Why does my Cat vomit fur or food? One of the common causes is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).Diet and Nutrition are of increasing interest to cat owners (it has always totally
fascinated cats!), and as we all move further from a “natural state”, new problems
appear. The following is a small segment on a huge topic.
There is no getting away from the fact that the perfect diet for
cats is mice. Their predatory powers was what encouraged the
Egyptians to accommodate them in their houses and grain silos
thousands of years ago, and even today, about one-eighth of
Australia’s grain crops goes into rodents rather than the international
markets! However, most modern town cats lead a rather
more regal existence, and hunting is a recreation rather than a
raison d’être, so humans must recreate a diet which fulfils all of
a cat’s dietary requirements.
First came the tinned foods, and cats trained their owners as
to which were worthwhile purchasing (by refusing to consume
lesser quality offerings). Feline nutritional needs are much more
highly refined than dogs or humans, particularly in regard to
protein quality and quantity – it is not metabolically worthwhile
for a cat to eat a food of less than 20 percent protein (of “dry
matter” – if you look at tinned food, it is 80 percent water, so
the protein quoted is really quite high in the better quality
products). The move to dried foods has resulted in production
of high proteins levels to reflect this requirement also.
Now comes the interesting part. In order to entertain owners
and cats, colourings, flavourings and preservatives have been
added to most tinned and dried foods, particularly the cheaper
“supermarket” products. In fact, often the “flavour” is only
sprayed on the outside of the biscuit, to minimise the use of the
expensive parts of the formula.
Cats can cope with a lot of things, but it seems that they draw
the line at “additives”. Vets are seeing an increasing number of
cats who vomit up their food(and some of the colourings in the
dried food actually stains the carpet (so what is it doing to the
cats’ intestines?), and who only need to be converted to a high
quality, (preferably preservative free) dried food to improve.
Eliminating tinned food from the diet, and feeding ‘real human
grade’ roo, chicken, turkey or pork (not beef or tuna) instead
is part of the strategy. There is a product from New Zealand
called Ziwipeak – and as you’d expect, the tinned and dried
varieties are both excellent for cats, and come in three flavours
even! The dried ‘jerky’ is a bit of a texture shock for most adult
cats and they are reluctant to eat it. However, starting your
young cat out on it is an excellent choice.
Back to IBD: the cats often start out by vomiting more furballs
than usual, then start vomiting food. Some then progress to
the near-cancerous stage of IBD, and some of those go on to
develop cancerous (usually lymphoma) lesions in the bowel.
Pretty serious stuff. Food trials are the main diagnostic tool, and usually starts with human grade ‘roo meat and Nutro kitten
(chicken) – made in Australia with fewer preservatives. However,
most cats with IBD will end up on the specialist food products –
Hills Prescription Z/D or Royal Canin Hypoallergenic diet. They
are readily accepted by most cats (and those with IBD tend
to be fussy because of the nausea created by the condition).
Nutrience and Hills Science diet (particularly sensitive stomach
variety) are all high quality diets, with very small amounts of preservative,
so are fine except for the really sensitive cat (who has
usually been sensitised by eating the highly coloured varieties
of food rather than starting and staying on a premium diet).
The hallmarks of IBD are frequent vomiting (weekly or more)
with weight loss. There are other conditions which cause similar
symptoms, so any loss of weight or increased frequency of vomiting
(more than once every week or two) needs to be checked
out thoroughly. Cats can vomit on command – if they feel nauseous
within thee hours of eating something, they can empty
their stomach, and will often reject that food next time as being
the source of the nausea. This ‘food aversion’ is one of the
problems that cause the chronically nauseous cat to become
‘finicky’ – they blame the food when most likely the problem is
an underlying illness such as kidney problems or, in fact, IBD.
So, cats are hypercarnivores and their digestive system is quite
streamlined. They cannot taste sugar, but they can taste water!
The ideal diet is a mouse, but even rabbit alone, in confined
cats, was not enough. //www.felineinstincts.com/order-
Now/Taurinedeficiencyinrabbit.html although now there is
evidence that rabbit itself is deficient in taurine, so was maybe
just a poor choice for the research. We should all be eating
Omega-3’s – found in fish oil and some seeds. There are new
diets for joint diseases (VERY high in Omega-3) as well as the
hypoallergenic and diets for ‘kidney cats. Indeed, as cats have
known all along – you are (as healthy as ) what you eat! Make
mine a mouse!
Foods to avoid: any tinned (except Ziwipeak) or sachet / pouch
foods, supermarket Pet Mince (especially), any variety of beef or
milk (including Cat Milk), some fish especially tuna. 70 percent
of cats are fine eating even the dried food, but 30 percent are
not and when they vomit on the carpet, they come to see Dr
OK to eat: turkey, kangaroo (human grade), chicken (usually, but
not minced), pork, lamb (usually).