What is Scarf and Barf... If You are Lucky Enough Not to Know.

 

Hello Catvocates!  I want to tell you a little bit about Bill and Marigold, who came in for a visit today. Bill is a terrific guy who never planned on having a cat!  You see, Marigold found Bill.  

Marigold started by showing up on Bill’s back porch and looking adorable.  You guys know how this goes, right?  He started innocently enough, by just putting out food for her.  Before you knew it she was curled up in his lap in front of the fire.  Marigold is now a permanent resident and is happily acclimating to the indoor only life.

Bill and Marigold have been together for about 3 weeks.  They were back in today for the last of Marigold’s booster vaccines.  I asked all the usual questions.  “Any sneezing, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting…”  

“Yes,”  Bill replied.  “She goes to her dry food, gobbles it down, and then barfs it up!  Is she ok Doc?”

Here we have it Catvocates, another case of Scarf and Barf.  Of course I checked Marigold out for other causes of vomiting.  Luckily, Marigold is not sick.  She does, however, have the same problem as many, many of her other feline friends.

You see, a cat’s stomach is not much bigger than a ping-pong ball.  Nature made it that way on purpose.  In nature, cats hunt for small prey between 9-20 times a day (Not every attempt is successful)!  They hunt, catch, play with their prey, eat, groom and sleep and they do this over and over all day and all night.  They usually catch small rodents, insects and birds.  The edible portions of these prey are rarely more than 1-2 tablespoons.  

When a cat sidles up to the heaping bowl of dry food, that we like to call the All Day Buffet, they do not limit themselves to to natural constraints of their stomach volume.  When they overdo it, mother nature takes over, and they vomit the undigested food.

If your cat suffers from Scarf and Barf, look to nature for the answers.  Portion the daily ration into 1-2 tablespoons and feed this small amount in 5 or so feedings over the course of the day and night.  It would be even better if you could simulate the hunt.  Have your cat exercise and then follow the exercise session with a small portion of food.

When we feed our cats the way nature intended, Scarf and Barf is rarely an issue.  

With these adjustments in how Marigold is fed, she is going to be just fine and Bill will not be stepping in cat vomit any time soon.



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