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n2sporthorses 12-20-2013 11:26 AM

How do I keep my cat from gulping his food?
Does anyone have any ideas on how to keep a cat from inhaling his food too fast? Mine is about 8 1/2 years old by now and has recently started a thing about gulping his food so fast that it comes right back up--usually on my carpet. Don't get me wrong, I love him to death, but it was put in new when I bought the place less than a year ago.

He's perfectly healthy and is well enough fed, just gets so overexcited about his food that he tries to eat too much at a time.

I've tried putting stones into his feed dish to make it harder to just gulp. But I don't want to chance the stones maybe breaking his teeth.

Anyone have any ideas that may help?

Speed Racer 12-20-2013 11:37 AM

Cats usually do better with food in front of them at all times, instead of only feeding them once or twice during the day.

Mine have dry in front of them 24/7, and get canned at night. They enjoy the canned, but aren't without food at any time so don't get overly excited.

Incitatus32 12-20-2013 11:42 AM

Typically when I've had cats that do this it's because another cat was hogging the food or they had come in as strays and were so used to gulping the food down for survival.

Does he have free choice food? (Like it's out for him all day)
I do this with my cats (I won't state the number because it's too embarrassing....) but when I have Gulpers having the food available 24/7 makes them eventually stop and learn that it's just another meal.

He might be trying to cough up a hairball. If he is coughing up something adding some grass to his diet can help him cough it up and go back to eating normally. I have a couple of cats who will gulp their food down to help get the hairball out of their system.

If you're worried about the rock breaking his teeth you can always get something rubber to put in his food to do the same thing. Make sure it's big enough so he can't swallow though, and that way if his teeth hit it they'll just sink in or just remind him to slow down. My guess however is that if this is recent he's trying to cough up a hairball.

Good luck! :)

n2sporthorses 12-20-2013 11:52 AM

Thanks, Incitatus! My boy grew up eating free choice. But when he grew to about as big as he was going to eating free choice, he started getting awfully chubby. Which was when I went to measuring his feed. I don't want him too thin, but I certainly don't want him too fat, either.

I'll try grass again. But the last time I tried that, I gave him about one or two blades of grass from outside. He almost instantly lost that.

By the way, he's not afraid of another cat getting his--he's an only.

The little squirt is going to have me tearing my hair out!! But he's a love.

Shoebox 12-20-2013 12:46 PM

Not all animals can handle food out 24/7 for them. Many of them will over eat and get fat, which is unhealthy and not what you want at all. A lot of cats need their feeding monitored (mine is one of them) or they will balloon up big time.

OP, have you tried a slow feeder dish? It's a bowl with the same concept as having stones in a horse's feed dish so they don't gulp feed. Here's a few examples:

Cat bowls: Dishes: Slow-Feed Bowl for Cats

Chevaux 12-20-2013 12:58 PM

I feed the same way Speedracer feeds. I still get the occasional throw up but at least I don't have carpet to contend with:D

Have you had the vet discussion about this? I wonder if he is developing a sensitivity to something in the current feed? Also, if he's not already on it, perhaps he should have a reducing diet food?

Sharpie 12-20-2013 01:15 PM

I cannot leave food out for my cats, they both turn into blimps. And just like horses, obesity comes with some severe, preventable, health issues. Do you have other pets? If not, a feeding ball or toy, like this: can help both slow him down and increase his exercise. Another option would be an automatic feeder set to feed him tiny amounts 6 or 8 times a day (which is closer to feral cats' feeding schedules than one or two larger meals). Another thing to consider is changing the TYPE of food you're giving- cats can develop sensitive stomachs as they age and a food that used to work may be just enough to upset it now when he gulps it all down too quickly.

horseNpony 12-20-2013 04:37 PM

Same here, if i leave food out my cats will eat it all at once, i have to wrap and hide all my food cause they will climb on the counters and eat everything in their way. I personally dont feed them dry food as one of my cats cant have it. Other have suggests food dispensers, try one and see how it goes. You could always feed your cats small portions rather than all at once, like split his meal into portions and give him a bit at a time.
Also, i find grass makes my cats throw up a lot, i cant feed them a few blades without one of them throwing it up. Luckily i have wooden floors since my girl gets hairballs a lot :/
If all else fails, consult a vet, they may be able to recommend something or some method to stop your cat eating so fast.

n2sporthorses 12-21-2013 11:52 AM

I didn't realize they made slow feeder dishes or feeding balls, but I'll check into it. His weight is great right now, and I want to keep it that way.

He has an automatic feeder--unfortunately, it's of almost no use. He opens it almost faster than it opens itself! The little stinker's too smart for his own good!!

deserthorsewoman 12-21-2013 12:06 PM

in over for decades with cats I never had to restrict food, always had free choice available, stray, feral, born in my house. I did notice some foods obviously are so tasty, they get eaten faster. Which can result in presents on the carpet. I also noticed these foods are usually not the healthiest ones. I've switched to a no grain diet, which mine like, but not overeat on. I also have one cat who insists on having grass available all the time, the other, who is long haired, won't touch grass, so I do deal with hair balls from her. The one who eats grass all the time, NEVER brings up hair balls.

I would try one of the "better" foods, maybe a slim version, and feed several tiny little meals a day, if that works, I'd try free choice. At least, with the small meals, the presents are not as big. I also wouldn't rule out the hair ball, so either offer grass, or one of the countless hairball remedies.

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