Cat Throwing up Clear Liquid: Why and What to Do?

What does it mean when you see your cat throwing up clear liquid? What is wrong and what should you do? It can send most parents into a frenzy, but it’s not always a horrible omen.

The joys of having a cat in the family are enormous and generally serve to help us keep life and its challenges at bay. Unfortunately, though, loving a cat means watching their behavior carefully for signs of illness or injury. When your cat throws up clear liquid, she probably won’t tell you why.

Cats are very stoic. That’s because, in the wild a cat cannot afford to appear weak or unable to defend herself.  To appear vulnerable could mean a death sentence, so they hide their symptoms well.  This instinct to conceal symptoms can make the doctoring duties of cat lovers much more difficult. Fortunately, some symptoms aren’t as easy to conceal.

Cat Throwing up Clear Liquid: Why and What to Do? | Fluffy Kitty

Why Would a Cat Throw up Clear Liquid?

There are a whole wagon-load of reasons that your kitty might vomit. They range from a simple case of hairball to, (sorry) cancer. If your cat is throwing up clear liquid your first job is to observe the behavior, and take a look at the vomit.

If the vomit contains undigested kibbles, for example, you know the problem is different from the clear liquid, or the foamy liquid vomit. Just as you would for your human child, you need to pay attention to when this behavior happens, how often it occurs, and how kitty’s current behavior is compared to her usual sunny self.

The Most Common Reason: Hairball

If the cat’s vomit is clear and she seems otherwise happy, the most likely cause is a hairball.

Hairballs happen when during the grooming process, hair gets stuck on her rough tongue and then makes its way to her stomach where it accumulates. Eventually the mass of hair just has to be ejected. When this happens, your cat will often vomit clear liquid (gastric juices) first, followed a short time later by the offending hairball. If the vomiting continues without the appearance of the hairball, please take Kitty to her veterinarian. It may be nothing serious, but why take that chance?

Thyroid Problems

A cat throwing up clear liquid could signal thyroid problems. Thyroid problems in cats are difficult to pinpoint. The problems develop when a cat secretes too much of the thyroid hormone, resulting in symptoms such as oily skin, greasy hair, acne in the facial area, excessive salivation, and/or the cat throwing up clear liquid.

This kitty also needs to see her vet. There are medications and diet changes that should be introduced as soon as possible to solve thyroid imbalances.

Poison Can Cause Your Cat to Throw up Clear Liquid

Sometimes cats get exposed to things they shouldn’t, but it’s important to know that accidental poisoning can result in your cat throwing up clear liquid.

There are lots and lots of toxins out there in the world that can harm your kitty which could result in your cat vomiting clear liquid. A walk across the garage floor where spilled antifreeze could result in paws covered in this very toxic substance. Your cat, being fastidious, will lick her paws clean and, well, who knows what happens after that if you’re not paying attention.

Example: Cat Throwing up Clear Liquid: Why and What to Do? | Fluffy Kitty

Other symptoms of poisoning in cats may include increased thirst, diarrhea, confusion, lethargy, seizures or coma. Of course, if your cat displays symptoms like these, take her to the veterinarian at once. It’s important to treat or remove the toxic substance as soon as possible.

It Could Be Cancer

Could a cat throwing up clear liquids mean cancer? Unfortunately, it might.

We never like to use the word “cancer” and “pet” in the same sentence. Come to think of it, we don’t like using the “c-word” at all, but this devastating disease in cats, as well as in humans, is treatable (with early detection).

Symptoms of cancer in cats can be difficult to spot since the disease can be anywhere in the body. If the cancer is located in kitty’s stomach, the cat throwing up clear liquid would be expected. Sometimes a brain tumor can cause a cat to vomit as well. Other symptoms of cancer in cats include poor appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, and vomit that includes blood.

Depending upon where the tumor is located, chemotherapy may be recommended.

Swallowing Foreign Objects Can Lead to Cat Throwing up Clear Liquid

Unlike puppies, cats aren’t usually prone to eating the remote or swallowing rocks, but their penchant for string or yarn can get them into big trouble.

Swallowing thread might seem like just an annoying habit, but it can also be a deadly one if the thread becomes tangled around intestinal loops. One of those wire bread ties can quickly perforate tender innards, causing severe infections or even death.

Example: Cat Throwing up Clear Liquid: Why and What to Do? | Fluffy Kitty

Ingesting “toys” that are not digestible can often block intestines or create other serious problems which require surgical intervention. Your first clue may be the cat throwing up clear liquid.

A cat throwing up clear liquid might well have swallowed something that she cannot pass through her digestive system and, as in the hairball scenario, her body is attempting to eject it. Pet parents are wise to keep a very close eye on the toys that kitty plays with. Something as innocuous as a wire ornament hanger from the family Christmas tree can become a deadly diversion.

In order to protect Kitty from her own habit of hiding symptoms of illness from the world we must be ever watchful for changes in our feline’s behavior. Pet parents must be be very good detectives. We do this by being good observers of our cat’s behavior in happy times so that we can spot a problem quickly if something goes wrong.

Example: Cat Throwing up Clear Liquid: Why and What to Do? | Fluffy Kitty

Final Thoughts: Cat Throwing up Clear Liquid

You will probably always be concerned when your pet throws up. It signals something, but kitty almost never tells us what that something is. Like human babies, kittens don’t come with instruction manuals. Hopefully, these tips will give you a bit of comfort now that you know the many things that a cat throwing up clear liquid can mean.

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