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Cat Vomit Color Chart: Vet Approved Meaning of Different Colors

Written by: Misty Layne

Last Updated on June 9, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

man petting a sick siberian cat

Cat Vomit Color Chart: Vet Approved Meaning of Different Colors


Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo


Dr. Lorna Whittemore

BVMS, MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Cats occasionally throw up. It’s simply a fact of life. Usually, you’d clean it up and move on with your day, but you should check what color your cat’s vomit is. The color can indicate if they have a health problem, and we have a handy cat vomit color chart below to help you. With this information, you can tell when you have a feline emergency on your hands or if your cat only has an upset stomach.

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Importance of Checking the Color of Cat Vomit

Your cat throwing up every once in a while isn’t concerning, but vomiting can be a sign that your pet is suffering from a severe illness or chronic condition you aren’t aware of, which could include:

  • Viral infections
  • Liver or kidney failure
  • Parasites
  • Pancreatitis
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Neurological disorders
  • Obstruction in the bowel

Checking the color of your cat’s vomit can determine if something serious is going on, as can the frequency of your cat’s vomiting. If something is wrong, you’ll likely see other signs, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, or weight loss.

If you’re regularly checking the color of your cat’s vomit and looking for other signs that they could have an illness, you’ll be able to get them to the vet more quickly.

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How to Effectively Clean Up Cat Messes, Odors & Stains 

The first part of cat mess prevention is ensuring you are taking the time to properly clean any accidents -  and that starts with investing in the right products! Of course, you'll want to opt for something safe first and foremost, to protect your feline's health, but secondly, you'll need a solution powerful enough to lift the toughest, stinkiest, most set-in stains. After careful consideration, we fell in love with one product and highly recommend it to all pet owners! 

Our Favorite Enzyme Cleaner 

Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray
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There are several reasons we can't get enough of the Hepper Advanced Bio-Enzyme Pet Stain & Odor Eliminator Spray.  It permanently removes the very worst smells and stains, it can be used on a multitude of surfaces and its neutral scented, meaning no odor masking! It comes in a generous 32-oz bottle and comes with 100% satisfaction guarantee. Learn more about this holy grail of a cleaner here!

At Catster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding products of this cool cat company!


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Cat Vomit Color Chart

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Vomit Color Meaning
Clear vomit Clear vomit is your pet throwing up water, usually because they drank too much. Although that doesn’t seem like a big deal, there are underlying conditions, such as diabetes, that can make your pet thirstier than usual. So, a vet visit is necessary if this continues.
White foam White foam indicates the lining of the small intestines or stomach is inflamed and irritated, but there is nothing in the stomach to vomit. Monitor for other signs of illness.
Yellow vomit Yellow cat vomit indicates bile, which occurs when your pet has an empty stomach. Yellow vomit shouldn’t be too concerning unless your pet is also acting strange in other ways.
Blood in vomit Blood in cat vomit can be an indication that there is either an ulceration in the body or a clotting abnormality (caused by toxins or illness). Or, if your cat has vomited repeatedly, the blood could be from an irritated esophagus or stomach. Either way, you should take your cat to your vet for an examination.
Green vomit Your cat’s vomit could be green if it’s mixed with bile (common if your pet throws up on an empty stomach). Another reason could be that your cat consumed plant material. This shouldn’t be concerning unless your pet is exhibiting signs of illness.
Brown vomit Most likely, brown cat vomit is the color it is because your cat’s food is brown, and they ate it too fast. However, it could also indicate traces of blood (especially if it looks similar to coffee grounds and is a darker brown). If you believe blood is in your cat’s vomit, take them to the vet.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Cat parents tend to have plenty of questions about their pets throwing up. Here are just a few.

How Are Acute and Chronic Vomiting Different?

Acute vomiting is the type that comes on suddenly and usually lasts only for a day or two. Chronic vomiting occurs frequently, maybe daily or every few days. Both types of vomiting can be cause for concern, especially if they appear with other signs such as lethargy or appetite loss.

veterinarian examining a bengal cat at the clinic
Image Credit: Pressmaster, Shutterstock

Should I See My Vet if My Cat Vomits?

If you think you see blood in your cat’s vomit or your cat is in pain or otherwise unwell, you should call your vet for advice and an appointment. Likewise, if your cat throws up several times a day or once a day for multiple days, you should talk to your vet.

Other reasons to see your vet when your cat vomits include having other signs of being sick, being on medications, and suffering from a health condition like diabetes.

How Will My Vet Treat My Cat’s Vomiting?

How your pet’s vomiting is treated depends greatly on the underlying causes. If it’s something like diabetes or IBD that’s causing your cat to throw up, medication will be critical. But if it’s something with your cat’s food making them vomit, it would require switching to a different kind of food.

Some cats need bland food and time, while others need blood tests, fluids, and imaging diagnostics.

What’s the Difference Between Vomit and a Hairball?

Hairballs and vomit are two entirely different things; the biggest clue you’re looking at a hairball is the shape. Hairballs are long and thin (sort of a cigar shape). While some bile may be hacked up with a hairball, most of what’s on your floor will be hair with some food. Vomit, on the other hand, might have a bit of hair in it but will be made up mostly of fluids.

What Should I Do to Help My Cat When It’s Vomiting?

The best thing you can do for your cat if they’re throwing up is to take note of their other signs and severity and take them to the vet. It’s unfortunate, but there’s not much that can be done to help your kitty at home with vomiting, as there aren’t medications you can give them. One thing you can do is not to give your pet food or water for several hours after they throw up.

But you can help prevent your pet from throwing up in the first place.

  • Try to slow your cat’s eating since eating too quickly can result in vomiting.
  • Keep poisonous items far away from your pet (and remember that some items could be toxic to the cat that you wouldn’t suspect, such as plants or foods).
  • Keep up with regular deworming and vaccinations.

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Final Thoughts

It’s never fun when your feline friend is throwing up, but by knowing what the color of your pet’s vomit means, you can determine whether something is seriously wrong or if the vomiting is a fluke. Other things to watch out for when your cat is vomiting are how often they vomit and whether any other symptoms of illness are present, such as loss of appetite or lethargy. If you feel like something is wrong with your cat, visit your vet for testing and treatment. You can also try to prevent your pet from throwing up by ensuring their food isn’t upsetting their stomach, and they aren’t eating too quickly.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Olesya_Alexandrova, Shutterstock

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