Why Is My Cat Throwing Up Undigested Food?

All cat owners are probably familiar with the noise of a cat about to throw up and the slight panic that comes along with it.

Why Is My Cat Throwing Up Undigested Food?

Sometimes it’s simply just a hairball but other times it can be a bit more serious than that which is why it is good to know what’s making your cat throw up.

In this guide, we will talk about why your cat is throwing up undigested food so that you know what you can do to make them feel better and prevent it from happening again.

Difference Between Vomiting And Regurgitation

When we talk about a cat that is throwing up undigested food, it is regurgitation more than vomiting even though they can be mistaken for one another.

Knowing whether your cat is vomiting or regurgitating can be very helpful with getting down to the bottom of what is causing them to do it.

Regurgitation is when your cat throws up food that has not been digested yet, so it will look very similar to how it was before the cat ate it except for some extra fluid.

This is the food that has not yet made it to the stomach before it was brought back up again.

Beforehand, your cat will usually not vocalize or retch because it takes a lot less abdominal effort to bring it up.

On the other hand, vomiting is when the whole contents of the stomach have been thrown up including food, bile, and fluids.

Before your cat vomits, it will likely drool, vocalize, and retch whilst acting more uncomfortable due to nausea.

Reasons Why Your Cat Is Throwing Up Undigested Food

It may look unnerving, but there are lots of reasons why your cat might be regurgitating their food, and most of these reasons are not serious but if your cat goes a long time without being able to digest their food properly, it can turn sour pretty quickly.

Eating Too Fast

Some cats love food so much that they want to eat it as fast as possible which makes them regurgitate it before it even has a chance to pass into the stomach.

To combat this, you can give your cat a puzzle toy or puzzle bowl to eat out of which will take them much longer to get through their meal. It also stimulates their brain.

If the puzzle toys and bowls are putting your cat off from eating altogether, you can try feeding them smaller portions but more frequently so that their stomach has time to digest before the next portion.

Eating Too Much

Feeding your cat too much food can also lead them to regurgitate it because their stomach can’t handle the excess amounts.

As well as being a bit greedy, there are some underlining reasons why your cat is eating too much such as diabetes, hypertension, pregnancy, and side effects of the medication that they are on.

To stop them from eating too much, you will need to closely monitor their meals and only give them what is recommended for their size, age, and activity level.

Food Allergy

Your cat may be allergic to some ingredients in their food such as protein, soy, or wheat, so you will have to be a bit of digging to find out the certain thing they are reacting to.

To do this, you can slowly reintroduce them to different foods until they stop regurgitating the food.

Changes In Diet

Changes In Diet

If your cat is used to eating at a certain time and has adjusted to that for a long time but suddenly misses the meal or eats it later than normal, it can lead them to regurgitate the food.

Switching your cat’s food too quickly can also make them throw it back up before it has been digested because they are not used to the ingredients, so the stomach rejects it.

When introducing new food to your cat, you should do it gradually over the course of a week or two so that your cat has time to adjust.


Cats love to clean themselves and their rough tongues are perfect for the job as they have tiny hooks that remove the dead hair from the coat but unfortunately end up being swallowed.

The hair usually passes through the cat without any issues, but sometimes it can form a ball of hair in the stomach.

This can cause them to regurgitate undigested food because the hairball is temporarily obstructing the stomach.

Hairballs are natural for cats to have, but it becomes an issue if you notice that they are being thrown up frequently and are painful for the cat to bring up.

There are ways that you can help prevent hairballs by getting over-the-counter supplements that will help break the hair down.

You can also groom your cat more regularly so that there is much less dead, loose hair for the cat to swallow.


Sometimes, cats live up to their reputation and curiosity gets the better of them, and they eat something that they shouldn’t have.

This can lead to their stomach being irritated which makes it reject the food that has been swallowed, you may also see some bile or blood come up with the food as well.

Other signs that your cat is suffering from gastritis are that they have a decreased appetite, are lethargic, and seem depressed.


Most of the time when a cat regurgitates its food, it’s due to them eating too quickly or too much, and it’s very easy to fix with some small changes.

However, when it’s due to more serious things such as gastritis or allergies, it’s best to take them to the vet to get to the bottom of it.

As well as this, there is still a possibility that what is making your cat regurgitate is not in this guide and will need some more extensive tests done which is worth it as both your cat and your carpet will be thankful that you did the research and put an end to it!

Courtney Trent
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