If you cat is throwing up clear liquid, it can be tough to know what to do. As a concerned owner, you may wonder what problem-solving strategies are available to you, and when to use them.
As an experienced Ragdoll owner, I've seen all kinds of cat vomit, and I've done a lot of research on how to know when to intervene. Let's unpack all the information you need to know to keep your kitty safe.
Cat vomit can be a number of different colors, depending on the cause. It can vary depending on what food or objects your cat swallowed, any dyes present in their food, and various other factors.
So, you can’t tell what is wrong with a cat just from the color of their vomit. Yet, there are some potential causes of clear cat vomit, some of which are serious, and some that aren't.
If your cat vomits clear liquid once, there are several possibilities. They may have just drank too much water, they could be vomiting digestive fluid because of a hairball, or it could be something more serious. A one-time incident might not be a big deal, but frequent vomiting should always be cause for concern.
This post is for entertainment purposes only. Please review our terms and conditions. Always consult with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your own pet.
Although I am an experienced cat owner, I am not a veterinarian! So, while you can use this article to learn more about some of the causes of clear cat vomit, you must always get your cat checked out if you are concerned.
According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, cat vomiting is never normal. If your cat experiences “sudden and severe” bouts, it should be considered an emergency, and you should seek immediate medical care.
Why is my cat throwing up clear liquid?
Clear cat vomit could be water, or maybe the gastric juice from your pet’s stomach.
To narrow down your options, consider if your cat is drinking too much water. If they are, that could be the source of the vomiting. Cats drinking too much water may have a medical condition like diabetes or kidney disease that causes them to feel too thirsty.
Take some time to monitor your kitty’s water intake, and bring it up when you visit the vet if they are drinking too much water.
Vomiting white foam or stomach juices can be caused by a hairball or a parasite. Some tumors can also cause vomiting, so a visit to your veterinarian is essential.
When should I be concerned about my cat vomiting?
If your cat is vomiting, the first step is to monitor its current behavior. How often does it vomit? Are there any changes in their usual, day to day behavior?
Something as simple as a hairball can make a cat vomit. On its own, it isn’t a concern, but more frequent vomiting might be a sign of a more serious health problem.
If your cat vomits more than once, or for several days in a row, book an appointment with your veterinarian. Chronic vomiting is a severe sign of illness. If vomiting is new or happening more than before, you should get your pet checked out.
Look at your cat’s vomit for clues about their health. If the vomit is clear, then it might just be water. If it includes yellow bile, red blood, mucus, or undigested food, this is meaningful information to share with your vet.
Get your cat to the vet if their vomiting is accompanied by unusual behavior, it’s happening more than twice a week, or your cat is showing other signs of poor health (weight loss, excessive thirst, being more tired than usual, etc.).
Is a cat throwing up an emergency?
First, inspect your cat's vomit. Quick action with no build-up is usually regurgitation. This is less likely to be a medical emergency, though if it’s happening a lot, it’s still worth booking an appointment.
Regurgitation usually involves things from your kitty’s throat or mouth instead of things that have already reached the stomach.
There may be more noise when a cat is vomiting, and your cat might look unwell.
You have time to monitor your cat without rushing straight to the vet. But book an appointment if your cat vomits more than once or twice, or your pet shows other concerning signs.
What does the color of cat vomit mean?
The color of your feline’s vomit may be affected by what they ate, or it could be a sign of what might be wrong with your cat.
Red or Pink
Cat vomit in red or pink might contain fresh blood. If your cat vomits blood, this should be considered a medical crisis, even though it could also indicate a minor injury. Of course, some cat food can also lead to red or pink vomit, depending on the contents of the food and its dyes.
Brown or Yellow
Cat vomit that is yellow or brown may indicate the presence of bile. Bile can indicate an empty stomach if your cat has already cleared its stomach or if it hasn’t been eating.
Clear cat vomit may simply be water, but it could also be stomach juices. The first thing you should do is monitor your pet’s eating and drinking habits. If your cat is drinking more than usual or it isn’t eating much, you should seek specialized help.
Black vomit, especially with lumps, could be a sign of blood from the stomach. Often, this blood is dry or lumpy because it’s older blood rather than fresh blood, caused by a minor injury within the throat or mouth. Seek immediate veterinary help.
Green vomit may be caused by the presence of bile (see Brown or Yellow), but more often is a sign that your cat has been eating grass or other plant material. In some cases, grass can be coated with chemicals that may be harmful to cats.
Can cats throw up from stress?
Stress can cause a cat to vomit. Usually, vomiting is not the only sign that a cat feels stressed or anxious.
Other indicators of stress include increased grooming, which might cause the fur to fall out, more frequent hiding, diarrhea, hesitancy around eating or using their litter box. Another sign of stress in cats is increased aggression. If your cat starts swiping or hissing more, they could be feeling stressed, fearful, or in pain.
How do I know if my cat has been poisoned?
A cat that has been poisoned will probably vomit at least once. However, poison can quickly cause a cat to deteriorate and stop responding. Because cats are such small animals, they can be badly affected by just a tiny amount of toxic substances.
Outdoor cats can come into contact with many different toxic substances on their adventures. If you keep an outdoor cat, you need to know that they are at higher risk of being poisoned than an indoor cat.
Signs that a cat has been poisoned include twitching and unusual muscle movements, breathing problems, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Cats might collapse if they’ve exposed to large amounts of poison. Rat and slug poisons are a common cause of concern for cat owners, but many other things can also poison cats.
These include pesticides and weed killers, antifreeze, cleaning products, paints, and some plants and flowers are harmful to cats, including daffodils, tulips, and lilies
Look out for common household objects that may be harmful to your pet. Snowglobes contain antifreeze. Acetaminophen pills are harmful, even in the very smallest of doses. Chocolate is poisonous, and so are grapes, onions, and raisins. Essential oils can also poison your cat.
Some items that are safe for humans can be fatal for cats in small amounts, so if you notice signs of poisoning, it helps to be aware of where your cat has been and what they might have touched.
How do cats act when they’re sick?
A sick cat will usually show you that they’re not in their best condition. Look out for vomiting, increased salivation, unusual muscle movements or twitching, loss of fur, or discharge from your cat’s eyes or nose as a sign that something is wrong.
A sick cat might show signs of breathing trouble, or might have appetite changes. They may eat or drink a lot less (or more) than is typical, especially if they have food poisoning.
Look out for behavioral changes, as well as physical clues. If your cat starts hiding more, stops using its litterbox, or seems more aggressive than usual, these are other signs that your cat might be feeling unwell.
What Does Your Cat's Vomit Look Like?
The appearance or color of a cat's vomit can also provide some clues as to why a cat is vomiting - Although only the vet can properly diagnose the reason behind vomiting, pet parents can still use this information to get some clues and even share this information with the vet:
- Clear Vomit - It is usually gastric juices mixed with mucus. If you are wondering why the cat throwing up clear liquid, then it can be due to a number of reasons mentioned above.
- Yellow Vomit - This yellow color is due to the bile juice, which can be an indication of liver disease. But normally, it just means that the cat ate something of yellow color, and it can also happen with an empty stomach.
- Brown Vomit (smelly) - Bleeding from the upper portion of gastrointestinal tract can result in a brown and smelly vomit. If the cat has consumed something smelly and brown, then that can also be a reason.
- White Vomit (foamy) - This one is similar to clear vomit and results in the discharge of gastric juices and mucus. If you are worried about cat throwing up clear liquid (foamy), then you can also contact your vet as well.
- Vomit (undigested food) - If the vomit contains undigested food, then the food was never digested. It can be due to allergies, gastrointestinal infections, or obstructions.
- Vomit (with blood) - The blood can be from the stomach, esophagus (the tube through which food passes), or mouth.
Cat Vomiting with Other Symptoms
Sometimes, a cat may also exhibit other symptoms along with vomiting. Once again, it depends on what type of symptoms a cat is showing. Some of these symptoms can be serious, and may be a warning sign that you should consult a vet right away.
If your cat is vomiting and also shows other symptoms (mentioned below), then it can be a cause of serious concern:
- Blood in Vomiting - If you notice blood in the vomit, then it may be a sign of internal bleeding.
- Vomiting too much - If the cat is vomiting too much (multiple times during a day), then that can also be a cause of serious concern.
- Weight Loss - This is also a serious symptom that may point towards hyperthyroidism.
- Twitching - If a cat is twitching along with vomiting, then it may be a sign that a cat may have ingested poison.
FAQs - Cat Throwing Up Clear Liquid
Still have some questions related to 'cat throwing up clear liquid'? Then have a look at some of the frequently asked questions:
Why does my cat's vomit contain blood?
It can be due to bleeding happening inside the body (mouth, abdomen, stomach, or esophagus). To find out the exact cause of this bleeding, an exam can be performed by the vet, which may include x-rays, abdominal ultrasound, or even medication.
If the bleeding is due to a serious internal surgery, then the vet may have to opt for surgery as well. But to put it short, blood content in the vomit is nothing serious most of the time. So if your concern is cat throwing up clear liquid with some blood content, then you should consult a vet right away.
When to see a vet?
If a cat vomits 2-3 times per week and is also showing other troubling symptoms such as nausea, lethargy, weight loss, and excessive thirst, then you should see a vet right away. But even if the cat is not showing any other symptoms besides the usual vomiting, then you can still see a vet to put your mind at ease and ensure everything is right with your furry friend.
Why do cats vomit clear liquid?
It can be due to a lot of different reasons, but mostly it is due to dietary and food changes.
Why do cats vomit clear liquid?
In most cases, it is due to the fact that a cat has eaten a lot of food quickly, drank too much water, or missed a meal, which caused the digestive issues to come out in the form of vomit.
What might cause a cat to throw up clear liquid?
It can be many things such as indigestion, dietary changes, hairballs, obstruction in the intestines, hyperthyroidism, or overeating.
What's the number for Animal Poison Control?
If you believe that your cat has been poisoned or exposed to a poisonous substance, please call (888) 426-4435.
Hyperthyroidism in cats - What's the connection between this disease and vomiting in cats?
The word 'hyper' in hyperthyroidism refers to an overactive thyroid, which can be a serious problem in cats. Some of the common signs associated with hyperthyroidism in cats include increased appetite, weight loss, excessive drinking, diarrhea, unkempt hair coat, and acute vomiting.
The symptoms associated with hyperthyroidism gradually develop, which makes it difficult to diagnose at an early stage. Once again, you should not freak out. Let the vet decide the cause behind your cat's symptoms.
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