What does it mean if my cat is throwing up undigested food?

  • My 9 year old female domestic shorthair periodically throws up undigested food

  • Hi there, this is Dr Linda, a small animal vet with 10 years of clinical experience.



    I'm sorry to hear your cat has been doing this.

    When a cat bring back food that has not had time to digest, this is usually Regurgitation. It is different to vomiting as there are no real abdominal contractions or nausea, the food just comes right back up with little effort.


    There are quite a few possible causes including:


    • Eating too quickly
    • A partial food pipe or gut obstruction
    • Inflammatory bowel disease
    • Megaoesophagus
    • A tumour
    • Etc.


    If this is a new sign at her age, it is something we should have a vet look into.

    This may include a physical exam, blood test and some imaging of her GI tract.


    At home, I'd offer a sensitivity diet and feed from a slow feeder bowl little and often.

    I'd want to ensure she is up to date with a good quality wormer.

    We can also offer some probiotics, which may help with her gut health, and won't do any harm.


    If prone to hair balls, a hair ball paste can be trialled.


    Hopefully we can get some answers soon.

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