My Cat Vomits White Foam: why and what to do

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what does it mean if my cat vomits white foam

Although many people think it’s normal to see your cat vomit often, you should know that in reality these episodes in acute or frequent form are not normal and require a visit to the vet as soon as possible because they can have various causes of greater or lesser entity.

In this article, we will talk about the case when the cat vomits white foam, why, and what to do in each situation.

In particular, observe if the vomiting in the cat occurs in an acute form (many episodes in a short time) or chronic (1 or 2 episodes a day which, however, do not recur). If your cat has other symptoms in addition to vomiting white foam, such as diarrhea or loss of appetite, contact your vet immediately.

Cat vomits white foam: gastrointestinal causes

The most frequent reason why in cat vomit we find white foam (which in some cases may simply be saliva) is an irritation of the digestive system which can have various causes.

To help your vet diagnose, you will need to explain to the vet if the vomiting is sporadic or chronic, if you have noticed other symptoms, and what was in the vomit (blood, whole kibble, saliva, or white foam, or even parasites). In this article in particular we will talk about the case of white foam in cat vomit.

The causes that have to do with gastrointestinal problems are as follows:

Gastritis

Gastritis in cats can occur in both acute and chronic forms and, in both cases, requires the intervention of the veterinarian. When the cat has gastritis, It has irritation of the stomach walls, and it can happen when It ingests substances such as grass, certain foods, medicines, or toxic substances (poisoning is another cause of gastritis).

If the problem is chronic, the cat will have dull and unhealthy-looking fur and will also lose weight. In young cats, even a food allergy can cause gastritis. The vet will determine the exact cause and prescribe the corresponding therapy.

External bodies

In cats, the typical example are the hairballs, especially during the molting period. Sometimes, within the digestive system, the hair accumulates in the form of hard balls, known as trichobezoars, and in some cases, they can be so large that the cat is unable to shed them.

The presence of external bodies, therefore, can cause irritation of the digestive system but also obstruction and intussusception (a portion of the intestine reenters the intestine itself), in which case a surgical operation is necessary.

Inflammatory bowel disease

This is one of the most common causes of vomiting in cats and is diagnosed by the veterinarian. In these cases the cat vomits white foam and, in addition, can have diarrhea.

Finally, it should be noted that one of the best known infectious diseases of the gastrointestinal system, feline panleukopenia, manifests itself with vomiting and diarrhea, in this case with blood. Other symptoms of this disease are fever, sluggishness, and loss of appetite. You need to go to the vet right away.

Why does my cat vomit saliva or white foam?

what does it mean if my cat vomits white foam

In other cases, the answer to why cats vomit white foam is not in the stomach or intestines but in other diseases that affect organs such as the liver, pancreas, and kidneys. Some of these diseases are as follows:

Pancreatitis

Feline pancreatitis can have several causes, and all of them will need veterinary attention. It can occur in acute or, more often, chronic form, together with other gastrointestinal, liver diseases, diabetes, etc.

It consists of the inflammation or swelling of the pancreas, the organ in charge of producing digestive enzymes and insulin to metabolize sugar. Among the various symptoms, we find vomiting, but also diarrhea, weight loss, and ruined hair.

Liver failure

the liver has several very important functions, such as the elimination of waste substances or regulating the metabolism. If it doesn’t work properly, your cat will begin to exhibit various general symptoms, such as vomiting, loss of appetite, or weight loss.

In some specific cases, jaundice will appear, or the yellowish color of the mucous membranes. There are several diseases, toxins, or tumors that can affect the liver, so it is very important to contact your veterinarian.

Diabetes

Diabetes in cats is a common disease in animals over 6 years old and is characterized by inadequate production of insulin, the substance responsible for getting glucose to cells.

Without insulin, glucose builds up in the blood and some symptoms begin to appear, mainly the cat eats, drinks, and urinates more than usual but does not get fat. Also, It may have vomiting, bad fur, bad breath, etc. Care must be established by the veterinarian.

Kidney failure

Kidney failure in cats is a very common disorder in older cats and can be acute or chronic. Chronic kidney failure cannot be cured, but it is possible to alleviate the symptoms of the condition so that the cat lives well despite the disease.

For this reason, it’s essential to go to the vet if you notice that the cat starts to drink a lot, urinates more or less than usual, is inappetent, dehydrated, has poor hair, is dull, weak and limp, has wounds in the mouth, breath bad or vomits. If It shows up in acute form, you will need to take It to the vet right away.

Hyperthyroidism

The thyroid gland is located in the neck and is the gland responsible for producing thyroxine. An excess of this substance, especially in older cats of more than 10 years, causes weight loss, hyperactivity, increased ingestion of food and water, vomiting, diarrhea, abundant urine, frequent meowing. As always, the vet will make the diagnosis.

Parasites

If your cat vomits white foam and has never been wormed, it may have an intestinal parasite infestation. In these cases, you can see the cat throwing up white foam and not eating or having diarrhea, all problems caused by the presence of worms. This is more common in young cats than in adult cats, as the latter are more resilient.

Most of the diseases listed have similar symptoms, so it’s important to go to the vet right away because it’s not normal for a cat to vomit often.

what does it mean if my cat vomits white foam

Cat vomiting white foam: what to do?

Now that we have seen what it means if a cat vomits saliva on occasion, or white foam speaking more generally, let’s see some tips to prevent the situation and what to do if it occurs.

  • Vomiting in cats is not a situation to be underestimated: take them to the vet right away.
  • Write down the observed symptoms to help the vet make the diagnosis: in the case of vomiting, it’s important to remember the consistency and frequency of the episodes.
  • Make sure that the cat is following a diet that is adequate for its nutritional needs, absolutely avoiding foods that are forbidden to cats or to which they may be allergic.
  • Keep it in a safe and quiet environment to prevent it from ingesting potentially dangerous items.
  • As for the hairballs, brush your cat often, especially during the molting period to get rid of all the dead hair it needs to shed. You can also use malt paste for cats, a special substance to help eliminate hair.
  • Respect the schedule of internal and external pesticide treatments even if the cat does not have access to the outside. The vet will give you specific directions.
  • If your cat has vomited white foam (or normal vomit) once and then everything is back to normal, you can wait before calling the vet. If, on the other hand, It continues to vomit and the cat is weak, go to the vet immediately.
  • Finally, starting from when the cat is 6/7 years old, take it to the vet at least once for a complete visit. In this way, it’s possible to recognize the diseases listed in time and start treating them before they manifest themselves with the symptoms described.

This article is purely informative, at Shelterapet we do not have the right to prescribe veterinary treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We encourage you to take your pet to the vet in case It any kind of discomfort or discomfort.

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About Amanda

Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, pet behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..)

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