from happening again. If your cat is eating too rapidly, providing them smaller meals more frequently may help. You should also chat with your veterinarian to check your cat is not being fed too much and is receiving the nourishment they need.

If the vomiting is due to a hairball, consider over-the-counter nutritional supplements, in either chew or gel forms and a regular brushing regimen. If you suspect food allergies, consult with your vet about a special diet.

Give Your Cat Fluids

If your doctor does not notice any serious signs following the physical check, they may treat your cat with some fluids to cleanse your cat’s body. Moreover, if the cat has been vomiting a lot, this procedure will keep your pet hydrated.

Administering fluids is the most typical treatment for any cat that is vomiting, no matter what the reason is. The reason for this is that since cats lose a significant amount of water via their vomit, they get quickly dehydrated, which causes them to feel unwell for an extended period.


Your cat’s vomiting symptoms may be so severe that the vet will give them some medicine to halt the vomiting immediately. These medications help relieve the cat’s pain and motivate it to consume more food. In addition, if the veterinarian believes it is essential, pain medications will be administered.

Diet Adjustment

The availability of food sources, as I have said many times in the preceding sections, might be a significant factor in your cat’s feeling under the weather. As a result, if there is anything that is aggravating your cat, you should consider substituting it with a different kind of cat food. Once again, your veterinarian is the most qualified source of information.


This medication is quite effective in circumstances when cats ingest stuff that they shouldn’t be consuming. However, there is a range of adverse effects for your cats, including increased water and urine needs, as well as weakened immune systems and muscular tone.


Depending on what your doctor discovers, your cat may need hospitalization for fluid therapy and supportive care, or they may simply need outpatient treatments and physical meds to go home on. If your veterinarian believes that your cat is suffering from an intestinal blockage, your cat may need surgery to remove whatever is causing the obstruction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some FAQs related to cat vomiting:

1. Why is my senior cat vomiting undigested food?
When a senior cat regurgitates food that hasn’t been digested, it might indicate a severe sickness. Several factors may lead to a variety of health issues for your pet, such as hairballs, internal blockages, pancreatitis, and eating too rapidly.

2. How do I stop my cat from throwing up undigested food?

Food that has not been digested correctly may be vomited up by cats as a result. Feeding your cat from a food puzzle toy may slow them down. Because they’re entertaining and informative, cats like food puzzles.

3. Why does my cat keep throwing up undigested food?

Many of these cats, I’ve discovered, are just overeating. They’ll wolf down the meal, frequently without even bothering to chew it before swallowing it whole. As soon as the meal is finished, the cat will regurgitate or vomit most of it. (The vomited kibble appears not just undigested but also unchewed.)

4. When should I be concerned about my cat throwing up?

As soon as you see your cat vomiting repeatedly, you should call your veterinarian. You should seek emergency medical attention if your cat continues to vomit excessively. If your cat exhibits any of the following signs, contact your veterinarian: Vomiting consistently.

5. Why is my cat not digesting her food?

Small toys or strings that get lodged in the digestive tract are common culprits in cats, who are more prone to developing the illness. Toxic buildup in the digestive tract, such as a tumor, may create obstructions. A hairball might sometimes be the culprit.

6. How many times a day should I feed my cat?

It is recommended that cats consume at least two meals a day, spaced at least 12 hours apart. This choice is just as good as one that includes three meals a day and one meal before bedtime. The stomach might become hyper acidic and cause nausea if more than 12 hours pass between meals.

7. Should I feed my cat again after regurgitation?

Try giving your cat 25 percent of what they regularly eat to see if it will stay down after a few hours of waiting. Continue to raise the dosage over the following 24 hours, working your way up to the maximum. As soon as your cat begins vomiting again, you will need to have it checked out by an animal hospital.

8. How do I get my cat to chew his food?

Your pet’s odds of seeing the food again are much increased if they don’t eat it. Slowing your pet’s eating rate can assist encourage him to chew his food, which is the solution to this issue. Changing a pet’s food dish is one of the easiest methods to slow down their eating speed.

9. What does hairball vomit look like?

Your cat may vomit up a hairball (furball), which looks like a cigar-shaped clump of fur. When hair accumulates in your cat’s esophagus, it forms a tubular shape. You may vomit rounder material when hair enters your stomach but does not pass through it.

10. Do cats get stomach bugs?

It is most common to have vomiting and diarrhea as a result of gastroenteritis. When handled around the stomach or hindquarters, many cats show signs of discomfort or even aggression. Gastroenteritis may cause a cat to be less active (lethargic), have a lower appetite, and may hide from its owners.


Why is my cat throwing up undigested food? There are several possible explanations for this occurrence, each of which might be difficult to pinpoint precisely. Nonetheless, being able to identify the primary causes will help provide them with therapy. I hope you have found this essay to be useful. If you find it useful, please forward it along to your friends and family members as well.

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