Cats are wonderful creatures, but no one enjoys cleaning up their vomit; it is such an unpleasant chore! Besides, if you don’t know what is causing them to be sick, it can be worrisome. Vomiting is linked to several health conditions, and a cat throwing up multiple times a day is never a good sign.
Thankfully, if your cat throws up after eating wet food or kibble, they’re unlikely to be unwell. In fact, you can be pretty sure they’re being sick because they are simply eating too much too quickly. My greedy kitty used to do this all the time! She’d gulp down her dinner in a second before regurgitating the whole meal onto my kitchen floor. Disgusting!
However, through much trial and error, I found five methods that help my cat to keep her dinner down; from feeding smaller portions to purchasing special cat bowls. In this article, I share these five top tips on how to stop my cat from throwing up after eating. You can implement one or all of my suggestions.
Although less likely, it is possible your cat has a food allergy, irritable bowel syndrome, or has eaten a toxic substance. But don’t worry – I’ll answer all your question in this article.
How to Stop My Cat Throwing Up After Eating
After every mealtime, is your cat throwing up but acting normal? If so, chances are they are eating meals that are too big for them much too quickly. This sudden increase in the amount of food in their stomach causes their bodies to reject it.
Unfortunately, this means that their dinner ends up on our floors! This is not great for either of you; you now have a pile of vomit to wipe up, and your cat doesn’t have a chance to take the nutrients it needs from its food. Therefore, you’ll want to stop your cat from throwing up for both of your sakes!
I had this issue with my cat for a while. She would keep throwing up undigested food all over my floor. However, I made a few quick and easy changes, and now feeding time is far less stressful for us both. And I’m sharing these changes with you right now!
1. Check Your Cat’s Portion Sizes
If your cat is eating too much food, it might regurgitate the meal. Therefore, your first point of action should be to check their portion size.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. How much your should feed your cat depends on their weight and age, their activity levels, and the type of food you are using. For example, a very active young cat that is of a healthy weight will eat much more than an inactive elderly cat that is obese.
As a general rule of thumb, the average cat of a healthy weight and good activity levels requires around 30 calories per pound of body weight every day. This means an 8lb cat would need around 240 calories per day. You can then check the cat food packaging to see how much food that equates to. Most cat food will also have recommended portion sizes on the side of the box.
If in doubt, it is always best to speak to your vet. They’ll be able to give you personalized recommendations based on your cat’s breed, weight, age, activity levels, and other factors. Once you’ve got the portion size down, ensure you measure out this amount each day to prevent overfeeding.
2. Feed Smaller and More Frequent Portions
Even if you are feeding your cat a healthy amount, they might throw up their food if they gobble down the amount of food intended for an entire day in one sitting. Therefore, my second tip on how to stop your cat from throwing up after eating is to feed smaller yet more frequent portions.
I like feeding my cat five times per day. To calculate the amount I should be feeding her per sitting, I simply divide her daily portion size between five. For each meal, I then weigh out this amount of food. I always space the meals out at regular intervals throughout the day.
This is a great suggestion as even if your cat still eats super quickly, they won’t have enough food in their bellies to make them throw up. If you aren’t at home during the day, try purchasing an automatic feeder. This will feed your cat at regular intervals for you!
3. Purchase a Non-Conventional Cat Bowl
There are several non-conventional cat bowls on the market designed to slow down eating and prevent cats from throwing up. These include:
- Puzzle Bowls: These have raised areas in the base of the bowl that form a maze-like pattern. This makes it harder for your cat to get the kibble and prevents them from gulping it down. They only really work with dry cat food.
- Elevated Bowls: Elevated bowls are just like traditional cat food bowls, but with one main difference; they are raised several inches above the ground. This means your cat’s mouth and stomach are better aligned when eating so they can swallow their food more easily and vomit less often. They can be used for wet or dry food.
- Feeding Mats: A feeding mat is the wet food alternative to a puzzle bowl. It is a flat mat with a grooved surface that the wet food can be squashed into. Your cat then has to use its tongue to lick its pieces of food out. This again effectively slows down eating and prevents vomiting.
You can also find products in combination. For example, I use an elevated puzzle bowl to stop my cat from eating quickly. Try a few products and see what works best for you.
4. Try Using a Cat Treat Toy Feeder
Alternatively, make feeding time into a game by using a cat treat toy feeder. These are typically little balls that can be filled with dry food. Your cat then has to roll the ball around to get the dry biscuits to fall out of a little hole.
These are great if you feed your cat wet food in the morning and evening but usually leave kibble down in the day. Put the dry food into one of these toys and it will be impossible for your cat to gulp it all down at once. Plus, it adds some fun and exercise to your cat’s life.
5. Check Their Food Isn’t Spoiled
This one may sound obvious, but you need to remember to check the expiry date of the cat food you are using. If it is out of date, throw it away and purchase more. Eating out-of-date food could be what is making your cat sick!
Storage is also essential; food that is in date can spoil early if not stored correctly. When storing dry cat food, make sure it’s kept in an airtight container to keep it fresh. On the other hand, sealed wet cat food is fine in the cupboard. However, once open, put the can in the refrigerator and discard any that hasn’t been used within five to seven days.
Also, ensure the food in your cat’s bowl isn’t left out for longer than it should be. This is especially likely if your cat throws up after eating dry food. Too often, owners will simply top up their cat’s bowl each day without discarding the old pieces of kibble at the bottom. These bottom bits of food will quickly become stale and could make your cat vomit.
Any uneaten wet food should also be thrown away after an hour. After this time it becomes a breeding ground for bad bacteria. If your cat gulps their dinner down, this shouldn’t be an issue. However, if your cat throws up after eating wet food slowly, check you’re not feeding them spoiled food.
What Else Causes Cats to Throw Up After Eating?
Using some of the tips I have mentioned above should solve the issue for you both.
However, there are some more concerning reasons why your cat is throwing up multiple times a day after mealtimes. Here we look at what causes cats to throw up after eating if you’ve ruled out eating too much too quickly as the reason.
If you think any of the below apply, book an appointment with your vet.
1. Food Allergies
If you are feeding your cat small and frequent portions already, food allergies are the number one reason for cats to throw up after eating. When cats with food allergies eat something they are allergic to, it will cause inflammation along their GI tract. This leads to nausea, sickness, and vomiting.
Many owners assume their cat can’t suffer from a food allergy if they have been feeding their kitty the same cat food their entire life. However, cats can develop allergies at any point in their lives. Even if they have previously had no issues with eating their dinner, a new allergy could mean they now suddenly have a problem.
If your cat has a food allergy, you might notice that your cat is not eating much. They have associated eating with feeling sick, and so would rather go hungry. Likewise, has your cat stopped eating dry food but eats treats? If so, it could be they are allergic to something in their dry cat food which deters them from eating it that isn’t present in their treats.
If you think your cat has an allergy, take them to the vet. They will be able to recommend different cat foods. Through some trial and error, you will be able to work out what the food allergen is and simply eliminate this from your cat’s diet.
2. Eating Toxic Substances
If you see your cat throwing up multiple times a day, they may have eaten a toxic substance. Many normal household items are poisonous to cats, including cleaning products, some houseplants, insect repellants, and human foods such as garlic and onions. If these aren’t stored properly, it won’t take much for a curious kitty to get her paws on something dangerous and take a bite!
The number one sign of toxicity in cats is vomiting and diarrhea. They may completely empty their stomach, meaning eventually your cat keeps gagging but nothing comes out.
Other symptoms of cat poisoning include:
- Excessive drooling
- Rapid or labored breathing
- Seizures or twitching
- Abdominal pain and discomfort
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargy and overall weakness
These symptoms have a rapid onset and need to be dealt with quickly. Speak to your vet immediately and bring with you as much information about the substance your cat has eaten if you can. This will help the vet identify the poisonous substance so they can work to eliminate it from their body.
3. Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a medical condition in which your cat’s digestive tract becomes inflamed. This causes feelings of nausea, which can put a cat off their dinner or make them throw up after eating. The other main clinical signs of IBD are:
- Weight loss due to a reduced appetite
- Diarrhea or bloody stools
The precise area along the GI tract that is affected will impact the symptoms. For example, where the colon is inflamed, diarrhea and bloody stools are more common. Comparatively, a cat throwing up multiple times a day is more likely to have inflammation of the stomach.
Regardless of which portion of the digestive tract is affected, you may also notice that your cat is hiding and acting weird. Inflammatory bowel disease does cause severe discomfort, and it is instinctive for cats to hide when they are in pain.
Unfortunately, IBD is notoriously difficult to diagnose as all of the above symptoms are common for many feline illnesses. For a definitive diagnosis, your vet will need to perform an intestinal or gastric biopsy and look at the cells from their GI tract under a microscope.
Once diagnosed, your vet will be able to recommend lifestyle changes to help manage the condition. Food allergies and intolerances are known to exacerbate IBD, so they may look at diet changes. Many cats with IBD benefit from easily digestible diets that are high in fiber and low in fat.
There is also medical treatment your vet might recommend. Metronidazole is most commonly prescribed; this is an antibiotic with anti-inflammatory properties. Where this is ineffective, corticosteroids might be given, and more potent immunosuppressant drugs administered later on if these too prove ineffective.
4. Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Cats with diabetes struggle to control their blood sugar levels, either due to the lack or inability to respond to the hormone insulin. It typically occurs in older and overweight felines. Therefore, if you see an older cat not eating but drinking, diabetes is a likely culprit. Other early symptoms of the condition include increased thirst and urination, increased appetite, and weight loss.
As you can see, vomiting is not one of the common feline symptoms of diabetes. However, if you do have a diabetic cat, throwing up after eating can indicate diabetic ketoacidosis. This is a serious and life-threatening complication of diabetes that needs immediate medical attention.
Diabetic ketoacidosis happens when blood sugar levels are not being well controlled and surge following a large meal. This surge causes the body to break down fats and produce compounds called ketones. These compounds change the pH of the blood which alters the structure of proteins in the body. They then become damaged and ineffective, causing a whole host of related issues.
The symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis are as follows:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Weakness and lethargy
- Anorexia and weight loss
- Extreme lethargy
If you notice your diabetic cat has any of the above signs, take them to the vet immediately. They will easily be able to confirm the diagnosis by measuring blood glucose levels. Through rehydration fluid therapy, electrolyte correction, and rebalancing of blood sugar levels, your cat should be back to normal in no time.
MY FINAL THOUGHTS
Honestly, implementing even just one of my suggestions to encourage your cat to eat more slowly will dramatically help! You should also watch for spoiled food or too large portions, both of which can also make your cat throw up after eating.
Although less likely, food allergies can also cause cats to vomit up undigested food. Toxicity, inflammatory bowel disease, and diabetic ketoacidosis are also potential culprits. If you think any of these apply, book an appointment with your vet. They’ll be able to treat and correct the condition, and your cat will stop throwing up as soon as they’re feeling better.