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My Cat Keeps Throwing Up White Foam

Why Is My Cat Throwing Up White Foam

Why is my cat throwing up white foam and clear liquid?

White, foamy vomit is common when a cat vomits on an empty stomach. Your cats stomach contains a small amount of fluid and mucus between meals, and this fluid and mucus results in white, foamy vomit. Although white, foamy vomit isnt unusual, its still important to get to the bottom of why your cat is vomiting in the first place!

There are many possible causes of vomiting in cats. Isolated episodes of vomiting do not always have an identifiable cause, while consistent or recurrent vomiting is more likely to reflect an underlying disease.

Potential causes of vomiting in cats include:

  • Dietary indiscretion
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Inflammatory bowel disease

What Is Cat Vomit

Vomiting is defined by Wikipedia as âthe involuntary, forceful expulsion of the contents of ones stomach through the mouth.â When a cat vomits, she contracts her abdominal muscles to expel the contents of her stomach. This is different from regurgitating, which occurs when âthe contents of the esophagus are expelled and the food isnât digested because it never made it to stomach.â

When a cat vomits, it may or may not be accompanied by these signs: drooling, lip licking, and excessive swallowing. Your cat may also hide away in a quiet area when she feels nauseous.

Cat Throwing Up Undigested Food

There is a difference between vomiting and regurgitation. Regurgitation is when cats throw up undigested food, often with little or no effort.

This undigested food may be covered in mucus and shaped like a tube. Regurgitation is often brought on by coughing, difficulty breathing, oesophageal problems or foreign bodies.

If your cat is vomiting foam, its likely to be bile. This is usually yellow or greenish in colour. Blie is an acidic liquid created in the liver and stored in the gallbladder until food has been ingested, when its released into the intestine. Bile helps cats break down food. It can, however, leak into the stomach and cause vomiting. If your cat vomits bile persistently or their sickness is accompanied by other health issues such as diarrhoea, loss of appetite or lethargy, seek urgent advice from your vet.

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Theres Something Wrong With Your Cats Other Organs

Besides stomach-related troubles, your cat may be experiencing issues in her other organs such as her pancreas, kidney, or liver. Pancreatitis is a common illness in kittens wherein they do not produce enough enzymes such as amylase, lipase, and protease to digest their food. Aside from vomiting, the swelling of the pancreas causes diarrhea and thinning of the coat.

Diabetes, hepatic insufficiency, and hyperthyroidism are other diseases that may trigger cat vomiting. If you care for a senior cat, chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, cancer, and renal failure can also be plausible reasons for chronic vomiting.

Why Did My Cat Throw Up White Foam

Cat Throwing Up White Foam

All cats throw up at some point, but some do it more than others. There are many reasons that cats throw up, but it can be particularly alarming to see your cat vomit white foam. What exactly is going on, and is your cat okay?

It depends on why your cat is throwing up in the first place. Before we get into the causes, if your cat seems quite sick and not like themselves, go straight to your vet!

Most of the time, there are benign explanations for cat vomit. However, theres usually only one reason that cats throw up white foam: They are vomiting on an empty stomach.

We go over the most common circumstances that can lead to cats vomiting and what you can do to best help your kitty.

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Why Do Cats Throw Up Clear Liquid

Clear liquid vomit from your cat is simply your cat bringing up what is commonly known as stomach or gastric juice from the digestive tract. It may sometimes seem kind of slimy which is the excess mucus that is coming from the esophagus. The esophagus is the the tube that connects the mouth and the stomach and the bomit will travel that length to come up.There are many causes of vomiting in cats which I will talk about in more detail below.The most important thing you can do to help your cat is to pay attention to your cats behavior to notice if the vomit is increasing and to how your cat is acting. It is also important to note any behavioral changes if their normal demeanor changes, it can signal a bigger issue.

Clear cat vomit is as clear as the name suggests, it may come out as a clear liquid or as a white foam. You do not expect to see any solid food particle in this type of vomit. The clear liquids always come from the cats digestive tract, which in many cases are stomach juices.

Some of the common reasons why a cat would emit the foam or clear liquid include:

Causes Of Vomiting In Cats

The causes of acute or chronic vomiting can be the same, but there are exceptions. Toxins are generally not a cause of chronic vomiting . Ingesting a foreign body is not normally a cause of chronic vomiting, although if the foreign object remains in the stomach, it can be a cause of chronic vomiting.

Unfortunately, vomiting is a very vague symptom, and the causes are extremely varied. In fact, almost any feline illness can result in vomiting. In general, the causes of vomiting can be placed in one of these categories: toxins, drugs, diet , gastric , intestinal, organ dysfunction, endocrine, neurologic , infectious and cancer. In each of these categories are dozens of specific diseases and syndromes. Some of the more common causes are listed below:

  • Toxins: Lilies, antifreeze
  • Diet: Dietary intolerance to something in food, sudden change in diet, eating a dead thing
  • Gastric: Foreign bodies, ulcers, inflammation of the stomach
  • Intestinal: Foreign bodies, acute inflammation, inflammatory bowel disease , cancer, constipation
  • Organ dysfunction: Liver disease, kidney disease, pancreatitis
  • Endocrine: Hyperthyroidism , elevated calcium, diabetes ketoacidosis
  • Neurologic: Vestibular disease , encephalitis , cancers
  • Infectious: Feline infectious peritonitis, feline panleukopenia, heartworm
  • Cancer: Can be a direct cause, such as intestinal cancer, or an indirect cause, such as mast cell tumors in the skin

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The Cat Can Also Be Suffering From Irritable Bowel Syndrome

This is a kind of disease that causes various stomach and gastrointestinal problem in cats that are affected. Cat vomiting white foam occurs when cells that are unwanted invade the gastrointestinal tract. This will also lead to inflation. When the cat starts to experience such kind of problems in its stomach, it will be pruned to vomit to release some liquid from the stomach.

Cat Vomiting: 7 Causes And How To Help

Why Do Cats Throw Up?
  • Cats may vomit occasionally from hairballs or mild stomach upset. This is usually benign.
  • However, in other instances, vomiting may signal a serious medical problem.
  • Cat vomiting may happen due to systemic illness, an obstruction, food allergies, parasites, and more.
  • Treatment for vomiting will depend on the cause.

Most cat owners are all too familiar with the characteristic hacking sound of cat vomiting. But just because weve all heard it, doesnt mean it should be a regular occurrence.

Vomiting in cats can often be an early sign of illness, so be careful not to overlook this important change in your cats health.

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Cat Throwing Up Brown Liquid

Cat throwing up brown liquid is usually digested blood due to some trauma or irritation to the intestinal tract.

Examples of causes of digested blood include:

  • Ulcers
  • Foreign bodies
  • Hairballs in the intestines

A cat that vomits several times in a row will likely irritate and possibly ulcerate the esophagus. Stomach acid can also irritate a cats stomach lining.

Toxic products like rat poison can cause a clotting abnormality causing vomiting of digested blood.

Is My Cats Vomiting An Emergency

The most important question we need to answer is: Should I stop reading this article and take my cat to the ER? If your cat is experiencing any of the following, go to the emergency room:

  • Cant keep down any food or water. Vomiting many times per day.

  • Vomiting blood

  • Vomiting what looks like coffee grounds

The greatest health risks, all of which are rare, that are associated with vomiting are bleeding, obstruction of the digestive system, and severe dehydration. Thats what this list is trying to address.

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What To Do If Your Cat Is Vomiting White Foam

A meticulous researcher and editor with 17 years of fact-checking experience, Cherisse Harris reviews articles at The Spruce Pets for factual accuracy and consistency. She has fact-checked articles for multiple publications, including InStyle Magazine, Refinery29, The New York Times, Seventeen, and Details.

The Spruce / Ellen Lindner

If your cat is vomiting white foam, there may be several underlying causes like indigestion, hairballs, gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and more. Your veterinarian can help you figure out what is ailing your cat and how to help bring your pet relief. Here are some explanations on some of the causes and how it can affect your cat.

What To Do If Your Cat Is Poisoned

Cat throwing up white foam and not eating

If your cat has been poisoned, it is important to act quickly and seek professional medical help. The sooner you can get your cat to the vet, the better their chances of recovery will be.

There are a few things you can do in the meantime to help your cat. If you know or suspect that your cat has ingested something poisonous, try to remove any remaining poison from their mouth and give them water to drink. You can also try to induce vomiting by giving them a small amount of hydrogen peroxide.

Do not give your cat anything else to eat or drink until you have consulted with a vet. If you have the container of poison, please bring this with you to the vet so they can better treat your cat.

If your cat is exhibiting any symptoms of poisoning, such as vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, or difficulty breathing, please call your vet or emergency animal hospital immediately. Time is of the essence when it comes to treating poisoned animals, so dont delay in getting help.

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Chronic And Acute Vomiting In Cats

Throwing up can be separated into two broad categories: chronic and acute vomiting. Chronic vomiting means throwing up with some regularity for a long period of time. The cat usually only vomits once or twice with each occurrence. When a cat who usually doesnt vomit starts vomiting, thats the acute type. This is generally a concern for you and your veterinarian only if the cat vomits multiple times. The diagnostic workup and treatments for acute and chronic vomiting can differ, as does the urgency of when to bring the cat to the veterinarian.

More urgent care is usually required for a cat with acute vomiting. The exception to this is a cat who has only vomited one to three times and is otherwise normal. If the cat still wants to eat and does so without continuing to vomit, is acting normal and seems comfortable, she does not need to be brought to a veterinary hospital unless you know that she ate something toxic.

A chronically vomiting cat should still be seen by a veterinarian, but its not urgent if the cat is still eating and keeping food down, is not showing signs of weakness and seems comfortable. If these things are not true, a chronically vomiting cat is either an acutely vomiting cat or is having an acute crisis of whatever is causing his chronic vomiting.

Cat Vomits White Foam Due To Gastrointestinal Issues

The most likely motive behind vomiting is due to an issue with the digestive system. At the time of diagnosis it is important to take into account whether the vomiting is sporadic or persistent. There are two types of vomiting in cats, acute and chronic.

  • Acute vomiting: vomiting many times in a short period of time.
  • Chronic vomiting: throwing up regularly over a prolonged period of time.

We also need to be considerate of other symptoms and look at their context. This might include whether the cat is throwing up white foam after certain activities or if they seem to do it all of a sudden. We need to take into consideration the cat’s medical history and whether they have been involved in any accidents.

When your cat is vomiting white foam and not eating, it is often because they cannot keep any food down. Their stomach is upset to the point they know if they eat they will bring it up again. If the cat vomits enough, we will see that the white foam stops and they vomit yellow bile.

Consistency and color of the vomit is also influential in the diagnosis. We might see the cat has blood in their vomit or there is a lot of green mucus. When our cat vomits white foam, we should know it could be due to a gastrointestinal issue. These include:

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Other Reasons To Be Concerned About Cat Throwing Up White Foam

Other than your cat refusing for more than 24 hours which puts her at risk of fatty liver you will want to consider paying an urgent visit to your veterinarian in the vent of the following scenarios:

  • Your cat vomits more than a couple times per day. This is especially true if vomiting intervals are less than an hour apart.
  • The cat seems to be getting thirsty faster than usual. This could be a sign of kidney toxicity and/or failure.
  • Your cat shows difficulty urinating. This is especially true for male cats which are more predisposed to urinary tract blockage than their female counterparts.

Whatever the underlying cause for the foamy vomit, a general guideline goes: you are better safe than sorry.

Vomiting On An Empty Stomach

What should I do if my cats mouth is foaming?

If you are continuously vomiting, pretty soon, you will empty your stomach of food. When this happens, you will begin throwing up a mixture of other stomach contents. According to Dr. Glenn H. Englander, a gastroenterologist out of West Palm Beach, Florida, foamy throw up consists of mucus, stomach acid, and swallowed saliva.

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Do I Need To Bring My Cat To The Vet For Vomiting

Vomiting in cats is not normal, but neither does all vomit warrant a trip to the vet. Here is a simple diagram to help you decide if a vet visit is necessary.

The diagram isnt perfect, and if you think your cats vomiting doesnt fit in here, be safe and call your vet.

The more information we have about your cat the better, but here is a list of some things you can do prior to your visit:

  • Write down your cats feeding habits. What types and what brands of food are you feeding? How much? How often?

  • Take a picture of the puke. Gross? Yes, but incredibly useful.

  • Take note of how many times your cat has vomited in the last week with approximate times after eating if possible.

  • Make sure your kitty has fresh water to drink. Vomiting is dehydrating.

  • Question about the diet

    First, your vet is going to ask you for all of the information in the what should I do before an appointment section. For the most productive visit, come prepared with that information.

    Thorough examination

    Once in the room, your vet will thoroughly examine your cat for signs of blockages, masses, and constipation, unfortunately though, examinations dont tell us much about the state of your cats kidneys, blood glucose, thyroid, or intestines.

    Diagnostic testing



    Can I Help My Cat Throw Up

    If you suspect that your kitty is vomiting because theyve ingested something potentially toxic, you could be tempted to help your cat throw up in order to eliminate the toxic substance from their gut.

    Unfortunately, many of the commonly used ways of inducing vomiting in cats, such as giving salt, hydrogen peroxide, olive oil, or even sticking a finger in your cats throat are not very safe for your cat, and could cause other unexpected problems.

    The best thing to do if your suspect that your cat has ingested something toxic is to, who will then advise on the best course of action.

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    Cat Throwing Up White Foam When To See The Veterinarian

    There are so many different reasons that your cat may be throwing up white foam. The urgency of the situation can differ. Some cats may just be regurgitating a hairball. But others could be suffering from a much more serious issue, such as renal or liver failure.

    If your cat is throwing up white foam, try to observe if there are any other symptoms off illness. A lot of the symptoms that you may recognise could be triggered by several of the causes identified above. So, you will need to make a list to take to your veterinarian. They will have the knowledge and ability to run tests and narrow down the options.

    You can also observe how often your cat is vomiting white foam, and whether there are any recent changes to their diet or lifestyle. This is information that could help your vet!


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