Why does my cat barf?


Step, step… squish!  Oh, ick!

Most cat owners have had the unpleasant experience of unexpectedly walking into a pile of cat vomit. While it is very common for cats to vomit, it is never normal. Vomit may signal that your cat is sick, or it may be a sign that all is not well in his or her environment.

First, take your cat to see your veterinarian. A thorough physical exam can help determine if your cat needs medical care. But if your veterinarian determines that your cat is healthy, you cat may be a victim of Scarf and Barf!

Scarf and barf is when your cat eats too much too fast and, as a result, vomits undigested food. Then, your cat wants to eat again, because he or she still feels hungry!

To truly understand scarf and barf, we need to look at the natural state of the cat. In their natural state, cats have a feeding style that is very different from the way that we feed them in our homes.

In the wild, cats hunt, catch prey, eat, groom, and then sleep somewhere between 9 and 20 times a day. They commonly catch mice, crickets, and birds. A cat’s unfilled stomach is about the size of a ping pong ball and is made to accept multiple meals a day. So the natural daily cycle of a cat is one of exercise, followed by a small meal and then rest over and over throughout the day and night.

The drive to eat is very strong (in this way, I am very much like a cat!) When our cats find a big bowl of food waiting for them, they will gorge. You find that pile of puke when their stomachs cannot tolerate so much food at once, and they vomit. Voila!  Scarf and barf.

There you have it. And sometimes you have it on the bottom of your foot.

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