Why Is My Cat Meowing Before Throwing Up? (Unraveling the Mystery!)

Why Is My Cat Meowing Before Throwing Up

Have you ever heard your cat meow or yowl weirdly and only to have it throw up a minute later?

It is one sound that can give me goosebumps and gets me scrambling to find out what on earth happened to my cat.

But why do some cats make such sounds before throwing up?

The estranged sound that you are hearing from your cat is a sign of discomfort and confusion. The experience of throwing up for cats isn’t pleasant and can cause some anxiety. A cat’s vomiting can be due to a variety of reasons ranging from its diet to a health issue.

While you now understand the immediate discomfort your cat feels, do you know the hidden reasons behind this reaction?

Let’s unravel the mysteries behind a cat’s dietary and health-induced upsets

Pre-Puke Vocalization

“They will feel compelled to cry out to their owners for some comfort and security.”

If you have yet to hear or see your cat puking, let me just say that it isn’t a pretty sight at all.

When your cat meows or vocalizes before it pukes, it could be your cat’s way of letting you know that it isn’t feeling right.

Cats have discovered over the years that meowing is a great way to communicate with humans.

The type of meow and its sense of urgency could give you a clue of how uncomfortable your cat is feeling.

Experiencing nausea and vomiting is certainly unpleasant for humans.

So imagine when our poor cats start to experience the same sensations. They will feel compelled to cry out to their owners for some comfort and security.


Is It Normal For Cats To Meow Before Vomiting?

Whether or not such an action is normal largely depends on each cat.

I’ve had cats that will just throw up without a single meow while others will meow and yowl the house down before doing so.

What you need to out for is consistency.

If your cat has always meowed then that is normal. But if meowing or yowling before it throws up is something that your cat has just started doing, it could mean something more serious.

When a cat vomits, there is something that the body doesn’t agree with.

It can be seen as a defense mechanism to purge something that might be harmful to the cat. Or it can also be a sign that your cat’s body isn’t well.

Here are some possible causes:

1. Hairballs

natural remedy cat hairball

The infamous hairball has plagued the existence of cats since the dawn of time. Cats and hairballs go hand in hand like two peas in a pod.

My cat still leaves a couple of nasty-looking lumps of undigested furballs around the house regardless of how much I brush him.

Cats are considered to be a lot cleaner than other pets due to how much they clean themselves. It is possible for your cat to spend up to 5 hours a day just licking itself.

The reason for this is to remove dirt from the fur, get rid of any weird odors sticking to them and help keep them cool when the weather is warm.

All this licking causes the cat to ingest a lot of loose fur with its rough tongue. Cats are not able to digest the fur which means that it has to be expelled from the front or rear.

It is better for your cat to expel all the unwanted fur from the body otherwise it can start to grow into a large mass and cause an obstruction in your cat’s intestines which can be fatal.

How Do I Prevent Hairballs In My Cat?

Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to prevent your cat from puking out hairballs. It is a by-product of their constant grooming.

There are a number of hairball remedies that have proven to work and these are some that I use for my cat.

Brush Your Cat Often

brush cat often

This works best for me and I can see a difference when I brush my cat every day vs a few times a week. And my cat is a short-haired tabby.

Removing the excess dead fur on your cat’s body before it ingests them can help cut down on vomiting hairballs.

Get Your Cat More Water

Even with dedicated brushing, your cat can still puke up hairballs once it has ingested enough fur.

These masses of hairballs are really dry and tend to soak up a lot of moisture in your cat’s intestinal.

One way that can help your cat expel the hairball when it defecates rather than vomit it out is to hydrate your cat more often.

A hairball that is hydrated will be softer which makes it easier for your cat’s digestive system to move it along the intestinal tract and out your cat’s anus.

If your cat isn’t a fan of water, try using homemade tuna water instead.

2. Cat Eating Too Fast

“When your cat eats too fast, it can have an upset stomach.”

cat eating and drinking

Another common reason that can cause a cat to throw up is from eating too fast. My cat is always guilty of this.

For some reason, my cat is always very hungry in the morning even after bugging me for food at 3 in the morning at times.

He is usually a slow eater but turns into a glutton at the break of dawn.

I’ve seen him puke up everything he has eaten a few minutes after polishing off his food bowl.

It starts with him licking his lips and letting out a few “What did I just do?” meows before regurgitating food all over my floor and carpet.

When your cat eats too fast, it can have an upset stomach. The stomach expands too fast for the brain to register which will cause the cat to regurgitate.

Is There A Better Way To Feed My Cat?

To prevent your at from wolfing down everything in one go, I would advise you to break up his usual serving size into smaller portions.

I used to feed him everything before I get ready for work.

These days I will feed him some when I wake up, a little more after my shower and the rest while I’m having my breakfast.

It does help cut down on the regurgitation but I just have to put up with the incessant unhappy meowing.

For cat owners that do not have the luxury of time, you can try using a slow feeder to make it more difficult for your greedy cat to wolf down the food.

3. Food Sensitivities

Have you recently changed your cat’s diet or bought a new cat food brand?

Most cats can handle dietary changes well given time but your cat might have food sensitivities that is causing it to throw up.

If you are transitioning your cat from a dry food diet to wet (canned) food or wet food to raw food, it has to be done gradually and not at one time.

Your cat’s body has grown accustomed to digesting the present diet and can regard the new diet as something foreign.

Slowly mix the new diet into the existing one over a few weeks until your cat is totally comfortable eating 100% of its newly transitioned diet.

Switching between commercial food brands can confuse your cat’s body. Some food brands can also contain added ingredients that don’t sit well with your cat.

The same rule applies when switching to another food brand.

Do it gradually.

4. Kidney Disease

cat with kidney problem

Kidney disease is a very common problem for cats as they get older. This is usually due to cats not drinking enough water over the years.

Cats are originally desert creatures which means that they do not need a lot of water to survive.

Most of their water will come from the prey that they eat.

These days, many cats are fed dry food or kibbles which robs them of their main source of hydration.

Most cats will have a water bowl but due to their lack of a strong thirst, many don’t drink enough from the bowl.

Cats with kidney problems tend to vomit more due to the buildup of toxins in their blood which makes them nauseous.

Other symptoms include:

  • Lethargy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Increased thirst and urination

Treatment For Cats with Chronic Kidney Disease

“Please do not feed your cat dry food as that can worsen the condition.”

If your cat has been throwing up and showing the above symptoms, you should take it to the vet to get a blood test done.

Even if it isn’t kidney related, there are many other health problems that have similar symptoms.

If your cat already has an existing kidney problem, its diet will be of utmost importance.

Please do not feed your cat dry food as that can worsen the condition.

Wet food or a raw diet are better options for your cat. The vet might also put your cat on long-term medication to manage the symptoms so don’t forget to medicate your cat.

5. Intestinal Parasites

parasitic worms in pets

When was the last time you got your cat dewormed? If your answer is “Never”, then your cat’s vomiting might be caused by intestinal parasites.

Intestinal parasites are worms that live in your cat’s digestive system and feed off the nutrients in your cat’s food.

This isn’t just the case of one worm. They can breed and grow into hundreds and thousands. An infestation of such numbers can be fatal for younger cats.

Many cats are prone to intestinal parasites during their lifetime. Kittens can get it from their mothers and it can spread between cats that share the same litter box.

Common symptoms are:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing
  • Bloody or mucousy stool

Treatment For Intestinal Parasites in Cats

The best way to diagnose this problem in cats is via a stool sample examination.

The vet will put your cat’s stool under the microscope to look for the eggs or expelled body parts of these parasites.

A course of dewormer tablets will be prescribed for your cat to take until all the worms are eradicated.

But make sure to not overdose your cat on dewormers, especially kittens.

6. A Change In Environment

cat new to environment

Cats are creatures of habit and routine.

This means that from the moment it wakes up, your cat wants to be fed on time, take a piss at its usual litter box location and smell the same familiar home odors.

A drastic change in your cat’s environment like a new home or a change in ownership can cause the cat to act sick like vomiting, not eating and improper litter box usage due to the stress of change.

A study conducted by Ohio State University has discovered that the faster the scientists attempted to create structure and routine back into the cat’s life, the faster the cats recovered.

The study made a few good points about how we can go about enriching our cat’s environment:

  • Same daily feeding time
  • Same litter box and food/water bowl location
  • A clean litter box and resting place
  • Many cat toys
  • 1-2 hours of classical music a day

I can testify that everything above works except for the introduction of classical music. Something that I will definitely test out on my cat.

7. Cat Ate Something Toxic

“Even cleaning solutions can be toxic to cats as they can contain harsh chemicals such as chlorine.”

As someone who has both a dog and a cat, my dog takes the cake when it comes to eating things that it shouldn’t.

However, do not underestimate your cat’s natural curiosity to ingest something toxic if it seems edible enough.

If you have plants at home, you need to make sure that these plants are not toxic to cats.

Cats are known to chew on grass and plants but might not be intuitive enough to stay away from poisonous plants.

Even cleaning solutions can be toxic to cats as they can contain harsh chemicals such as chlorine.

How Do I Know If My Cat Is About To Throw Up?

It is important for you to know when your cat is going to throw up.

Recognizing the signs has given me ample time to get my cat off my bed or couch and onto the floor.

If I’m fast enough, I can place some old newspaper under him to make cleaning up easier.

The common signs to look out for are:

  • Vocalization
  • Restlessness
  • Hacking or heaving
  • Gagging
  • Retching
  • Act of regurgitation
  • Lip licking

For my cat, when he starts hacking, that’s when I know a furball is on its way out the front.

Why Is My Cat Throwing Up White Foam?

If your cat is throwing up white foam, it means that it is throwing up on an empty stomach.

This white foam is a combination of mucous and fluids that are usually found in your cat’s stomach.

It isn’t an unusual problem and can also be caused by the above reasons.

When Should I Worry About My Cat?

cat at vet

Not every episode by your cat is a cause for worry. Hearing your cat yowling before it pukes can be unnerving but it is just a reflex action.

There are times when you need to be concerned about your cat’s vomiting.

  • Blood in the vomit
  • Vomiting doesn’t stop
  • Lack of appetite
  • Hiding away from you

It doesn’t matter if your cat howls, meows or yowls after it vomits.

The above symptoms are tell-tale signs that there might be something more serious that needs medical attention.

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