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C2008-07

Dear Christopher Cat

We just adopted Smokey, a ravenous 2-year-old cat. When she finishes the food in her bowl, she tries to get into the food bag. She eats beyond her fill and then gives it up on the rug. Isn’t this odd behavior for a cat?

Christopher Responds

Not really. Many cats overindulge, and then, because their stomachs are stretched beyond capacity, they throw up very soon after eating.

Because it was hastily eaten, the vomited food is usually unchewed or barely chewed.

I suspect that before Smokey came to you, she had to worry about where she’d find her next meal. I hope she soon realizes you’ll provide all she needs.

Until she can be trusted to nibble rather than gorge, feed her small amounts of food frequently.

Scatter many tiny dishes of food throughout the house, and refill them morning and night.

Store Smokey’s food bag in a cabinet she can’t open, and put your own leftovers away immediately.

You also can experiment with foods to identify one Smokey likes but doesn’t love.

If you change food, however, be sure to make a gradual transition over a week or two. Abrupt diet changes can cause vomiting and diarrhea.To ensure that no underlying problems contribute to Smokey’s vomiting, have your veterinarian examine her. Take along a fecal sample for parasite testing, and ask for a blood test to check for the feline leukemia and immunodeficiency viruses.

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