Cats Gorging and Throwing Up

By Dr. Jane, a veterinarian and blogger for cat insurance provider, Pets Best Insurance

Hello. I’m Dr. Jane Matheys from The Cat Doctor Veterinary Hospital and Hotel in Boise, Idaho. Today, I’ll be answering a question about cat health from our readers of the Pets Best Insurance Facebook page.

Today, Karen asks: “I have a 15-year-old cat. For years, he has had issues with throwing up in the mornings right after he eats. He’s very healthy for his age and has been to four different vets about this problem, with no solutions. His vomiting is always in the morning. He will eat some food, go drink a lot of water, then go eat more. After that, he will throw up. Any suggestions?”

Well, certainly from what you’re describing, it sounds like your kitty may just be overeating in the morning. It’s very common when they eat and then they go and drink a whole lot of water, that distends the stomach, and distension of the stomach walls can be part of the vomiting reflex that we see in kitty-cats.

I recommend, at least short term, to try to figure out if this is the only thing that’s causing the vomiting. What you can do is try feeding him from a cookie sheet or an ice cube tray. Spread out the kernels of food on the cookie sheet so that he has to kind of go from once piece to another, and he can’t stick his face in his bowl and just gulp down his food. Same thing with an ice cube tray. You can attach it to a cookie sheet with some tape or something of that sort, and put the dry food kernels down into the individual ice cube sections. That way he’s got to work slowly on each section with his tongue to pick up those dry kibbles, and he physically cannot eat very quickly.

Then, again, kind of limit how much water you give him. Obviously, you want to give him enough so he’s not going to get dehydrated, but not a big, huge bowl where he can just drink and drink and drink.

Some other things you can try, if you’re not giving him food overnight, you might want to try to leave out just a small amount of his dry food. That way he can nibble a little bit during the night, and maybe he won’t be so hungry when he gets up in the morning.

If you’ve tried some of these techniques and your kitty is still vomiting, then I suggest that we consider whether your cat might have inflammatory bowel disease. That is something that I commonly see in these older kitties. Usually, all the blood work and everything comes up normal. That disease has to be definitively diagnosed with endoscopy and biopsies.

Make sure you follow up with your veterinarian. We want to be sure that we’re not missing more of a serious medical disease going on.

If you have any other questions, please comment in the section below, or visit Pets Best Insurance Facebook page. See you next time.


  • Heather Kempfer

    This is a great article, thank you for shedding light on a problem I have been dealing with for 2 years now. My cat was throwing up so much that he lost weight and was starving all the time then stopped eating. He got really sick. After an MRI, and tests to eliminate other problems, the vet determined that he had Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I nursed him back to health and we have him on a course of steroids (very low dose), every other day and he has been doing pretty good for two years now. He still eats like he is starving (which could be the steroids) and I have purchased a bowl with a hump in the middle which forces him to pick at his food and eat around the bump. It helps a lot. I also do many small feedings throughout the day. It’s a lot of work, but my cat is very health and happy now so well worth it. Glad you shed some light on this problem for others who may not know what is wrong with their cats.

  • Aloma K Newton

    My cat has the same problem. He is 11 years going on 12. He has never eat the dry food. I have had him from a kitten. He only eats the wet can food. Can you recommend some types of food with no grain (variety) for him. He is very picky at times. I try not to feed him the same all the time.Beef, Chicken, Turkey. Loves seafood.

  • Kelly

    Our cat had this problem so we got a Wireless Whiskers feeder. The feeder works with ID tags on a collar and measures how much a pet eats. You can independently set manage up to 8 pets. The Portion Control setting allows you to spread the allowance in up to 24 small portions throughout the day. If a pet eats too fast the feeder doors shut. It worked really well for our cat, since it can’t gorge it does not vomit. It is much easier than doing it by hand.
    The feeder also allows you to lock out other pets and you can put specific pets on a diet. It is also possible to set up separate feeders for cats and dogs and keep them out of each others food.


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