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Potential Causes for Cats Throwing Up White Foam

If you see your cat vomiting white foam, you may be concerned. After all, humans tend to vomit due to an illness — sometimes a severe illness. However, a cat throwing up white foam is actually quite common. If you notice your cat exhibiting such behavior, it’s important to know the possible causes. Then you can decide whether you should take your feline fur baby to the vet.

1. Hairballs

One of the most common causes of a cat throwing up white foam is a hairball. Hairballs occur because when cats groom themselves, they end up swallowing some of their hair. This turns into a hairball in the cats’ digestive systems. Cats should be able to digest this fur — after all, they eat critters with fur and are constant groomers. When hairballs become a problem, it is usually a sign of a lack of digestive enzymes, a problem that is particularly prevalent in older cats.

2. Dietary Changes

Another factor that can cause your cat to throw up white foam is dietary change. Cats sometimes protest changes to their diet by rejecting a meal or eating later than normal. Whether a cat eats or not, her body will produce the digestive juices necessary to break down food. The result is often vomiting.

For the same reason, a change to your cat’s feeding schedule can lead to vomiting white foam.

3. Stomach Inflammation

When stomach inflammation (called gastritis) is the cause of your cat throwing up white foam, it may be accompanied by a lack of appetite. Your cat may vomit bile or blood in addition to the white foam.

Causes for Concern When Your Cat Is Throwing Up White Foam

If your cat is just responding to a change in feeding or has the occasional a hairball, you can relax. However, if your cat’s vomiting is due to gastritis, a visit to the vet may be in order. Other symptoms of gastritis may include sluggishness, dehydration, depression, and stomach discomfort.

Cats eat hair; that’s a fact.

However, they should be able to digest that hair. Sometimes cats need a little help with their digestion. For hairballs, try a combination of Vitality Science’s Pet Flora and Super Pet Enzymes.

55 thoughts on “Potential Causes for Cats Throwing Up White Foam”

  1. If your cat is throwing up white foam, yellow foam, no food, small amount of hair…
    Elevate the Food Bowl enough to make your cat eat standing up. Should resolve itself within a few days. This relaxes the digestive tract enough to lower the amount of stomach acid being produced.

  2. Hi my cats occasionally throw up white foam with a little fur ball but their poops are like little fur sausages with a thin coating of poop – is there something I should be doing about this?

    • Hi Karen, Although, JBrown has an excellent suggestion, we would also like to suggest Vitality Science’s Super Pet Enzymes. Adding this to the food will help to dissolve hair and other undigested items in the GI Track. Resulting in my formed stools and expelling more stools from the GI Tract. Thanks for writing in and let us know how else we can help.

  3. My cat is about 3 years old and he recently started losing weight and he WILL eat but throws it up and is continuing to throw up even the white foam if he hasnt eaten. I don’t know what the problem is or how to fix it 🙁

    • It is not unusual for the pathological basis of any suffering to be unknown. After all, biological organisms are extraordinarily complex. This is despite so-called modern medical science telling us they understand what is going on down to the gene, and what little they don’t know will soon be revealed. On the other hand, we do know in great detail what natural supplements and nutritional inputs will reverse cats throwing up white foam. I will send more detail to your email.

  4. Hi, any suggestions on what to use for a my 11 year old tabby with probable IBD? She is ALWAYS hungry, has soft formed poops that STINK, and has lost a lot of weight. However, she is well hydrated, and eats all the time. She does leave SOME food in her dish and sits there like
    she wants something else when there is still food available.

  5. Hi i have a 6 year old Japanese bobtail. She recently started throwing up this morning. It was the first time yellow with chunks every time after that its been white foamy bile. I tried keeping her away from food and water to see if that would help. But she hasnt gone to eat anything and threw up again. Its been a good 9 times since this happened. Its like 3 small piles . I dont know what to do. Im panicking. I need some answers. I just want my fur baby to be okay and feel better.

  6. hello my kitten vomit white foam with liquid, not want to eat but he drink, i just feed her morning afternoon skip meal at evening he vomit not he doesnt want to eat.

    • The problem is probably the diet. See my food recommendations below.

      Guidance On Food

      We recommend what not to feed. Especially avoid corn, wheat and soy and for some pets carragenan and guar gum. Next, for many pets but not all, no grains and no chicken.

      Next, unless dry is all the pet will eat, no dry. Dry food dries them out. (Who’d would have guessed!) Canned is not so great either. Imagine yourself living out of cans! Canned and dry food are devoid of enzymes and the proteins are denatured. These deficiencies can be remedied with supplements.

      The best is raw but some domesticated animals cannot handle raw. We feed Nature’s Variety frozen raw carried by most large pet stores. Nature’s Variety also sells a very good canned and dry. That said not all animals  will eat Nature’s Variety. 

      Of all the proteins, rabbit, lamb and venison are the best. Avoid all birds (chicken, turkey, duck) since many pets are allergic to them, especially the chicken.

      All food changes should be done incrementally. A 10% change per day is recommended. If at any time the GI problems get worse, then that food is not recommended.

      Avoid too many variables by using only “single protein, limited ingredient” foods, We recommend Instinct Pet Food.
      If your cat or dog has a thyroid condition, avoid lamb, venison, and chicken as they are too energetically hot. For hyperthyroid cats and dogs, duck, rabbit and pork are beneficial. Also, for hyperthyroid animals avoid seafood and supplemental iodine.

      For FIP cats no pea protein.

      For cats and dogs with a kidney condition no beef, buffalo, or Bison. (Too many inflammatory factors.) Glandular extracts are OK. High protein raw diets are recommended by many holistic vets but not seafood. (Too much phosphorus.

      Super Carnivore Bone Broth Supplement
      Bone broth can be bought frozen, shelf stable, and refrigerated. But the best bone broth is home made.
      (1) Breville Slow Cooker is recommended. A very slow slow cooker is necessary so that the bones can cook for days.

      (2) Ingredients: 5 lbs bones, 5 table spoons Apple Cider Vinegar, clean water

      (3) Cook on low setting for at least 48 hours. Stop when bones are brittle.

      (4) Although bone broth could be a staple food. It is time consuming to make so the dosages should be adjusted for weight. At least a few teaspoons for a 10 lb animal and a few ounces or more for a 100 pound animal

      Fermented Fish Stock

      You can buy frozen, pre-made fermented fish stock from Answers Pet Food, which has helped quite a few very very difficult cases.

  7. Hi, my 6 year old female cat just started throwing up small piles of clear and sometimes white/yellowish foam. Mostly only seen in the mornings and will wake from her sleep to do it. Still eating and drinking normally.

  8. My 8 year old male tabby has been throwing up foam for 3 days now. He only does it once a day, but is not eating. He is acting normal, but refuses to eat and I am not seeing him drink. He is still using the cat pan though, so it may be when I’m not looking or at work. Do I give him a few days or what?

  9. My 9 year old Female Tabby/Maine coon, recently started vomiting the white foam with clear slimy liquid. They are indoor cats so my mom came by with some cat grass. They loved it, but a day or 2 later I started noticed the piles of foam.. she is eating and drinking and has wanted more cat grass. She’s eaten soon of it but not like the first batch. I’m use to her vomiting cat food because she eats a lot (she will only eat dry food) then vomits it up… she hasn’t been eating a lot and she constantly wants to lay on me. But the vomiting is 2 or 3 times a day every day. Could it have been the cat grass?

    • The cat grass is causing the white foam to come up but it is not the cause. Food is your first suspect and then water, and then medications, especially vaccines. I will send relevant docs to your email address.

  10. Hello about three weeks ago we switched our two Persian mixes food from science diet dry food to Trader Joe’s dry food. The last three days I have noticed one of our Persian mixes who is 8 years old has been throwing up very tiny bits of slimy liquid and then today it was just white foam. I have not observed him eating and he seems sluggish, his coat looks lack luster and he has a sad look in his eyes. We are going to switch back to science diet this morning as soon as the pet store opens but I’m wondering how long to give the change before going to the vet.

  11. My one year old cat is super lethargic, not eating but drinking when he can make it to the bowl. He is throwing up white foam and is in super discomfort. I am taking him into vet today. He is an indoor outdoor kitty. Wondering if he may have eaten something really bad outside. It has not been over 24hours. I’m worried he looks like he is dying.

  12. Last night (12/18/18) my male cat (largely Maine Coon) started sneezing, then coughing. He is a rescue and I don’t know his age. We took him in about 3 years ago and while he’s overweight by most standards, since he’s a “Coon” I don’t think he’s that ad. He is normally a good eater and drinks normal amounts. He has not eaten or drank all day. He vomited a fist sized ball of kibbles once today, but the rest is mostly white foam. Some of the liquid is brownish but not much. I syringe fed him some water and some anti biotic prescribed the last time he had cystitis. He lies with his mouth open and tongue partially protruding. Occasionally trying to regurgitate. I have a very limited income and the emergency costs are prohibitive. Please help as soon as possible. I’m desperate.

  13. you can get charcoal pills at wal mart if the cat has ingested something poisonous to his system. Break them open and mix with water , put in a feeding or medicine syringe and give some. I don’t know a dose, but if you think they are dyeing you will try anything. The charcoal will absorb poison. My friend gave her cat a bath in some dog shampoo that said to not wash cats in. It didn’t say why not to wash them so she thought no big deal. The cat seriously almost died. He had seizures, puking…he was horrible. She gave him charcoal and in about 20 minutes you could see him getting better. I wouldn’t have believed it but I saw it with my own eyes.

    • Thanks for sharing. I have 8 cats, 1 is missing. That was quite a bit of very useful information. I thought I bought cat shampoo to remove fleas & ticks. I didn’t have my glasses with me that day. I bought flea & tick shampoo for dogs. After reading the label, no mention of cats anywhere, I gave it to my neighbor who has dogs. She was pleased and glad. I myself hope that more cat owners read your clip and adhere to what you wrote.

  14. My cat I have had for 5 years, started gagging and throwing up white foam yesterday/last night. He is hacking and couching like he does when he has a hairball but he also sounds stuffed up. I’m worried mostly about him not drinking enough water right now. I got him some laxatone to help see if that would break it up about 3 hours ago. How long should I wait for any changes or go to the vet?

  15. Hi, my one year old Himalayan cat threw up multiple times white foam with yellowish liquid in it. She isn’t eating or drinking since last evening. She isn’t moving around and has gone quiet. I took her to a vet a while ago. She is running a temperature of 104.5. The vet says its viral and if she doesn’t show any improvement by tomorrow, then chances are low for her recovery. I am really very upset. 🙁 She was fine and active a day ago. I can’t understand how could she get so sick all of a sudden.

  16. My long-hair, indoor/outdoor, 11ish yr-old kitty (we rescued him a year ago) occasionally vomits when he eats too fast or has a hairball. This weekend he began vomiting white foam and a few minutes ago, the foam was light pink as if it contained blood. I’m taking him to the vet when they open tomorrow. He’s my baby & I desperately want to help him. Is there anything I should do in the meantime? I took a pic of it so I can show the vet. Thank you.

  17. I have a 8 year old male cat and he has had bad diarrhea for a while now and the odor is so bad. I tried many different diets and nothing has worked. I have a limited income to be able to feed raw food. Please help me so I can help him.

  18. I have three kittens all under 1year old. They were spayed and neutered a week ago. This morning they began vomiting clear and white foam. They won’t eat at all and they’re not drinking water. What should I do? Is it the meds bc they had to take praquizenel for tapeworms. Please help, I’m on a very small fixed income. They usually eat Putin’s One and especially IAMS kitten food Proactive Health/Healthy Kitten. I had to buy Twin Pet last month bc it was all I could afford but all the other cats ate it and have no problems.Help!

  19. I have 5 year tabby , lately he has been vomiting white/milky bile he wont eat or drink. Its been happening for about 2 days. I havent change his diet. Please help.

    • Im sorry to hear about this. milk-white means toxins. Maybe they just got into something not good for them. I would highly suggest the TRV protocol. And, keep it on hand in case this ever happens again. THe luxolite will draw out toxins and acidity. The feline comfort will re-establish the GI system. And, the GI Distress will soothe the stomach and make him feel better.
      Let us know how else we can help.

  20. My kitten 6 weeks started vomiting what looks like white foam after vomiting all her morning feeding this morning, she hasnt drank or eaten again and just sleeps which is not common for her

    • Hi Virginia,
      Im sorry to hear about your cats condition but i am glad you found us. As mentioned in the article we recommend super pet enzymes and pet flora. Please let us know how else we can help.
      Take care

  21. I’m so happy I found this site! My 4 year old bobtail cat been throwing up white foam for 2 days she’s never done that! Combined with some out of character and concerning behaviors like urinating and diarrhea on my floors Ive been really scared! She’s still not eating…she tried once and threw it back up! We do have a vet appointment in the morning! I’m going to try the enzymes any other suggestions?? I feed her premium food already and she’s very well groomed so I don’t think it’s a hair ball issue!!

  22. My seven year old female cat is fine for weeks until she throws up a hair ball. She spirals down within hours. She develops severe (Gerd), vomiting red foam, won’t eat, lethargic and diarrhea. I have had every test with no clear diagnosis. Just everything is inflamed, gallbladder, IBD and Pancreatitis. The only meds the vet recommends is Cerenia and Prednisolone. Long term this is not a solution. I feed her only can food from New Zealand called Feline Natural. She does well until this happens. Please advise. Thank you for your time.

  23. I have a kitten who just started becoming in heat a week ago it seems my son gave her some of his bran flakes with sugar milk on Thursday mid day after later she threw up her food. Since then she’s been throwing up time to time while foam. I can’t get her to be interested in anything barely water ugh what do you suggest? How long do I wait To go to vet? I’ve tried broth and everything she’s getting nothing in to vomit out is this normal in heat reaction or did cereal milk hurt her?

  24. Hi! My 8 year old cat all of a sudden started vomiting white foam ALL day. He is usually a puker but only because he ate too fast. He is not eating poor thing. He is drinking water.
    He will let out a meow before throwing up. what should I do? Please help! It’s super late here and the regular vets are closed. The emergency pet hospital is open. Please help me and my cat. TIA

  25. Hello. I have a one year old cat. He’s partly an outdoor cat, so he’s out during the day and usually comes back in the afternoon. He just started puking white foam. He’s only puked twice so far, first was with a white slimy liquid and the second was just white foam. Just a few days before the puking I took him to the vet because of his abscess but the vet said everything else was normal. As of now he’s still eating and drinking a lot, and he still moves around normally. What’s wrong with my cat? Please help.

  26. Hi. My cat is an indoor cat and for almost 12 hrs now, she’s been vomiting white foam and a little liquid. I first thought it was phlegm. It’s not much, but she’s been doing this several times per hour. She won’t eat and I’ve been feeding water through a syringe a couple times now, worried she’d get dehydrated. She hides and just lays about. We did change her dry food from Friskies to Science Diet, her can is still Friskies. Please advise. Thank you.

  27. HI holly,
    It could be a multitude of things and without doing test and such we wouldn’t know exactly what is causing your cat to have these symptoms. What we do know is that they are in fact puking white foam and is lethargic. I would recommend Luxolite . This will help absorb the toxins in the body and coat the stomach. Also Pet Flora in case there is some sort of an infection.
    In the meantime see if you can get some bonebroth in her. Please let us know how else we can help and take care

  28. My 5 month old long haired kitten just started vomiting tonight, first food and then white foam since then. ( I’ve cleaned up 9 piles) He doesn’t want to be touched and is isolating himself. He’s never been outside, is utd on vaccines and wormer. I live in the country and the closest vet is 80 miles away. Any ideas on how to help my cat?

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