Cat Throwing Up Clear Liquid – What It Means

It can be alarming if your cat throws up; sure, there’s that hassle of clean up. But it’s concerning for your feline’s health when this happens – and when the liquid comes out clear? What on earth does that mean? Why is your cat throwing up clear liquid? 

Cats throw up clear liquid because of pre-hairball expulsion, consuming too much water, eating too much, or eating too little. Parasites, kidney disease, or even hyperthyroidism can also cause cats to throw up clear liquid. 

Though there are many possibilities, a one-time incident of your cat throwing up clear liquid is not necessarily cause for concern. If this starts to happen more frequently, book an appointment with your vet. Your kitty (and your carpets) will thank you. But there are more factors to consider: when should you be concerned about your cat’s vomit? What do other colors of throw up entail? Is there a way to settle your cat’s stomach, or is there something you can give her for vomiting?

Is It Normal For Cats To Throw Up

As a blanket statement, it is technically normal for cats to throw up. Many cats have sensitive stomachs; sometimes they may eat too quickly or too much, they often ingest their fur during bath time; so yes, there are many reasons that your cat throws up, and it’s a common occurrence among felines.

If it happens more than once a week, however, that’s cause for alarm. Notify your vet and get your four-legged fur baby help quickly! 

Some are cause for concern, while others are more insignificant. This clear liquid may be a pre-hairball expulsion; while cats bathe themselves, the tiny hooks on their tongue often capture the loose or dead fur, and it ends up on their bellies. Usually, this fur gets digested and comes out in their litter box, but occasionally it gets backed up into a hairball. Sometimes, before that hairball ejects, a cat will emit a clear liquid. While it’s mostly normal from time to time, it’s not normal if this happens frequently.

What Is Clear Vomit

Clear vomit in cats could be a variety of things; if your cat drank too much water, for instance, it might merely be repurposed water from the stomach to the floor. Or, clear vomit could be (warning: graphic details ahead!) mucus from the stomach lining; in the instance, for example, that your cat didn’t have anything left in her stomach to eject.

Another cause for clear vomit is that (more graphic details!), before purging a hairball, a cat’s belly will often kick off the process with a load of gastric juices. Gross, I know.

Why Is My Cat Throwing Up Water

Sometimes, if a cat drinks too much water in a short amount of time, her little stomach can’t hold it all, and she has to purge it.

While consuming a lot of water is not a problem in itself, let’s look at the root cause of drinking too much in the first place. Excessive thirst could be a symptom of kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, or diabetes. On rarer occasions, it may also be a symptom of fear, excitement, or motion sickness.

Throwing up water may also be a sign of a tumor; these could block the passage of food or water, bloating the stomach and forcing your cat to throw up.

If this becomes a more frequent incident, contact your vet immediately as things could turn serious quickly.

When Should I Be Concerned About My Cat Vomiting

It would help if you started to be concerned about your cat vomiting when it becomes a frequent incident. Unfortunately for your carpets and furniture, cat vomiting is relatively normal – when it happens at most a few times a month, anyway. But if the purging happens more than that, it could be cause for concern.

It may merely be a case of needing to regulate her feeding schedule – or, worst-case scenario, she may have early onset of a disease.

Another cause for clear vomiting may be a missed meal or your cat eating later than she usually does. Just like in our stomachs, cat stomachs produce a mix of gastric liquids plus hydrochloric acid for digestion; sometimes, if a cat goes too long without eating, that buildup of liquids may irritate the stomach and result in vomiting. 

Or, your cat might have eaten something that she shouldn’t have!

What Does The Color Of Cat Vomit Mean

The color of your kitty’s throw up could clue you in as to what it means. 

Yellow: this is typically food coming directly from the stomach area; it’s in the early digestion stages.

Green: this is a sign that the vomit substance came from somewhere post-digestion. Bile will also appear greenish.

White: white vomit usually appears foamy; it may be a sign of acid reflux or gastritis.

Clear: clear vomit could be part of the stomach lining if your cat throws up on an empty stomach. It may also be water.

Red: red vomit means there’s blood in your cat’s intestinal tract, and this needs to be addressed immediately. Blood could come in different shades, too, like burgundy or even black. If your cat’s vomit looks like coffee grounds, something severe is happening within.

And just a note: the color may also reflect something that your cat ate (and might be the cause of vomiting in the first place!).

What To Do If Cat Keeps Throwing Up

If your cat keeps throwing up, there are some things you can try before contacting your vet. She may have merely eaten something foreign and needs some time to get it out.

  • Remove all food, but keep her water available.
  • After two hours, offer her a teaspoon of her food or something bland like chicken or white fish.
  • If she keeps it down, you can continue giving her small bits of food every few hours for 24 hours.

If this doesn’t work, take her to the emergency vet – there may be something very wrong with your cat that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. 

How Do I Settle My Cat’s Stomach

Offer your ailing angel small bits of bland food to help settle her stomach. This could include chicken, rice, or white fish, which appeal to kitties but are gentle enough on their stomachs. Give it to her in small doses, every few hours, over 24-48 hours.

It’s essential to keep at least a little food in her belly – prolonged fasting can also be harmful to her. If she’s refusing to eat, try heating it a bit to make it more delicious.

What Can You Give A Cat For Vomiting

If your cat keeps throwing up – whether it’s undigested food or even clear vomit – offer her some water or ice cubes in the initial stages. Wait 12 hours before feeding her to allow everything to normalize in her system. After that, give her small amounts of bland food that won’t upset her stomach further; it’s best to stretch these small amounts out so that her stomach doesn’t get too full too quickly.

What Should I Do If My Cat Is Throwing Up And Has Diarrhea

Sometimes clear vomit (or other colors) is combined with diarrhea; in this case, remove all food (but leave out water) for around 12 hours to allow Kitty’s body to purge everything causing it trauma.

Once everything settles, you can start incorporating small bits of bland food – like specialized cat food, chicken, or rice, for example.

However, keep in mind that this unpleasant combination could easily lead to dehydration. Check your cat for symptoms of dehydration, including dry/pale gums and “skin tenting.” To check for skin tenting, gently pull up the skin between her shoulder blades; a well-hydrated cat’s skin should spring back in place. If she’s dehydrated, however, her skin will go back into place much more slowly.

Contact your vet; you may need to bring your thirsty feline in for a dose of vital hydration.


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