why does my cat puke all the time?

topic posted Tue, April 6, 2004 - 5:44 PM by  ra
hey there! i'm so glad this tribe exists! good thinking.

so, why *does* my cat puke almost daily? i buy good quality food, and she eats mostly dry. she has plenty of water... whatup?

posted by:
offline ra
  • Re: why does my cat puke all the time?

    Tue, April 6, 2004 - 6:01 PM
    How old is your cat? How long as has she been puking daily? Is she puking up only food, or is a lot of hair mixed in with the food? It's hard to say for sure why she's puking until those questions are answered....

    But at any rate, a few thoughts about chronic cat puke, going from the most benign to the most dire scenarios:

    1. Dry food expands rapidly once it hits the gut and absorbs water. So a cat, who typically eats until she feels full, can very easily overfill her capacity when the food bloats.

    2. She could be eating too much, too fast.

    3. Does she run around and play right after eating? The one time I saw my baby girl ze hork was after her brother Eric chased her all around the house and pounced on her right after she ate dinner. Overexcitement and exertion can sometimes lead to puking. You know, wait 30 minutes after a meal before swimming and all that. (Mom was right!)

    4. Hairballs. Unlikely that these would cause DAILY puking though, because hairballs require time to build up.

    5. She could have irritable bowel syndrome. Chronic puking is the most common (and sometimes the only) sign.

    6. She could have some kind of intestinal blockage. (Highly unlikely if her puking has been chronic, long-lasting and her stools look normal.)

    Anyway, chronic puking is NOT normal. Some things to consider:

    1. Does she puke only when she eats dry food? Dry food is one of the least appropriate foods for a cat because of its high carbohydrate and low water content. If the expansion of kibble in her stomach is the culprit, then I'm guessing switching her to a mostly wet-food diet will help greatly.

    2. How fast does she eat? If she gobbles, one way I've read to make a cat slow down is by mixing large marbles with the kibble and making the cat pick her way through the bowl, thus making her take smaller, more frequent bites. However, I'd be very careful about the cat accidentally swallowing one of the marbles.

    3. IBD can only be diagnosed by a vet, but I've heard stories of IBD cats who were misdiagnosed over and over because it's a pretty tricky disease to catch--even a biopsy sometimes doesn't reveal it. But if it's a genuine concern, I say bring her to a good vet (preferably a holistic vet versed in actual nutritional therapy, and not one of the "buy this here prescription dry food" school) and go from there.

    In any case, being a cat food snob that I am, I'd really recommend feeding your cat more wet food not only because she's a chronic puker (and most chronic pukers I've encountered and have heard about eat a dry-food only diet), but because it's just better for her, period. Some high-quality brands to check out include Wellness, Newman's Own, Petguard, Nature's Variety, Natural Balance, Pinnacle, Solid Gold, Precise Plus, Felidae, Innova and California Naturals.
    • Re: why does my cat puke all the time?

      Tue, April 6, 2004 - 10:38 PM
      *meow* mom says:

      "my cat ozzy here, who is eight, stopped pooing and puked for days when he ate...we went to the vet and they x-rayed him...he had two very large blockages of hair inside him...we had been feeding him "hairball control" for nearly 2 years, and this is the only time it has happened...i was very sad for him, but i got some good hairball gel stuff from the vet and they passed...he is much happier now...take care"
  • Re: why does my cat puke all the time?

    Tue, April 6, 2004 - 11:21 PM
    One of my cats used to puke daily, or every other if it was a good week. He eats a mix of dry and wet. X-rays showed no blockage so IBD or allergies were suspected. I switched to a high-quality, high-protein dry and continued the wet and it stopped so I'm thinking it was an allergy to some ingredient (he had dandruff too and that has gone away now).

    He was eating Go! Natural but they pulled it off the shelf at the store because of a problem. Now he's eating Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul and no puking yet either- it's been 2 months. (We tried a prescription dry, Science Diet, Felidae, Royal Canin and one other food - Iams I think, and he threw them all up.)
    • Re: why does my cat puke all the time?

      Tue, April 6, 2004 - 11:56 PM
      hmmmm. well when i give her wet food she pukes too. she *does* eat like a glutton, for sure. its almost like she's on fast forward.

      i've tried different kinds of food and eventually she starts her puking routine. though this latest one... 3 days, so far, so good.

      sometimes there's hair in it, but usually that's a different affair.

      well, i'll haul her off to the vet for a checkup, and try giving her some more wet food... though usually she eats that even *more* quickly! should i mix that with the dry stuff?

      thanks for the responses

      • Re: why does my cat puke all the time?

        Wed, April 7, 2004 - 9:49 AM
        OK, some more random thoughts:

        Ra, let me know if I have this right: your cat doesn't barf when introduced to a new food, but after a while on the food starts puking it up? Again, check with your vet just to be sure, but it's beginning to sounds like a case of food allergy or early IBD to me. How long (approximately) after the food switch does she resume her Insta-Hurl™ act?

        Also: she's peeing and pooping regularly, right? No blood in the stools, no diarrhea? Like Ozzy's mom said, if your cat has any kind of blockage, the puking is accompanied by no poo (since they food can't get through).

        Food sensitivities/IBD are often related to grains in the food (especially corn and wheat), and slightly more rarely to animal proteins. The most common animal protein culprits are chicken, eggs and fish. Other times cats develop sensitivities to foods with mixed-protein sources.

        As for your cat eating too fast: how often is she fed? If only once or twice a day, maybe she feels reallyreallyreally hungry by mealtime, which explains her gobbling the food up. If that is the case, maybe you could get her one of those self-feeders and have it dump little bits of food out throughout the day so she can snack as the day goes on and break the binge-n-purge cycle.

        And feeding her canned food: instead of giving her the whole serving at once in a huge blob, maybe you can separate it into little blobs and space them around in her dish? That usually slows cats down some because they have to finish one blob before moving on to the next.

        So here's a little experiment you can try: I'm listing a bunch of canned cat foods below that are single-protein source (or as close as you're going to get with a commercial food) and low on grains (if they have any at all). If you want, give one of these a try, and see if she keeps the food down better for a longer period of time.

        Beef & Barley Dinner
        Turkey & Rice Dinner
        Lite Turkey & Barley Dinner
        Lite Chicken Stew Dinner
        Venison & Rice Dinner
        Rabbit & Rice Dinner

        Chicken Formula (contains some turkey)
        Turkey Formula (contains some chicken)

        Chicken Formula
        Turkey Formula (contains some chicken)

        Natural Life:
        Lamaderm Feline
        Chicken & Veggie Formula

        Solid Gold:
        Tuna for cats

        Nature's Variety Prairie™ Canned foods:

        And regarding those petroleum jelly-based hairball remedies: be careful if you use them regularly, because with frequent use, the mineral oil strips the cat's body of fat soluble vitamins and further interferes with her ability to absorb them. A healthier alternative is using unsalted butter. Feed it as a treat or coat your cat's paws with it and let her lick it off. Unsalted butter is great for a variety of reasons: cats thrive on animal fat, they usually looove the taste so usually getting them to eat it isn't a chore, and butter contains butyric acid, a substance used by beneficial gut bacteria as fuel.

        Plus there's nothing quite like butter for baking. Mmmmmmmmmm.
        • Re: why does my cat puke all the time?

          Wed, April 7, 2004 - 5:20 PM
          Hey everyone, I may or may not have the answer to this because a lot depends on the blahhing kittie. Is kitty spastic when guests arrive? Does kitty snap at people unexpectedly? Does kitty not puke when sleepies take over after a meal? Does kitty puke more often after the first meal? Read on....

          I was a puker since I was a littlum. My mommy took me to the vet and after they tested and prodded me to super kitty unhappieness, they ran a Barium test and allergy tests to several ingredients. Nothing came up in the allergy tests but the doctor took notice of the Barium and diagnosed the cause to be major anxiety disorder. He then sent me home with some meal time downers. My mommy gave me the meds. right before each meal and I stopped vomiting all together. Much later my family moved far off away from that vet and my mommy went to get a refill on my meds. but the new vet never heard of them and refused to except my diagnosis. Unfortuanely, I began unhappily vomitting again. My mommy wanted to try a more holistic approach now anyhow and now after my breakfast she puts me to sleep in a calm dark room until I digest and she pets me softly. This usually works and at dinner times I'm less stressed out because I'm not just waking or racing to the bowl with my sis. Sometimes I still vomit though especially when there are guests over but this is something all blahhing kitties should hear about because not to many vets believe kitties can suffer from mental disorders that make you blahhh all over. Also note that I eat a top of the line diet and no matter what it may be I still blah at times from stress although, the raw rabbit meat keeps my anxiety lower than usual! I am very healthy otherwise as odd as that may seem. Good luck all!
          • Re: why does my cat puke all the time?

            Wed, April 7, 2004 - 5:40 PM
            ummmm do stressed out kittie also "needle" alot (milk threading, zhizhling, sticking their nails into you over and over and over...) cuz i know all cats do this *sometimes*... mine also does THIS excessively... and occasionally she bites when you pet her too much, or if you don't pet her enough...

            does my cat need a shrink???

            she is rather bizarre.

          • Re: why does my cat puke all the time?

            Wed, April 7, 2004 - 10:23 PM
            Azrial--thanks for the insight. When yo mama has a moment, could she maybe post what she feeds you in the Raw Recipe thread? I think you and your household are the only other cats on this Tribe that eat raw food besides my two.
            • Re: why does my cat puke all the time?

              Thu, April 8, 2004 - 3:10 PM
              thanks for the ideas!

              has anyone ever tried those feline hormone sprays that are supposed to be soothing for them?


              i'm thinking of maybe trying that. her excessive kneading, which i have read can be a result of being weaned too early, is actually VERY annoying. it pinches!

              • Re: why does my cat puke all the time?

                Thu, April 15, 2004 - 8:10 PM
                we tried the hormone/pheromone sprays to stop a cat from peeing on the suggested it because she thought the cat might have an anxiety disorder and be obsessively trying to mark territory. HOWEVER...
                within 5 minutes of applying the spray, all three cats [not just the one with the problem] peed on the carpet and were very agitated for a few hours. it seemed as if they thought there was an intruder.
                if you try that stuff with your cat, start small and watch closely in case she flips out too.
            • Re: why does my cat puke all the time?

              Thu, April 15, 2004 - 4:17 PM
              Thanks, my mommy says she will when she gets a chance to write it all out. She's a nanny for 50 hours a week during the days and then comes home to 8 cats at night. That's 6 fosters and me and my sis. I'll remind her though. kisses and licks to all! Oh yeah, and contact her to adopt a rescued kitty everyone! YAY!
              • Re: why does my cat puke all the time?

                Thu, April 15, 2004 - 6:47 PM
                wow talk about a nuturer!
                • Re: why does my cat puke all the time?

                  Fri, April 16, 2004 - 9:26 AM
                  "wow talk about a nuturer!"

                  Yeah, no kidding. Damn.

                  Thanks for the warning about Feliway, Jen. I've used it once myself, when I moved and my cats FREAKED OUT every time they left the bedroom. But it didn't help. Didn't make them spaz out (or at least no more spazzy than usual) though. But I've heard lots of other people have had luck with it.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: why does my cat puke all the time?

                    Fri, April 16, 2004 - 9:41 PM
                    well, ya gotta take into account that all of my cats are psycho in their own little [actually not-so-little] ways. one is senile, the second is retarded [seriously, she is absolutely stupid, no other word for her, the poor dear]. the third is nutty kinda like phoebe on friends, funny as hell and quite harmless, but you're always left wondering what exactly is going through her furry lil brain.
  • Re: why does my cat puke all the time?

    Mon, August 22, 2011 - 5:37 PM
    Okay, so I had this same problem for YEARS. Tried changing the food in case it was a dietary preference, tried not changing the food in case it was stress-induced, tried using a $50 timed feeder so my cat would be fed on the dot every day (also in case it was stress induced)--and my vet could only say "try a different food." I found that Science Diet Sensitive Stomachs is what my super picky cat LOVES, but that STILL didn't stop his puking.

    The cure:

    I now feed my cat twice a day--once in the morning, and once in the evening. The absolute essential trick, though, is to REMOVE HIS FOOD when feeding time is over (a half hour period). Why does this work? Because having food available all day (usually what dry food cat owners do), puts cats in their ready-to-eat mode, which means their bodies slow down and their energy goes to their stomachs. This might not sound harmful, but cats need time NOT in digestive mode so their bodies can recoup and do whatever they need to do when they're not eating (such as healing and repairing elsewhere). Apparently, even the SMELL of food can trigger this digestive mode, so it is best to put any cat food completely away (including empty cat dishes).

    I got my info from a natural cat book, have been trying this for a few weeks now, and the puking has stopped--HALLELUJAH!

    It might seem high-maintenance, but I put food out when I wake up, get ready to leave the house, and take the food away before I go to work or whatnot. Then, when I get home in the evening, I put food out again for another half-hour period.

    If you've tried everything else, and still no luck--try the half-hour feeding periods. My cat is now used to it (took a couple days), but no more vomit clean-ups making me late in the morning!

    And in case you're interested:
  • Re: why does my cat puke all the time?

    Thu, December 15, 2011 - 8:17 AM
    I'm going through the same issue right now. My cat is roughly 2.5 years old. The first year he didn't puke at all, then he starting yaking up hairballs, now he yaks about 2-3 times a week but it's mostly just bile and meal from his food. We have tried multiple types of hard food. Now we have him on Blue Mountain Co. (organic) foods with no grains and he is still puking. So, he has been doing this for about a year now, and he hasn't lost weight, hasn't gained wait, goes to the bathroom normally, continues to eat, plays like a 2 year old cat should play, so I'm thinking it's a food allergy or IBS. I really don't want to take him to the vet if I don't have too. Our next move will be spaying water on the food to see if moisture is the issue, after that wet food. Then it's vet time. Any other suggestions??????

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