Cats can vomit for many reasons and what they vomit can be just as varied. However, water or clear liquid can be a sign of a serious illness. Vomiting itself is considered a non-specific symptom. It can be associated with a variety of health problems. It can be allergic reactions, internal obstructions, pancreatitis, stroke/hyperthermia, hypothermia, parasitic infections, liver disease, poisoning, stress, depression, or even anxiety. But what can cause your cat to vomit water or clear liquid?

It can be difficult to distinguish between water and clear liquid. Vomiting clear liquid is a sign that your cat is passing fluids from her digestive tract. Sometimes, if your cat vomits right after drinking a large amount of water, she will also vomit a clear liquid, the water she just drank. When a cat drinks too much water too quickly, her stomach fills with water, stretches, and expands, causing her to vomit water. Diseases that can cause increased thirst and therefore water consumption are kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and diabetes mellitus. Other causes of water vomiting in a cat are motion sickness, hairballs, gastritis, etc.

Possible causes of clear liquid vomiting in your cat

Hairballs
Cats are meticulous animals by nature and groom themselves for most of the day. When a cat grooms, small hook-like structures on its tongue pick up dead and loose hair, which is then swallowed. Most of the hair passes through the digestive tract unhindered, but sometimes the hair remains in the stomach and forms a hairball.

Cats usually vomit a clear liquid before hairball forms. While a cat occasionally vomiting a clear liquid with a hairball may be normal and no cause for concern, it’s important to note that hairballs should not be frequent, painful, or difficult for your cat to expel. To help prevent hairballs in your cat, there are over-the-counter dietary supplements in the form of a paste or chewable gel. Adopting a regular brushing schedule and familiarizing your cat with brushing can also help get rid of loose hair that may be ingested during grooming.

Change in diet and feeding regimen
When there is a change in your cat’s feeding schedule, if she skips a meal or eats later than usual, she may vomit a clear liquid.

You may also have changed your cat’s food too quickly. When changing your cat’s food to a new diet, it is recommended that you do so gradually over a period of one to two weeks, decreasing the amount of the current food and increasing the amount of the new food.

Your cat may eat too quickly, which can lead to vomiting or clean vomiting when food is present. If your cat has a history of vomiting or has intestinal sensitivity, she may vomit partially or undigested food. If your veterinarian has ruled out any other medical problems and believes that what your cat is vomiting is actually food, you may want to ask your veterinarian to try a commercial food for sensitive systems. If your cat continues to have difficulty vomiting food on this special diet, then you can put her on a strict hydrolyzed protein diet.

Your veterinarian may also suggest food puzzles for your cat. Food puzzles are an excellent source of play and enrichment for your cat. There are a growing number of manufactured food puzzles on the market that stimulate your cat’s foraging and predatory instincts. The added benefit of food puzzles for a cat that chronically vomits its food is that they reduce feeding time so your cat can’t eat too quickly and get sick.

Indigestion
As in humans, the cat’s stomach produces various stomach juices and hydrochloric acid to digest food. However, if a cat misses a meal for any reason, or is not fed on time, this buildup of juices and acid can irritate the stomach and cause vomiting. Cats suffering from indigestion may vomit a clear liquid, a yellow or white foam. If you and your veterinarian suspect that your cat’s vomiting is due to indigestion, your veterinarian may suggest feeding small, frequent meals at the same time during the day to help relieve the buildup of stomach acid.

Gastritis
If your cat has a habit of taking things he shouldn’t, he may have irritated his stomach with something he ate. In this case, you may see vomiting of clear fluid in addition to vomiting of blood and/or bile. Your cat may also have a decreased appetite, depression, lethargy, or dehydration. Your veterinarian will know exactly what to do if your cat is vomiting due to gastritis.

Other possible causes include
– Parasites

– Constipation

– Foreign body obstruction in the intestinal tract

– Ingestion of a toxin

– Metabolic disorders such as diabetes, kidney disease, and hyperthyroidism

What should I do if my cat vomits water?
Some cat owners may describe their cat as vomiting, but you should know that frequent vomiting is never normal for a cat. Vomiting more than once a week is definitely a sign of trouble. If your cat vomits a clear liquid or water repeatedly and/or along with other symptoms such as lack of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, or diarrhea, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian will begin with a physical exam, checking your cat’s vital signs and palpating his or her abdomen. After a thorough examination, your vet may also want to perform tests such as blood work and x-rays. A blood test will check your cat’s organ function, making sure there are no signs of liver or kidney disease, as well as your cat’s red blood cell and platelet levels. An X-ray will detect fluid in the abdomen, which could be blood, and will show intestinal gas, which could indicate an obstruction.

Depending on the doctor’s findings, your cat may require hospitalization for fluid therapy and supportive care, or simply outpatient treatment and oral medications to return home. If your veterinarian suspects your cat has an intestinal obstruction, he or she may need surgery to remove the obstruction.

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