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Why Does My Cat Throw Up After Eating? 4 Likely Reasons & Solutions

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	Dr. Tabitha Henson (Vet) Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Tabitha Henson (Vet)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Your cat runs to their food bowl like they’re starving—only to throw up their meal minutes after they eat. It can be a frustrating and perplexing situation since it usually has no apparent cause, and without a cause, it is hard to figure out how to fix the problem!

There are several reasons why your cat may throw up after they eat. Luckily, many of these causes are completely fixable. You just have to know what fixes to apply.

We understand just how frustrating it can be to deal with a cat that continuously throws up. It’s a mess to clean up, and obviously not very fun for your cat. Therefore, we’ve put together this complete guide to help you sort out exactly what’s going on.

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The 4 Reasons Your Cat Throws Up After Eating

1. Too Much Food

Cats may have a problem regulating their food consumption. Some tend to consume food faster than their belly can tell them they’re full. In this way, they may inadvertently eat more than they can hold.

Once they figure out just how full they are, they may throw it all back up.

grey cat eating food
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

Potential Solutions

Luckily, the solution for this is pretty simple: feed your cat less. While you want to keep their overall consumption the same (unless they’re overweight; then switch to a diet food), you should spread out their food into more portions.

You can either do this by hand or purchase an electrical feeder that only provides a small amount of food at a time.

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2. Eating Too Fast

Other cats may not actually eat too much, but they may scarf up their food a bit too fast. This problem is more common in multi-cat households, where cats may feel the need to compete for food. One of the easiest ways to make sure that you aren’t disturbed by other cats is to scarf down the food as quickly as possible!

Sadly, this doesn’t always sit great on your cat’s stomach. In many cases, they will throw up after they start to feel sick.

Potential Solutions

We highly recommend an electronic feeder for this problem. It will dispense a small amount of food at a time, which will prevent your cat from eating too fast. In some cases, you can use a slow feeder as well. Usually, this sort of feeder is just slightly hard to eat out of, which slows your cat down enough to prevent vomiting.

Other times, you may just want to feed your cats separately so that they don’t feel the need to compete.

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3. Ingredients

Some cats have instant reactions to ingredients in their food. While food allergies usually don’t happen instantly, some of them can. If your cat doesn’t seem to be eating particularly fast or too much, then this may be the culprit.

Cat eating fresh cat food
Image Credit: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH, Shutterstock
Potential Solutions

While many people assume that it’s the chemicals, veggies, and similar ingredients that cats commonly react to, this isn’t the case. Instead, many cats have bad reactions to certain proteins. Therefore, if your cat is reacting to their current food, the best option is to read the label and switch them to a food that uses a different protein.

For instance, if your cat is currently eating food with chicken and turkey, then choose a new food without either of these ingredients. You may choose a red meat recipe with beef and pork or a fish-based option. Either way, just make sure that it doesn’t include any of these other proteins.

Switch your cat to their new food slowly to ensure that they do not experience stomach upset from the new food. If their vomiting stops, then you have successfully figured out the problem.

You will need to avoid the ingredients your cat is sensitive to for the rest of their life. Usually, these sensitivities do not fix themselves.

Your vet can also recommend prescription hypoallergenic diets and novel protein diets.

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4. Hairballs

Many cats will experience hairballs at some point. While hairballs can be a problem at any time, some cats may experience particular problems when they are trying to eat. Therefore, they may “vomit” or pass a hairball right after they have their big meal of the day.

While it is pretty normal for cats to have some hairballs, vomiting constantly is a sign that they are getting excessive hairballs. In some cases, hairballs can be dangerous, so it is vital that you take steps to reduce them.

Potential Solutions

Cats form hairballs after they ingest fur while grooming. Therefore, the most straightforward way to reduce hairballs is to reduce the amount of fur in their coat for them to ingest. Usually, this simply means that you need to groom your cat more often. The hair that you remove will not be there for them to ingest.

In some cases, you may need a diet specifically formulated to help hairballs breakup and pass naturally. However, these have varying degrees of success and are not as straightforward as simply brushing or grooming your cat.


Additional Information

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There are several reasons why your cat may be vomiting shortly after they eat. Luckily, all of these reasons have relatively easy fixes. None of them require drawn-out treatments or medications. Instead, lifestyle changes are usually enough to see the vomiting cease.

You may need to try multiple fixes before you discover the cause. There is usually no way to figure out exactly why your feline is experiencing this problem until you try to fix it and come across a solution that works.

Therefore, if the first solution doesn’t work, don’t fret. Just try one of the others we mentioned. Taking your cat to the vet for a check up is vital to ensure there isn’t a more serious condition going on.

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Featured Image Credit: Tom Wang, Shutterstock