Is It Normal For Cats To Throw Up Their Food And Then Eat It?

Cats have been captivating humans for centuries with their enigmatic personalities and peculiar behaviors. As a cat owner, you may have found yourself wondering if it’s normal for your feline friend to throw up their food and then eat it. While this behavior may seem bizarre, it’s actually quite common among cats.

Perhaps you’ve witnessed the dreaded hairball situation, where your cat coughs up a clump of fur and undigested food, only to immediately start chowing down on the mess they just made. It can be an unsettling sight for some, but don’t worry – it’s all part of your cat’s natural instincts.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of cats and explore why they engage in this behavior. We’ll also discuss warning signs that indicate potential health issues and when it’s time to seek veterinary attention. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of your furry companion’s digestive system and why throwing up and eating their food isn’t as strange as it may seem.

So let’s get started on our journey through the mysterious world of cats and uncover the truth behind this curious behavior.

What Causes Cats to Vomit and Eat Their Food?

Sometimes, cats will vomit and then chow down on their food again. It may sound gross to us, but it’s a common behavior among our feline friends.

There are a few reasons why cats may vomit and then eat their food. One possibility is that they have a sensitive stomach. Cats have delicate digestive systems that can be easily upset by overeating or eating too quickly. Vomiting helps them get rid of any excess food, and by eating it again, they can try to digest it more slowly.

Another reason why cats may eat their vomit is because it’s an instinctual behavior. In the wild, cats would regurgitate their food to feed their young or mark their territory. By eating their vomit, cats can also pick up any nutrients that may have been lost during the initial digestion process.

However, not all cats exhibit this behavior, and it may not always be normal. If your cat is vomiting frequently or appears to be in distress after eating, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

Hairballs are another common cause of vomiting in cats. As meticulous groomers, cats ingest a lot of hair that can build up in their stomachs and cause them to vomit. In some cases, cats will eat their vomit immediately afterward to try to get the hairball out of their system.

Overeating and eating too quickly can also cause vomiting in cats. Some cats are enthusiastic eaters and will gobble up their food too fast. This can cause them to vomit, but they may then try to eat the regurgitated food because they’re still hungry.

If your cat is repeatedly eating its vomit, it’s important to discourage this behavior as it can lead to further digestive issues. Providing small, frequent meals throughout the day and using puzzle feeders or slow feeders can help prevent overeating and encourage slower eating habits.

Is it Normal for Cats to Throw Up and Eat Their Food?

While this behavior may seem strange and even a little off-putting to us humans, it’s actually quite normal for cats. Regurgitation is a natural process that helps cats break down tough materials like bones and fur that they might encounter when eating prey in the wild.

However, it’s important to note that regurgitation can also indicate underlying health issues in cats. If your kitty is regurgitating frequently or appears to be in discomfort while doing so, it’s crucial to seek veterinary care. Gastrointestinal problems, food allergies, and hairballs are all potential causes of regurgitation in cats.

Despite these concerns, as a cat expert, I can assure you that regurgitation is generally nothing to worry about as long as it occurs infrequently and your feline friend seems comfortable. Just keep an eye on their habits and don’t hesitate to seek medical attention if anything seems amiss.

The Benefits of Cats Eating Their Own Vomit

Although it may appear unappetizing, it’s actually a typical behavior for cats that can even have some surprising benefits.

Did you know that one of the benefits of cats eating their vomit is that they are able to re-consume essential nutrients that may have been lost during the initial digestion process? Cats have delicate stomachs, and sometimes they don’t efficiently digest their food before vomiting. By consuming their vomit, they are able to give their bodies another chance to absorb those vital nutrients.

Another significant benefit is that cats can expel harmful or indigestible substances from their system a second time. Eating vomit in this way can prevent illness or harm to your cat.

However, it’s crucial to note that excessive vomiting or immediately re-eating the vomit could indicate an underlying health issue. If your cat is displaying these behaviors frequently, it’s important to bring them to the attention of a veterinarian.

Potential Health Concerns with Regurgitation

However, this seemingly normal behavior can actually be an indication of potential health concerns that should not be ignored.

Regurgitation happens when undigested food is brought back up from the esophagus. If your cat does this repeatedly, it can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, and weight loss. Moreover, it can be a sign of more serious gastrointestinal problems such as esophageal obstruction or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In some cases, regurgitation could even indicate tumors or neurological disorders.

It’s worth noting that regurgitation is not the same as vomiting, which involves forceful contractions of the stomach muscles. While occasional vomiting may not be a cause for concern, frequent or persistent vomiting can also indicate underlying health issues.

If you notice your cat exhibiting frequent regurgitation or vomiting, it’s vital to consult with your veterinarian. Your vet can conduct diagnostic tests, perform a physical exam, and suggest treatment options to address any underlying health concerns. Additionally, they may recommend changes to your cat’s diet or feeding habits to reduce the risk of regurgitation or vomiting.

How to Prevent Your Cat from Eating its Own Vomit

How to Stop Your Cat from Eating its Own Vomit: A Comprehensive Guide

As a cat owner, it’s natural to be concerned when your furry friend develops a habit of eating its own vomit. Not only is it unpleasant to witness, but it can also be detrimental to your cat’s health. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to prevent this behavior. In this guide, we’ll explore five effective strategies for keeping your cat from eating its own vomit.

Feed Your Cat Smaller, More Frequent Meals

Overeating or eating too quickly can cause your cat to vomit. Therefore, feeding them smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day can help reduce the likelihood of vomiting. This approach also promotes healthy digestion and helps maintain a healthy weight for your feline friend.

Change Up Their Diet

If your cat is eating something that doesn’t agree with them, it can cause them to vomit. Switching to a different type of food or brand that is easier for your cat to digest can help prevent vomiting. Ensure that their diet is appropriate for their age, weight, and activity level.

Use Puzzle Feeders or Slow Feeder Bowls

A puzzle feeder or slow feeder bowl can help slow down your cat’s eating and reduce the likelihood of vomiting. These types of feeders require your cat to work for their food, which provides mental stimulation and prevents them from inhaling their meal too quickly.

Clean Up Any Vomit Immediately

Cleaning up any vomit immediately after it happens is crucial in preventing your cat from eating it. Use an enzyme cleaner specifically designed for pet messes to thoroughly clean up any vomit and remove any traces of odor that may attract your cat back to the spot.

Make Sure Your Cat Has Access to Fresh Water

Dehydration can lead to vomiting and other health problems; therefore, it’s essential to keep your cat hydrated. Ensure your cat has access to plenty of fresh water throughout the day by placing multiple water bowls around the house. Encourage them to drink water by providing a kitty fountain or adding flavored water to their bowl.

When to See a Veterinarian

While it’s normal for cats to vomit occasionally, it’s important to know when it’s time to seek professional help from a veterinarian.

If your cat is vomiting frequently or experiencing other symptoms like lethargy, loss of appetite, or diarrhea, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your vet. These symptoms may indicate an underlying health issue that needs to be addressed promptly.

Repeatedly vomiting and then eating their food, also known as “scarf and barf,” is another behavior that requires immediate attention from a veterinarian. When cats scarf down their food too quickly, they can lead to vomiting. If they continue to eat the regurgitated food, harmful bacteria or irritants can cause further health problems.

It’s always best to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian if you notice any changes in your cat’s eating habits or vomiting patterns. They can perform a thorough physical examination and run any necessary tests to determine the root cause of the issue. Early detection and treatment can prevent more serious health problems down the line.

Lastly, cats may develop an eating disorder called pica, which causes them to eat non-food items like plastic or fabric. This behavior can be dangerous and requires immediate veterinary attention. Your veterinarian can perform tests to determine if there is an underlying medical condition causing the pica or if it’s a behavioral issue that requires training and management.

Also Read: Why Is My Cat Throwing Up Food But Acting Normal?


To sum up, cats throwing up and then eating their food is a typical behavior for cats. It can happen due to various reasons such as sensitive stomachs, hairballs, overeating, or instinctual behavior. However, if your cat excessively vomits or immediately re-eats the vomit, it might indicate an underlying health issue. As a responsible cat owner, it’s important to keep an eye on your pet’s habits and seek veterinary attention if anything seems amiss.

Regurgitation can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, and weight loss if left unchecked. Additionally, repeated vomiting followed by eating their food can cause further digestive issues. To prevent this behavior from happening in the first place, you can feed your cat smaller meals throughout the day using puzzle feeders or slow feeder bowls. Remember to clean up any vomit immediately and ensure your cat has access to fresh water.

In summary, while cats throwing up and then eating their food may not be pleasant for us humans to witness, it’s natural for our feline companions. If it occurs infrequently and your cat seems comfortable, there is no need to worry.