As a first-time or long-time cat owner, there are so many things you need to learn about cat parenting—from deciphering your cat’s behaviour to keeping her properly groomed to providing her with the proper sustenance. Food plays a very important part in helping a cat stay in tip-top shape, and if you come across Kitty vomiting white foam, you need to find out what caused it because it is not a normal occurrence.
But before we dive into why your cat may throw up white foam—an important note for all pet parents reading this post: All and any articles discussing your pet’s health are for the singular purpose of arming you with information before your pet displays any signs of discomfort. If and once you see your cat or any other pet actually throw up or avoid eating or appear in pain, the first and foremost thing to do is immediately seek professional advice from your vet in person. Only a qualified and trained vet can truly help once your baby is in trouble.
With that in mind, this Waldo’s Friends article tackles:
- What is cat vomit?
- What’s the difference between acute and chronic vomiting?
- What are the possible reasons for cat vomiting?
- What should I do if my cat vomits white foam?
What is cat vomit?
Vomiting is defined by Wikipedia as “the involuntary, forceful expulsion of the contents of one’s stomach through the mouth.” When a cat vomits, she contracts her abdominal muscles to expel the contents of her stomach. This is different from regurgitating, which occurs when “the contents of the esophagus are expelled and the food isn’t digested because it never made it to [the] stomach.”
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.
What’s the difference between acute and chronic vomiting?
If you find your cat vomiting white foam, observe how many times she does it in a specific timeframe. Acute or short-term vomiting means she spewed frequently over a short period of time. Meanwhile, chronic or long-term vomiting means she does it repeatedly in a day. The vomiting can also be accompanied by symptoms such as diarrhea and weight loss.
What are the possible reasons for cat vomiting?
1 Your cat ate something that doesn’t agree with her.
Don’t be surprised when your cat throws up something she just ate. Her cat food may consist of low-grade rendered meats that her stomach cannot handle, or she may simply be allergic to one of its ingredients. Sometimes, the type of food—dry or wet—may also be the culprit. Determine which particular brand of cat food or cat treat is causing your cat to vomit. If it is your cat’s first time trying something new, limit her intake to a tiny portion. If she doesn’t throw it up, you can proceed to feed her a bit more the next time around.
When it comes to human food, cats should not be allowed to consume everything we eat. Go through our growing list of “can cats eat” entries to discover all the cat-safe food she can safely eat and drink. Cashew milk, baked beans, and honey are some examples of human food you must avoid giving to your cat.
2 Your cat has eaten too fast.
When your cat gets too excited to eat her meal, she may gobble up everything on her dish in seconds. Running around or playing with her immediately after she eats may cause her to throw up what she’s just eaten. If this has happened before, limit her movement and playtime after meals and consider feeding her smaller meals throughout the day.
You can also make her use non-conventional cat feeders that slow down her eating, such as maze-shaped bowls or automatic feeders. You can also spread out her food on a baking tray and add physical, non-edible obstacles like ping pong or golf balls. She will need to push the balls around to get to her food, giving her time to digest each bite.
3 Kitty has missed a meal.
Grown-up cats are usually fed once or twice a day, with experts recommending a range of 24 to 35 calories a day per pound to keep her at a normal, healthy weight. If you accidentally forget to feed your cat or she missed out on a meal, vomiting white foam may be a common side effect. This may be triggered by the need to get rid of the gastric juices, acid, and bile that have built up in her stomach.
4 Your cat’s digestive system is irritated.
An irritated stomach can lead your cat vomiting white foam. Common causes include foreign bodies (pieces of string, rubber bands, ribbons, hairballs, or toxic items), gastritis (an inflammation of her stomach lining), or inflammatory bowel disease (an inflammation of her gastrointestinal tract).
5 There’s something wrong with your cat’s 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.
6 There might be parasites in your cat’s body.
More commonly found in kittens, parasites may be lurking in your pet’s body, causing her to throw up white foam, lose her appetite, and even have loose stools. Your vet may recommend running fecal tests in order to prescribe the appropriate deworming drug for your pet.
What should I do if my cat vomits white foam?
Cat vomiting should never be ignored, whether your feline pet does it occasionally or regularly. List down all the symptoms you observe accompanying your cat’s vomiting incidents as well as probably causes. Then make sure to inform your vet about them.
Your doctor will run a thorough physical examination and run diagnostic tests such as blood test, urine test, X-ray test, and ultrasound. Depending on his diagnosis, your cat may be given an IV drip, antibiotics, or anti-vomiting medication. If the vet finds a large-sized foreign body in your cat’s stomach, surgery may be needed to remove it.
Pay close attention to your cat if you witness her vomiting. If she vomits repeatedly, cannot keep her food down, becomes weak, and experiences pain, bring her to the doctor immediately. Even if she pukes and resumes her regular activities, she may need to be brought to the vet. We cannot stress enough just how important it is for you to consult a vet in person—no matter how big or small your cat’s ailment might be. For chronic cat vomiting—especially, this should be reported immediately and assessed by your veterinarian.
Remember that it’s essential to get to the bottom of your cat’s vomiting. If it is caused by external factors such as foreign objects, ask your vet for the best ways to prevent your cat from eating them. The risk of having hairballs in her stomach can be lessened by regularly brushing your cat’s fur. Meanwhile, ingesting toxic substances or lethal human food can be avoided by properly storing and disposing them.