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Tips on getting my cat to NOT throw it all up again

February 7th, 2008, 12:04 PM
So I've had Gibson for just over a year now. When I first got him, he wasn't eating much at this old "home" because he kept throwing it up. They fed him less often to avoid cleaning up after him. I obviously started feeding him every day, and he threw up every day. Sometimes twice a day.

I took him to the vet - he said Gibson is "gobbling" and it makes him throw it up, plus his obvious hairball problem isn't helping either.

A year later, after much trial and error, I have him on a diet that seems to be working- he throws up once every 2 weeks, roughly. It's a mixture of hairball control food (can't remember the name of it... pricey pet-store "specialty" brand w/ rice and chicken), supplemented w/ a fish-variety wet food (1 tbsp daily) and hairball control treats - 2, twice a day. I also brush him regularly to cut back on the amount of hair he ingests.

I tried getting him onto raw- he won't touch it. He won't eat any 'people' food period, cooked or raw. I tried every meal for three days; he just didn't eat.

So I'm thinking I'll put him onto wet food only because the general consensus is that it's much better than dry. But he eats the wet food SO fast that if I give him more than a half-tablespoon at a time he throws it up again. If I fed him wet food only, I'd have to sit by his dish all day and feed it to him in half-spoon increments, or go back to cleaning up after him 1-2 times daily.

Any advice?

February 7th, 2008, 12:41 PM
put a ball in the bowl to make him slow down?? keep him locked in a room with no carpeting until he is done ralfing, then keep him in there for an extra half hour so he gets use to be in the room for a set length of time. maybe he will slow down when he doesnt feel so pressured???


February 7th, 2008, 01:34 PM
automatic feeder that releases SMALL amounts of food more often throughout the day?

what brands of food are you feeding? perhaps it's an intolerance to an ingredient?

I don't think wet food is "better". I think it's needed in addition to dry. it provides more water. I have 2 cats, I feed them both a combo of dry AND wet food daily.

February 7th, 2008, 01:40 PM
I don't remember the brand of the food- I'm one of those who remembers things by colour :P

We've actually made HUGE progress on him keeping foods down. I'm sure it's a food intolerance but I've tried him on- I swear- almost every brand of food that exists. I know a lot of things he can't eat. He's totally healthy, energetic, happy.

If health-wise it's okay to feed dry/ wet combination then I'll keep doing what I'm doing. I was just under the assumption that most people feel that raw or wet food is best.

February 7th, 2008, 01:40 PM
You could try putting little bits of wet food all around a large plate. :shrug:

February 7th, 2008, 01:49 PM
If you have the puking under control, I'd keep doing exactly what you've been doing. any dietary change could send Gibson into another round of "the daily pukes", and you'd be back to square one.

February 7th, 2008, 03:46 PM
I don't think wet food is "better". I think it's needed in addition to dry. it provides more water. I have 2 cats, I feed them both a combo of dry AND wet food daily.

Actually, wet food IS better. Much much better. There is truly no good reason to feed any dry whatsoever to a cat. It's full of inappropriate ingredients, it has an inappropriate moisture level at 10% or less (cat's need 60-80% moisture - with their food), and it's massively overprocessed. It would be the equivalent of the feeding your kids nothing but breakfast cereal every day of their lives.

If you want more specifics, read this:

February 7th, 2008, 04:07 PM
Blargh, now I'm back to the same problem :(

I currently feed him a half-tablespoon twice daily of wet food spread out in little chunks all over his very wide, flat bowl. If I don't break it up, or if I feed more than that at the time, he throws it up. If I change the type of food, he throws it up.

Oddly, though, he keeps eating the foster dogs food and has yet to throw that up :confused:

Maybe I'm stuck confining him somewhere until he throws it all up. It's just really gross/ annoying/ probably not good for him. Plus, I'm wasting all kinds of food if he just throws it up again almost instantly. I can't see him getting any nutritional benefits or whatever from the wet food if he won't keep it down.

Is it worth trying to switch him to wet? If I have this much trouble with it, is it worth it?

February 7th, 2008, 04:13 PM
Can you keep him out of the dogs food ?

February 7th, 2008, 04:22 PM
You could try smaller feedings - I feed my guys 4 small portions 4 times a day - it doesn't take any extra work, and even though they eat fast, they don't throw up .. :shrug:

Also, I know you said you tried a bunch of different foods - have you tried isolating proteins? It could be that he is allergic/has a stomach upset with a certain kind of meat? If you try a food with just one source of protein (i.e. Wellness Turkey, which also happens to be grain free), maybe that would work .. ? :shrug:

February 7th, 2008, 04:28 PM
When my Rocky was gulping down the wet food,only to throw it up later,I would sit by him,feed him a teaspoon at a time,wait a little until I gave him more and it worked.
Are you feeding Gibbons chunks or pate-type food?
My cats won't eat anything other than pate-type,I think they are more likely to throw up chunks or slices:2cents:

February 7th, 2008, 04:44 PM
We're using the pate (chopped into little bits to make him eat it more slowly). He definitely throws up anything manufactured in chunks or shredded. I know he throws up beef, dairy, and anything with corn or wheat. With wet food, he throws up chicken but does OK on a chicken-based dry food. He does really well with fish-based wet foods so far. Not 100%, but pretty good.

The turkey or lamb or some other protein may be the way to go, though. I'll try that. I was trying to avoid having to feed him 4-6 times a day, but if it's the only way to go I'll do that.

I freeze the kong I give to my foster dogs... any ideas on if freezing the wet food before feeding it to Gibson would be bad? It might prevent him from gulping it down.

February 7th, 2008, 04:48 PM
You can freeze the food - but some cats won't eat it cold.. I don't know how they'd like it frozen!

When I feed 4 times a day, I just separate the can into fours when I open it (well, 5 in my case, cuz my big guy is on a diet) and then just give that section at each feeding. You might be able to coordinate it with your hubby - in my case, the BF feeds them once at 6 AM, I feed them again at 9 AM when I get up (aren't I lucky! :)), and then once when I get home and once again before bed.

February 8th, 2008, 06:41 AM
Since cats go by smell,I don't think frozen or really cold food will go over well,
on the contrary,adding a little warm water and stirring it up,will bring out the smell and maybe entice him to eat.
I only know by my cats,but most of the time,they lap up the food and my Rocky especially,will eat a little and come back a minute later to eat more and eventually licks his dish clean.
I have to watch though,because chubby Vinnie has an eye on all 3 dishes:laughing:

February 8th, 2008, 10:00 AM
I'll try making hubby start helping with the feedings (sometimes, his memory is somewhat sieve-like). Each of us feeding a small section would probably work really well, as we work mostly opposite shifts right now and can split it up pretty evenly.

I tried giving him a little frozen bit for breakfast today... he looked at me like I was crazy and walked away. :laughing: So much for that idea! Maybe the more used to it he gets the less he'll throw it up. I've been looking at him pretty closely after reading the link on dry food and obesity and have decided he could probably loose a few pounds anyway...

Thanks for the all the suggestions!

Jim Hall
February 8th, 2008, 10:26 AM
did you get a second opinion on the lack of diagnosis for hids throwing up
also try elevateing the dish so he is standing woth his head up a bit he may be getting stomach juices coming up while his head is lowered

February 8th, 2008, 10:43 AM
I agree - if you add some warm water to it and raise the dishes, you might be able to help out with his nausea. :thumbs up

February 8th, 2008, 10:50 AM
One of mine used to do this all the time, it was really gross because she wouldn't just throw up once, she kept at it, usually throwing up about 30 times in an episode (it was only spit after awhile). I had to keep switching food out of desperation to find something she wouldnt' throw up. Eventually I did find a couple brands that worked for her (Felidae and Wellness Core). When I talked to a couple different vets about it, one of them offered me special Science Diet food for sensitive stomachs and the other one said she eats too fast and to feed her in a large tray. I'm not sure, although she did and does still eat fast, it seemed that the type of food was the biggest factor. However, I was feeding her for awhile in a large cookie sheet with her food spread all over it (kibble) and that might have helped some. Eventually I was able to find some wet food to incorporate into her diet, so she gets that for dinner now. It has been probably over a year since she's had her serial puking problem, thankfully! So, although I know you've switched foods a lot, you may still be able to find something that works, especially if you try the isolating proteins as suggested. Or, have you tried adding anything to the food, like probiotics or enzymes? I never did, but seems like those could possibly help.

February 8th, 2008, 11:59 AM
My Lucky :rip: was quite the glutten, was the fastest out of all 6 cat's and would usually have his plus 2 others dinner finished if I didn't sit with him at dinner time, and would then throw up:rolleyes:.

I found petsmarts "authority" brand cat food as the best for vomitting kitties (trust me I have tried most)

Also adding lots of warm water to canned food also helps, easier to digest, plus they can't "drink" as much, as they would eat, besides the extra water is good for them.

February 8th, 2008, 12:34 PM
Haha- I love this forum! I've spent the last year combing the web on "feline vomiting" and most said it's a common problem, learn to live with it. Now I have actual useful advice! It's great!

I'll try elevating the dish and add water to his wet food. I'm slowly adding more wet into his diet (starting today!) and am looking at trying a few different wet foods- I've made up a list of which ones to try that use better ingredients and different protein sources.

I'm pretty sure it's all diet related- the number of things he can't eat just keeps growing- and of course speed related. If I give him something he loves he inhales it and it comes right back up. Small amounts, spread out through the day and mixed with water in an elevated food dish using different protein sources. And to think I just bought a big ol' bag of his dry food- I guess it goes to the humane society.

February 8th, 2008, 12:40 PM
have you thought about going raw?? Shadow and Hunter use to puke ALL THE TIME, it took a while but about a month or so of feeding raw, Hunter doesnt at all... and i mean AT ALL and Shadow only does when i switch to a protein his tummy doesnt like. he almost exclusively eats chicken and chicken products and fish. we have been working on getting ungutted fish to see if that can be another organ source for him but other proteins are just not tolerated. we tried for months with pencil eraser sized bits of ground turkey but he never got use to it in quantities larger than that.


edit- also when going homemade raw they have to really work to eat their food. i dont know if that was the difference. i dont recall if Shadow or Hunter were hoarkers or not but i know now it takes minimum 30 minutes to eat.

February 8th, 2008, 12:53 PM
I've tried a bit to get Gibson on to raw- he just refuses to eat, period. I'm hoping once he's made a transition to the still-weird wet food, I can start transitioning him slowly onto raw from there. He's 6 years old and kibble fed his whole life so it will take some time. Raw is definitely my end goal, though.

I've convinced hubby that when we adopt a dog, we're getting him on a raw diet - so shouldn't be THAT big a leap to convince him that Gibson should be on raw as well. One step at a time, though!

February 8th, 2008, 01:03 PM
yeah we have a cat who will boycott eating if he even so much as sniffs kibbble within a hundred miles of our house. he was a really hard transition but now, several months later... he is eating it. we had to start out cooking it and making a homemade mushy yuck. it helped us that he likes weird veggies and fruits so enticing him with those to get him use to WET food helped tons.

good luck with it! we had just accepted that barfing was going to be a regular part of our day until we realized a few weeks ago that we were hardly ever cleaning it up anymore. one pf those pleasant surprises.


February 8th, 2008, 03:53 PM
Once I get Rocky cleared with the new vet,I too will look in to buying the raw patties.
I know Chico won't eat it,but maybe Rocky and Vinnie will,Vinnie is getting fat:sad:and I don't really know what to do about it,maybe raw would help.
Good luck with Gibbons and his food:fingerscr

February 10th, 2008, 11:29 AM
So it's only been two days, but it's not going great.

I've fed him a little bit more wet food mixed with some water on a huge dish to make him eat it more slowly - first time he threw it up.

Second time, he ate as much as he normally does and ignored the rest of it- this is good, because he didn't throw it up. Except it got all dry and he doesn't eat it at all when it gets dry, so it just ends up in the garbage. Should I leave it down and hope he'll eat it if he gets hungry enough? Is it bad if he eats dried-up wet food?

I've left a small amount of dry food down (trying to make the transition slowly) - should I just pull that up? I'm just worried that if I do that, he'll eat all the wet food at once and it'll come back up again.

February 10th, 2008, 12:54 PM
So it's only been two days, but it's not going great.

I've fed him a little bit more wet food mixed with some water on a huge dish to make him eat it more slowly - first time he threw it up.

Second time, he ate as much as he normally does and ignored the rest of it- this is good, because he didn't throw it up. Except it got all dry and he doesn't eat it at all when it gets dry, so it just ends up in the garbage. Should I leave it down and hope he'll eat it if he gets hungry enough? Is it bad if he eats dried-up wet food?

I've left a small amount of dry food down (trying to make the transition slowly) - should I just pull that up? I'm just worried that if I do that, he'll eat all the wet food at once and it'll come back up again.

I know wet food is better for them, but I do allow mine to eat dry, and I guess because there is always an unlimited supply of that, they never seem to over eat it. If he doesn't eat all the watered down wet, then maybe smaller portions more often.
I find the hairball control formula's really work, sepecially for my long haired guy. But if their skin is irritated or itchy, they tend to groom more, causing more furballs!:rolleyes: So it's trying to find the right food, with a possible fish oil sup. to keep their skin and coats healthy. I find it harder in the winter because it's so dry.

February 10th, 2008, 03:32 PM
Gibbons,although I love them with all my heart,cats can be incredibly frustrating,unlike some dogs who eat anything.
I too leave dry out for them and it seems they are just snacking and through all the trial and errors I have them back on "Chicken-soup-for-petlovers-soul"dry,which they love,they eat canned in the morning and at supper,they also all drink plenty of water.

If the wet food sits and get dried out(not in my house:laughing:)I doubt any of mine would eat it,if it is not eaten within an hour,I would throw it out.

February 11th, 2008, 12:10 PM
I have found that if the cats are not hungry, you won't get them to change. I had a horrible time switching cat foods with Puddles, persistance and patience was key. Had to take all her kibble away and learn to let her go hungry. I did end up putting some "Real Food Toppers" salmon flavour on her food to entice her and it worked. It is a freeze dried product that I pulverized to make a powder.

She used to vomit her cheap food quite often, and now she is on Wellness canned, she rarely vomits except when she has a fur ball. She had a bad day not too long ago and I gave her her old fav food and she vomited after she ate it. Thinking it was her old food.

February 11th, 2008, 02:19 PM
With my serial puker, I do recall its the better quality holistic type foods that she keeps down -though I dont' remember what I used to feed her before that... It wasn't bottom of the barrel food, but not the best either. I suspect she was sensitive to some ingredient(s) in the lower quality food... She puked up both wet and dry food, and one time I gave her a piece of raw beef, which was NOT tolerated well, though she loved it going down. For wet food, she does well on the Wellness canned varieties and also likes most flavors of Eagle Pack Holistic Select. The wet food never sits around in my house, as my dog would eat it, though I have read in these forums, some people just add some warm water to the dried up food and it is fine for a few hours?

Oh, one thing I just remembered, the shape of the food seemed to matter, too, with my puker. Some kibble is small and round, and she would just swallow it whole, and often puke it back up whole too, soon after. If it was shaped like an X or something, where she would have to chew it, she normally would do fine on the food. If you stick to the wet food, seems like this would be best, though sounds like yours is sometimes puking that up too.

February 11th, 2008, 02:45 PM
There is nothing wrong with your cat eating the dried up wet food - you can leave wet food out for hours (i.e. when it get crusty) without any problems (although several days is kind of pushing it :)).

If he is eating the wet, I would take away the dry completely - with his vomitty background, it could very well be that the combo of the two is making him sick. :shrug:

I agree that the quality of the food makes a big difference - what wet food are you feeding him now? It's probably not going to change overnight, but it sounds like he's making some progress, even if it's only with babysteps.. :thumbs up

February 11th, 2008, 10:53 PM
Yeah, I'm looking into upgrading the food we're using. We've been using mid-line stuff (again- horrid with names and I'm too lazy to trek to the kitchen to see what we're feeding him :laughing: - the can is pink though!) I had hoped he would not throw this stuff up, though, because I sent hubby out to get 2-3 cans of the food, and he came home with the bulk pack of 12 cans. Sigh.

He threw it up again today, so.. we'll have to get better stuff, I suppose. I guess it's possible its the kibble/ wet combo. I've been leaving out less dry food - when it's low, he eats less of it so there will always be food in the dish until I refill it. That way, he can keep coming back to snack on it. Smarty pants cat is what he is.

We're back to trial and error, either way. Less dry food with more and better wet food. I'll keep you posted, and thanks for the tips!

February 12th, 2008, 07:12 AM
Gibbons,my cats snack on dry,but I've found,if anyone vomits it's usually dry food coming up and I can still see the chunks.
I tried mine on Wellness kibbles and that was a disaster,they did not even chew the very small round kibbles and it all came back up.
I find the star-shaped kibbles works the best with my cats,but they do not eat much dry food.
After trying many different canned foods,I now have success with Pet Values own"Life Stages"Performatrin 3oz cans(pate-type)it's ingredients are acceptable.
Sorry your husband bought a case of food,but if Gibbons does not do well on it,you can return it for a full refund.

February 12th, 2008, 05:00 PM
I know how frustrated you must be (had a serial puker years back), but when you find the right combination you're going to feel so relieved! :thumbs up

February 13th, 2008, 01:17 PM
So I got a better food (wellness, I think?) and I smeared it out flat across the plate (just mushed it down like a mashed banana) and it takes him forever to eat it cuz he has to lick it off the plate and can't just gobble the pieces whole. First time with no puking since I started increasing the amounts of food! Yey!

February 13th, 2008, 01:40 PM
That's fantastic!! I hope it stays that way. :fingerscr (Good idea, smearing the food around :laughing:)

February 13th, 2008, 03:28 PM
Gibbons,that's great,hopefully he has thrown up yet:pray:
Great idea for making him eat slower:thumbs up

February 13th, 2008, 03:35 PM
Good job! Hopefully this cures it! Yay Gibson! :thumbs up

February 15th, 2008, 04:44 PM
Slightly :offtopic: but..

Gibbons, I actually used your technique of smooshing up the food - My kitten Alley eats super fast (even when she had her e-collar on after her spay! :eek:) and then races over to eat poor Jake's food before he's finished.

We tried feeding him first, getting her to lick the spoon - slowly getting her dish and putting in the food, and Jake would still barely beat her.

Anyway, I thought about what you said and I figured I would give it a shot - It worked! :thumbs up
By spreading the food against the side of both of their bowls I can actually have them eat side by side and no one steals because it takes them so long to eat it!

So thanks! :D :pawprint:

February 15th, 2008, 04:59 PM
Glad to have helped :)

Gibson hasn't thrown up now in a couple of days and generally eats all of the food instead of leaving little bits to get all crusty and dry - I am thrilled to pieces! Can't tell if it's the new food or the mushing it on the plate, but I'm not about to experiment now that we aren't cleaning up after him every day.

February 15th, 2008, 05:04 PM
Great to hear - don't mess with a winning combination! :laughing: :thumbs up

February 15th, 2008, 06:12 PM
that is good news.. glad you found a food/method that works and no more le heave :)

February 19th, 2008, 11:03 PM
So we're up to day 6 with the mostly wet food (still a small-handful of dry food a day, which I think the dogs are mostly scarfing down- his food dish is baby-gated off by the door, but they get a few mouthfuls in before I get the baby gate back up again) but he hasn't thrown up at all in six days, which is awesome.

ALSO! He's losing a little bit of weight, which is good (someone linked a webpage with the benefits of wet food, and he's classed as "overweight") and his dander has almost entirely disappeared. He also seems to have more energy and his litter box is less revolting-smelling. Also- and this is odd- but I've mentioned his peeing in the toilet thing, and the peeing in the bathtub happens sometimes too, but his pee was always that dark dark orange. But now, it's lemon yellow and will hopefully get better as I cut back his dry food. I know that with people dark yellow pee = drink more water, so he's obviously doing better with less dry food. Over all- I'm thrilled! So glad I went through the change, I'd never go back.

Thanks for everyone's help and input, he's doing great!

February 20th, 2008, 06:30 AM
Gibbons,that must make you feel sooo good.
I think most of us know the feeling of waiting to see if our cats/dogs food is going to stay down and the frustration if it does not.
Good going Gibson:cat:

February 20th, 2008, 07:06 AM
Glad to hear Gibbons is doing so well on the canned food.:thumbs up

February 20th, 2008, 07:12 PM
WOO HOO for Gibson....he's going to be so much healthier now. :thumbs up

February 20th, 2008, 07:33 PM
That is so awesome, glad your kitty is doing well on the wet food!! :thumbs up

February 28th, 2008, 10:00 AM
So I'm honestly totally flabbergasted by the change in Gibson since we switched him to wet food.

He's losing a bit of weight - not much, really, he just looks a bit "sleeker." He plays like a kitten again- before he used to chase around after his toy on a string thing for 2-3 minutes and then get tired and rest; now he can go for a good 10 minutes solid without getting winded.

At first when we switched him, we noticed he was shedding more than usual, and he had really bad dandruff. The dandruff cleared up by itself, and the hair he was losing wasn't bad either- he just seemed to be getting rid of the bad hair or something, because now his coat is beautiful and glossy.

Now, the only time he throws up is when he eats the dog kibble or one of my room mates decide he looks hungry and gives him dry food <grumbles>

Now, imagine when I finally get him onto raw! He'll be like a whole new cat :cool:

February 28th, 2008, 03:58 PM
Gibbons that's great,cats wee just not meant to eat all the garbage that goes in to most kibbles.
Mine still eat kibbles,but their main foodsource is canned.

February 29th, 2008, 09:02 AM
That is wonderful, gibbons, Puddles changed so much too when I changed her food to Wellness, she wasn't overweight, but was having some health issues.

Sweet Pea was a stray I fostered, and her fur was so unhealthy when I first got her, she has super soft fur now.

Jasper scratched at his eyes and ears when he was eating cheap kibble, now he doesn't have any allergy issues.

My daughters cats lost weight on their own when they changed from cheap food to Wellness, grain free canned too.

oody and kitten
May 2nd, 2008, 03:18 PM
Actually, wet food IS better. Much much better. There is truly no good reason to feed any dry whatsoever to a cat. It's full of inappropriate ingredients, it has an inappropriate moisture level at 10% or less (cat's need 60-80% moisture - with their food), and it's massively overprocessed. It would be the equivalent of the feeding your kids nothing but breakfast cereal every day of their lives.

If you want more specifics, read this:

Yes, I agree too! When I used to feed my cats mostly dry, they'd be buy the water bowl all day drinking! My one cat "Kitten" who is an adult male, formed crystals. Vet says the dry dehydrates him. I do give a tiny bit of "Blue Spa Select" as a treat. It's a bit pricey and Petsmart sells it, but all the ingredients are natural. I really like this brand and so do the cats!

And yes, both my 2 boys cats puke. We feed them smaller, more frequent portions. I notice they puke more when they're feeling rush or are very hungry. So we stick them in a quiet room and let them eat away. They still puke, but a lot less!