Cat throwing up food but acting normal? Find out Why!

hairball cat
(Last Updated On: April 17, 2021)

There are many possible causes for a cat’s upset stomach. In many cases, she will be acting like her usual self even when vomiting frequently. If your cat keeps throwing up but seems normal, the reason is likely to be found in this article.

My Cat Can’t Keep Food Down & Vomits Immediately After Eating!

Primordial Pouch: What Is It?

Reasons Why: Your Cat Throwing Up Food But Acting Normal


The most obvious reason is hairballs, which you will no doubt be able to distinguish from regular vomiting. They are an unfortunate side-effect of your cat’s obsessive self-cleaning routines. Perhaps the most annoying characteristic of a low maintenance pet.
When your cat grooms herself, she rips out strands of her hair with the barbs on her tongue. She then swallows them and they will make their way through her digestive system. Often, it will be excreted in whole, as it is indigestible. At other times, the hair might be bundled into a gooey clump in the stomach. In this case, the hairball is too big to be excreted normally, so it has to come up the other way.
Ingestion of hair can also cause regular sickness, without coughing up an actual hairball. This is due to a condition named hair gastritis, an inflammation of the stomach lining. It will last until your cat coughs up a hairball, so if your cat is throwing up a lot lately, this might well be the cause.


Another common cause of regular vomiting is eating too fast. This is especially prevalent in households with more than one cat. Cats don’t want to share their food. So if they are portion fed they might tend to scoff it all down before the others can get a sniff in at it.
Scoffing down their meals can be a lot trickier for our quadruped companions than for us. Their oesophagus is horizontal rather than vertical. This means that hastily devoured food can tickle their oesophageal sphincter, causing regurgitation.
If you think this might be the case, try feeding your cats in different rooms, so they can get used to eating in peace. Or, split their portions up and feed them at 10 minute intervals.


There are several dietary factors which could be unsettling your kitty.

Firstly, poor quality food can be very disruptive to her digestive system. Some commercial grade cat foods include rendered meat, which is not considered suitable for human consumption. This can be an amalgamation of random leftovers from the meat industry, such as bird beaks and feathers, animal skin, eyes or hooves.

As you can imagine, such a concoction of rejected body parts can be difficult for their stomach.


Kittens might even come to reject better quality foods. It is quite common for them to develop allergies, resulting in regular and recurrent spells of vomiting over a protracted length of time. If your cat has been sick but otherwise fine, this may well be the answer.

Such allergies can sometimes develop when a cat’s diet has no diversity. It is important to try out different proteins from time to time so you can see what is working best for your little companion. However as cats can be picky when it comes too what they eat it can be harder said than done.

There are a lot of cat owners who splash out on a good quality main meal, but compromise to get cheap treats. Bad cat junk food can be troublesome similarly to poor quality meals. Treats which contain funky chemicals like propylene glycol or ethoxyquin can cause vomiting, so make sure to always check the packet.

Outside of decent cat food requirements, there are a couple of common culprits. A great misconception is that it is good to give cats milk.

In reality, cats don’t have the requisite enzymes do properly break down cow’s milk. In this case, the cliché has gone past irritating to become sickening. Your cat might have to drink lactose free milk.

If your cat has decided that she needs more greens in her diet, she may be inclined to munch on your house plants. House plants can also host pesky chemicals. She might have eaten something else she shouldn’t have. A piece of plastic or toilet paper can lodge itself somewhere in your cats gastrointestinal tract, causing sickness as well.

Enzyme Deficiency

If none of the above seem to be the problem, you might consider pancreatitis – a common condition in cats. If your cat is affected by the condition it means that her pancreas doesn’t produce enough of certain enzymes – lipase, protease and amylase – which are required to properly digest food.

But My Cat Still Acts Normal…

Even if your cat is still playful, lively and enthusiastic, it would be prudent to consult a vet if she is vomiting regularly. Regular vomiting can soon cause malnutrition and dehydration. See these tips to encourage your cat to drink water.

If sickness lasts for more than a couple days, contact the vet as soon as you can. Reduce meal sizes in order to minimize stomach irritation. You could mix in a bit of water with her food to keep her hydrated. The vet will run some tests and should be able to conjure up a solution to the problem.

There are many reasons for clockwork vomiting in cats. If it is simply down to a stuck hairball, the problem should resolve itself pretty quickly. Otherwise, you should work on being attentive about what you feed your cat, and what she may eat of her own accord.


Whatever the cause, if your cat throwing up food but acting normal for more than a couple of days, it is advisable to contact your vet promptly.

Also Read: Which electric litter box works?

1 Comment

  • Carena says:

    I have three cats and they are all pigs in disguise. They eat too fast and too much. When this happens they start dry heaving, like they are trying to cough up a hairball. When this happens I essentially burp them like a baby. I hold them up on their hind legs with one hand under their front legs (so their legs are straight out and their body is elongated vertically and basically standing upright) then with the other hand gently pat them on the back while moving an up and down movement. I have had massive success with preventing them from vomiting and or coughing up hairballs. You’ll be shocked at the burp that comes out. If you can hold them on your shoulder to burp them that works too. Since cats have a horizontal esophagus they have a harder time removing air from their stomachs and of course they are cats and have no idea that they need to burp so they throw up instead. I’ve found the same to be true with hairball. Our house is cat puke and hairball free since I’ve started burping them.

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