Why Is My Cat Throwing Up Yellow Liquid?

Written by kate harris
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Why Is My Cat Throwing Up Yellow Liquid?
Cats can throw up for many reasons. (cat image by Vitaliy Pakhnyushchyy from Fotolia.com)

Vomiting in cats is common and can be caused by many different ailments. It is important to take note of other symptoms present in addition to the vomiting in order to determine the culprit. Once vomiting in the cat has subsided, it is important to provide plenty of liquids in order to prevent dehydration.


Vomiting can often be confused with regurgitation. Vomiting is an active process that involves heaving and retching. It is the ejection of contents of the stomach and upper intestine. Regurgitation is ejection of the contents of the oesophagus and is fairly passive, requiring very little effort. It is important to distinguish between vomiting and regurgitation in order to gain an accurate diagnosis. The presence of yellow liquid, or stomach bile, is usually indicative of vomiting.

Other Symptoms

It is also important to take notice of other symptoms that accompany the vomiting. These other symptoms can help a veterinarian make a more accurate diagnosis. Other symptoms to watch for include fever, abdominal pain, the presence of masses or lumps in the abdomen, jaundice and anaemia.

Primary Causes

A primary cause for vomiting is one that is directly related to the gastrointestinal system. A cat might be suffering from hairballs, poisoning, a food allergy or intolerance, gastroenteritis, a bacterial infection, an ulcer, a hernia, or a parasite. A cat can also vomit due to acute gastritis brought on by lack of dietary discretion such as eating garbage. A foreign body stuck in the stomach or upper intestine can also lead to throwing up.

Secondary Causes

There are many other conditions and illnesses in cats that might cause vomiting as a secondary effect. Some potential causes include pancreatitis, kidney or liver failure, uterine infections, diabetes, exposure to toxins, thyroid disorders or diseases of the inner ear.


At-home treatment for a cat that vomits a few times but is otherwise healthy includes withholding food for 24 to 48 hours and withholding water for 24 hours. Once the vomiting has subsided, gradually reintroduce a bland food diet and slowly transition the cat back to its normal food. If vomiting persists longer than a couple of days, it is recommended to consult a veterinarian. The veterinarian can perform a thorough physical examination to rule out potentially life-threatening illnesses. It is also important to consult a veterinarian if the cat is dehydrated.

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