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Why does my cat vomit after eating?

Believe it or not, this is a common problem that many cat owners face. You are not alone.

You know the scenario. We’ve all been there:

Your cat is meowing incessantly. It won’t leave you alone and keeps rubbing against your legs. Whenever you walk toward the general vicinity of its empty food bowl, it darts toward it, as if to indicate to you that it wants food.

And then when you finally fill up its food bowl, it makes a mad rush toward it and starts devouring the food like there is no tomorrow.

Mere minutes after it has satiated its hunger, you hear that all too familiar sound of your cat belching.

Uh oh! Your cat is getting ready to hurl!

It’s too late for you too do anything about it.

But then as soon as your cat has finished doing its deed, it leaves the scene of the crime. Within seconds, it has retreated to its safe space within the house.

It’s almost as if your cat feels ashamed of what it has done.

Could My Cat Be Vomiting Due To Hairballs?

If your cat is vomiting after every meal, that could very well be a telltale sign that your cat has a hairball lodged in its esophagus or stomach.

What is a hairball, you ask?

Simply put, a hairball refers to a massive wad of fur that has become tightly wound and tangled together. Think of a ball of yarn. That’s basically what it looks like and how it is all strung together.

How do hairballs develop, you wonder?

why does my cat vomit after eating
Some cats are prone to vomiting hairballs after eating.

That’s a good question. The answer lies in understanding a little bit about the instinctive behavior of felines.

If you have spent any time with cats at all, you know that one thing that they enjoy doing instinctively and incessantly is grooming themselves. In fact, cats are seemingly obsessed with grooming themselves. It’s all they seem to be doing. Your cat could be in pursuit of a mouse and then pause right in mid-chase to groom themselves.

If anything, cats are extremely particular about keeping themselves clean and well groomed.

Unfortunately, there’s a side effect to this instinctive behavior of theirs: They vomit.

Let me explain.

Every time your cat licks itself, there is always the possibility that it may lap up some of its loose fur. It might only be one or two minuscule strands of fur. They get stuck to the tongue, due to its adhesive nature, and end up being ingested by the cat. Now multiply by this by hundreds of strokes of the tongue, and it could inevitably wind up ingesting a lot more fur follicles, all of which are accumulating in its stomach.

Normally you would think that this should be no big deal. If a cat (or any other human or animal, for that matter) were to swallow fur or hair, it should pass through the digestive system and out through nature’s excretory process, right?

But if you have ever encountered hair getting clogged in a shower drain then you know that it is possible for fur to get stuck in a cat’s digestive tract.

And when this occurs, there’s only one inevitable outcome: A massive fur ball forms inside its digestive tract, be it in the esophagus, stomach, or even in the intestines. And when this occurs, it can cause a major problem:

Complications Due To Hairballs

It can form an obstruction, blocking any other food from passing through.

And this can spell trouble for your cat!

So in answer to the question: Why does my cat vomit after eating, the most logical answer is because there’s no where for the food to go, hence your cat reflexively ends up regurgitating it.

How Do I Know That My Cat Is Vomiting Due To Hairballs And Not Something Else?

One of the telltale signs that your cat is vomiting due to hairballs, and not something else, is by examining the vomit specimen. I know this sounds gross, but all you need to do is take a cursory glance at the vomit before you pick it up:

If you see strands of fur wrapped up in a tube-like or cylindrical-shaped format, then yep: Your cat definitely has ingested a hairball!

Other Non-Visual Cues That Your Cat Has Hairballs

Other non-visual cues that your cat has a hairball lodged in its belly are mostly behavioral in nature:

So What Can I Do About Cat Hairball Vomiting? How Can I Treat It?

There are a number of remedies to help alleviate your cat’s hairball woes:

#1: Reduce Your Cat’s Food Intake Temporarily Can Forestall Vomiting

One of my cats would vomit virtually every time she ate. So what I did was essentially put her on a “diet”. I deliberately put less food in her food bowl at each meal. Plus I deliberately put more space in between each meal. Lo and behold, my cat’s vomiting lessened. She would vomit less frequently. And then gradually the vomiting stopped!

#2: Varying Your Cat’s Diet Can Help Prevent Hairballs

I found that my cat would get very excited whenever I would feed her wet cat food. She would eat it very quickly. She would devour it. And then the poor thing would vomit the entire meal up, mere minutes after eating the whole meal.

So I took away the wet cat food and put her on a steady diet of only dry cat food. The vomiting stopped.

As a test, I decided to treat her with wet cat good again after a few weeks. She vomited again right away!

So that was either a problem with the food itself… a certain type of food intolerance. Or if she has hairballs in her stomach, the fact that she was eating so much in one shot was too much for her to handle.

As a further experiment, I tried giving her a reduced quantity of wet cat food, and that seemed to work.

Now your mileage may vary. What worked for my cat may not work for yours. In this one cat’s specific case, she was getting excited and eating wet cat food too quickly and in large quantities at once.

#3: Feed Your Cat Specially Formulated Hairball Control Cat Food

Rather than feeding your cat the normal food that you usually feed it, you can try switching to hairball control cat food. This can come in either the dry pellet format, similar to any other dry cat food.

Or you can alternatively feed your cat hairball control cat treats.

A third alternative would be to feed your cat hairball control gels.

Each the aforementioned options above are specially formulated with ingredients that are conducive to promoting digestion and the breakdown of those stubborn fur follicles in your cat’s stomach.

If you want to try something a little bit more DIY, you can try homemade hairball remedies for cats such as olive oil.You can either give it to your cat on its own, or you can mix it in with the food that your cat already eats.

Why Does My Cat Vomit After Eating?

Hopefully this article has shed some light on the reasons why your cat frequently vomits after eating.

Try out the solutions above. Let me know your thoughts. Have you tried any of these and did they work for you?

Does this answer the question of “why does my cat vomit after eating”?

Leave a comment below!

why does my cat vomit after eating

6 Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing this article it is really helpful and informative. My cat has been vomiting recently too and now I know what I can do about it. I checked and I saw fur in there so I know must be a hairball. I will also try switching the food to dry…see if that helps. Your post has a lot of great information there and is well organized. Thanks!

  2. Hey Patrick

    Just finish reading your post and I love the info about cat’s hairball. I have had many cats in my days and you are right to tell people not to sweat about them too much. Many people think there is something wrong with there animal and it is perfectly normal, in most cases. 

    I also like your remedies for hairball, especially the homemade one. Most people don’t think the can do something about that without having to by spacial products.

    Thanks it was fun reading


  3. Great post and good info. Unfortunately for us every help came too late. Our cat started to vomit a few weeks ago, she didn’t wanted to eat anymore, and when we went to the vet, he said she had cancer in her stomach. It is a very sad thing. Anyway, pretty sure these tips will help other people. 

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