Warning: This article, “Why is my cat throwing up white foam?”, is purely informative. On CatLicking we do not have the skills to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to bring your animal to the veterinarian if it presents the symptoms of a fever or a disease.
White foam is mucus containing gastric juice. This type of vomiting occurs when an animal vomits but its stomach is empty.
However, the appearance of the vomit does not correlate with the severity of the underlying disease.
On the other hand, the general condition of the animal is a good indicator of when to consult.
Discover the various reasons why a cat is throwing up white foam.
Cat Throwing Up White Foam: Common Reasons
One of the most common causes of a cat throwing up white foam is a hairball that your feline would like to get rid of.
Hairballs are created when cats groom themselves and eventually swallow their hair.
They may be able to pass hair naturally through the stool, but some get stuck and have to come out another way.
Your cat may first vomit foam before later vomiting the hairball that is bothering him.
To prevent your cat from vomiting hairballs, and consequently foam, brush him regularly. This way, when he goes to the bathroom, he will be less likely to ingest the hair he loses.
Another factor that may explain why your cat vomits foam is the change in diet.
Cats sometimes show their dissatisfaction with a new diet by refusing a meal or eating later than usual.
The problem is that cats’ bodies are like clockwork.
When a cat’s stomach prepares to eat, it creates bile, gastric juice and hydrochloric acid.
These elements, especially hydrochloric acid, can irritate your cat’s stomach if he doesn’t eat on time.
The same is true if you delay the times at which you feed your cat.
In fact, even if the food doesn’t arrive, the body continues its process as usual.
In reaction, your cat may then vomit white foam and even vomit yellow foam resulting from bile.
So, if your cat’s throwing up of foam is the result of a delay in his feeding schedule, you simply have to readjust it or offer him a snack while waiting for the meal.
If this is the result of your cat sulking the food you are giving her and making her stomach wait too long, change her diet from kibbles to pate for example.
An inflammation of the stomach or irritation of the lining in cats is also called gastritis.
Your cat may suffer from gastritis following the ingestion of a substance such as grass, certain foods, medications or toxic substances, causing intoxication and damaging the mucous membrane of its stomach.
Other symptoms may accompany the white foam in case of gastritis in cats:
- Lack of appetite
- Vomiting of yellow foam linked to bile
- Blood Vomiting
- Stomach aches
- Weight loss
- Poor coat health (when chronic)
If your cat shows signs of gastritis, make an appointment with your veterinarian. He will help you understand and treat the problem.
Gastritis in cats can be acute or chronic and in both cases, require veterinary assistance.
You can also relieve pain and inflammation naturally with CBD. This hemp extract is known to relieve and soothe inflammation, while promoting appetite and reducing nausea.
Chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Chronic inflammatory bowel disease is one of the most common causes of foam vomiting in cats and must be differentiated from other pathologies such as lymphoma.
It is often accompanied by diarrhea.
Ask your veterinarian for advice if you suspect chronic inflammatory bowel disease.
Note that feline panleukopenia (or cat typhus) is one of the most common infectious diseases of the gastrointestinal system. This virus causes bloody vomiting and abundant diarrhea.
A cat suffering from this pathology will also suffer from fever and will not eat. If you notice or think your cat is suffering from feline typhus, we suggest that you visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Cat Throwing Up White Foam: Other Possible Causes
Sometimes foam vomiting does not occur because of a stomach or bowel problem, but because of a problem in other organs such as the liver, pancreas or kidneys.
These health problems may include :
All feline pancreatitis requires veterinary treatment.
Pancreatitis can occur acutely or, more often, chronically.
Pancreatitis can be associated with other diseases, such as gastrointestinal disorders, liver disease and/or diabetes.
It consists of an inflammation or swelling of the pancreas, an organ responsible for producing the enzymes needed for digestion and the insulin needed to metabolize sugar.
Symptoms include vomiting (sometimes accompanied by foam), diarrhea and thinning of the coat.
The liver performs important functions such as waste elimination.
Failure to function properly will cause symptoms such as cat throwing up white foam, lack of appetite and/or weight loss.
In more advanced cases, jaundice may occur, called jaundice of the mucous membranes and skin.
Several diseases, toxins or tumors can affect the liver. Veterinary diagnosis and treatment are therefore essential.
Diabetes in cats is characterized by an insufficient production of insulin, the hormone that allows glucose to enter the cells.
Without insulin, glucose accumulates in the blood and symptoms appear.
If your cat suffers from diabetes, you will notice that he or she drinks, eats and urinates more.
Even if your cat is not getting fat, you may also notice that she vomits foam, hair changes and bad breath.
Kidney failure is a very common disorder in older cats.
Kidney damage can occur acutely or chronically.
Chronic kidney failure cannot be cured, but it can be treated to give your cat the best chance for an optimal quality of life.
Therefore, it is essential to consult the veterinarian immediately as soon as you observe symptoms such as a considerable increase in water consumption, a change in urination, loss of appetite, dehydration, an unhealthy coat, a moody mood, weakness, mouth sores, bad breath or vomiting.
Acute cases require urgent veterinary attention.
The thyroid gland is located in the neck and is responsible for the production of thyroxine.
Its excess implies the development of a clinical case, common to cats over 10 years of age.
In addition to your cat throwing up white foam, the symptoms consist of weight loss, a significant increase in activity (note that the cat does not stop), an increase in food and water intake, diarrhea, increased urination and excessive vocalization.
If your cat vomits white foam and you have not dewormed it internally, it could be infested with internal parasites.
In these cases, your cat may throw up white foam, be prone to diarrhea and stop eating.
All these inconveniences are caused by the action of the parasites.
This situation is more likely to occur in kittens than in adults because they are less resistant to parasites.
Note: It is quite obvious that many of these diseases have common symptoms, so it is very important to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Prevent and Treat Vomiting Foam in Cats
Here are some recommendations on what to do if your cat vomits foam and how to prevent it:
Vomiting is a symptom that should not be left untreated. Consult a veterinarian if your cat vomits foam in order to understand the cause.
Observe the symptoms. If vomiting foam, look at its composition and frequency. This will help your veterinarian make a diagnosis.
Provide your cat with a diet adapted to its nutritional needs, avoiding foods that could cause nausea or allergic reactions.
Maintain fixed feeding schedules for your cat.
Keep your cat in a safe environment to prevent him from swallowing a potentially dangerous object.
With regard to hairballs, brush your cat, especially during moulting season, to remove loose hair.
Maintain an internal and external pest control schedule, even if your cat does not have access to the outdoors. A veterinarian will provide you with the appropriate instructions according to your situation.
If your cat vomits white foam once and is still in a good mood, you can wait and observe before contacting a veterinarian.
On the other hand, if vomiting is repeated and you notice another symptom, you must immediately consult a veterinarian.
Finally, from the age of 6 or 7, we suggest that you bring your cat at least once a year to the veterinary clinic for a complete medical examination. These medical exams will ensure that your cat is kept in good health.
This examination will also allow the veterinarian to detect the possible presence of a disease or virus, which will allow for early treatment.