Why Is My Cat Throwing Up Water?

68% of all US households own at least one pet, and although dogs are still the most popular pet, cats come in at a close second.

With great pets though, comes great responsibility, including us as humans, helping our furry friends out with their health from time to time. Feeding them great food, providing warmth, shelter, pest protection and all of the cuddles is of course, a huge part of it. Unfortunately, though, health problems can happen, many of which can feel like a bit of a mystery at first.

One of the most common mystery health issues cats can have, is throwing up water. This can not only be messy, but quite concerning too. Vomiting is abnormal for cats and if they appear to be producing a clear liquid, it is worth investigating further.

So, What Is That Clear Liquid My Cat Is Bringing Up?

The clear liquid your cat is bringing up is fluid from their digestive system. It could just be actual water they just drank, but more often than not, the clear liquid is gastric juices mixed with esophageal mucus.

It tends to be a sticky substance without any real odor.

Why Is My Cat Throwing Up Water?

Are you wondering – why is my cat throwing up water? If you are, it’s worth considering the following potential causes for this happening:


Cats love to groom themselves, but this can come with consequences as the hairs go into their digestive tract and build up. Most will be passed through their stools, but some could become hairballs which are then vomiting up. Sometimes in an attempt to vomit the hairball, a cat will vomit clear liquid. If a hairball follows, or comes out at the same time, it is usually nothing to worry about. However, if they seem to be having pain passing their hairballs, frequent hairballs or they struggle to get them out at all, it’s worth considering:

  • Discussing the issue with your vet
  • Trying a special cat food for hairballs
  • Grooming your cat more to reduce the amount of loose fur they ingest

Changes In Your Cats Diet

Cats who have their food switched, provided earlier or later than usual may vomit. Giving them a schedule and switching their food slowly helps to prevent this issue.

Cats may also gobble down food at speed which can cause them to throw up clear liquid, or the food. Giving them smaller portions of food at a time, or providing special dispensers that encourage slower eating can help. Here are some tips from cat whisperer Jackson Galaxy that could help.

Sometimes cats can have digestive problems that make them throw up regularly, not just when there has been a change in eating habits. It could be a digestive sensitivity or an allergy. If they are vomiting regularly it is definitely worth speaking to your vet to get some tests done.


Cats love to eat things they shouldn’t, which can cause tummy problems. Common examples include rotting meat (if they are an outdoor pet), houseplants, slug poison, and bugs. If this happens you may see some blood or bile in the clear liquid. You may also see your cat has other symptoms like a lack of interest in food, a lack of interest in playing, lethargy, dehydration or other indications they just aren’t themselves. If you suspect your cat has eaten something they shouldn’t, it is worth getting advice from your vet right away.

Metabolic Disorders

Metabolic diseases in cats such as Metabolic Muscle Disease and Metabolic Enzyme Deficiency can cause symptoms like vomiting clear liquid. It is likely that your vet may suggest these issues if accompanying symptoms are present, or after further investigation and other conditions are ruled out.

A Blockage

A cat may swallow part of a stick, a small part of a child’s toy, plastic or other foreign objects that block their intestinal tract. This could cause vomiting. If this is suspected, they should be taken to a vet immediately.


Cats who are dehydrated who don’t have access to a cat water fountain, or to wet food, can become constipated.

Highly constipated cats can repeatedly go to the litter box to strain, clean their back end over and over again and experience depression, loss of appetite and vomiting clear liquid. There are lots of ways to relieve this issue in cats.


Intestinal parasites can cause clear vomiting, amongst other symptoms. These parasites are often easily avoided, and treated with common pest control products specifically for cats.

What To Do With A Cat Throwing Up Water

Often, it is about assessing the situation at hand because sometimes it can be an emergency, and other times it can be easily resolved.

If your cat is experiencing other extreme symptoms alongside the clear liquid vomiting, such as blood in the vomit, lethargy or panting, they may need to see a vet right away. This also applies if they have eaten something they shouldn’t in front of you, or you strongly suspect a toxic ingestion or blockage. Don’t wait for more signs there is an issue before contacting your vet.

If they are vomiting, clear liquid regularly (more than once a week) it is also a good idea to consult your vet who can check your cat’s health and perhaps get some tests done. Based on the results you pet may require treatment at the vets, regular support from the vet, or special medication.

If the cats vomiting is directly linked to them eating food too quickly, hairballs, or other easily identifiable issues, you may be able to help them with a change in routine, food, or grooming. In most cases though, it makes sense to consult with your vet if you are at all concerned about your cat’s health.

Your Cat Can Get Back To Health Soon

A cat throwing up water is alarming for any owner, but it’s certainly not an uncommon occurrence. Cats are known for ‘barfing’, to the detriment of our furniture, flooring and other surfaces at times!

As long as you seek professional help if you need to, and keep an eye on your feline friend, they’re sure to get back to purrfect health soon enough.

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