bulimic cat?

by Karen
(Hamilton, ON Canada)

I have a 6 year old female ragdoll (only about 6 pounds or so) who was adopted through the SPCA. She had been on the street for some time, they thought and is very anxious about her food. When I feed her she eats so fast, runs to eat the other cats food then often she will throw up everything that she just ate. I feed her morning and at supper along with the other cat (13 yr old male - big boy) often in separate rooms and she seems to behave as though this is her last and only meal. Is there anything I can do to prevent her from throwing up as often? I don't think this is good for her, her teeth not to mention that then she is hungry all over again. Thanks for your help.


Answer by Kate
Hi yes this is a common problem with anxious cats and often rescue cats suffer from it. in fact my own cat was like this for the first few months until we altered her eating pattern. we gave her dry food only (good for her teeth and provides all the nutrition required) along with fresh water, but we would only give her small amounts of food but more often throughout the day. this prevented her from 1 eating too quickly dry food needs a little more chewing and 2. she could not eat so much that it made her sick.

we did this for several months until she became generally more relaxed in her new surroundings and began to feel at home. then we slowly increased the amount of food at a time and reduced the frequency of meals. She soon settled down into a normal routine and the vomiting after eating stopped and never returned.

best wishes Kate

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Thyroid issue in cats
by: Louise

I just wanted to add my own experience with my Sophie kitty. She's 13 years old and was a rescue when she was a kitten, born in a horse stable. She has a thyroid condition and is on meds that she will have to take for the rest of her life. She has always been odd about eating things....akin to having PICA so I always made sure she had greens and she didn't start having the symptoms of the thyroid problem until about 2 years ago. Constantly cried for food, yet lost weight, ate her food like a dog (I have to feed her in portions or she will throw up). She has always had a sensitive tummy so I give her probiotics as I have a sensitive stomach myself and know how uncomfortable it feels. She needs to eat every 2 hours, wakes me up but if she doesn't have food, acid builds up in her stomach and she throws up foam. She becomes lethargic and so, I'm taking care of her round the clock. The thyroid is a very important gland and she's doing somewhat better but has constant thirst and drinks a lot of water. This is another symptom of thyroid problems. I just took her to the vet and she is now on liquid thyroid med as she wouldn't eat if I used pills. I would pulverize them....but...cats have good noses so I would lose the food and the pill. Like humans, our beloved animal family also gets older and do develop issues...but they are my family for the duration of their lives. As long as they are comfortable and not suffering...I'll do the work. I don't believe in allowing a pet to suffer just because the human can't bear to part with them. I've seen extreme cases. If you love them, you let them go over that Rainbow Bridge. Peace to all!

Bulimic Cat
by: Mary In NC USA

Hello Karen
I wanted to add a important note to what Kate advised you about your cat.
Another VERY common symptom of food aggression and acting as tho it is going to be their last meal is the possibility of a THYROID imbalance in your cat.
At 6 years old, she is NOT too young to develope a Thyroid problem.
In fact, Thyroid problems are common in alot of cats and only a bloodwork screen can determine if this is the problem.

I dont know if you have had her in to see the Vet about this agression to food but I would suggest you call your Vet and ask if they think a Thyroid Bloodwork Panel is advised.
If by any chance she would be positive for a Thyroid problem, it is NOT a serious problem so dont panic.
The cat of course would have to be on meds for life (usually a small pill) and they would have to be re-tested every couple years to make sure the doseage was correct but it isnt a big deal.

Note: If it is Thyroid, it is IMPERATIVE that your cat STAY on her meds always or she could suffer organ failure if not on meds.
You mentioned your cat weighs about 6 pounds.
Has she always been small or have you noticed a weight loss lately?
If so, that is another sign of possible Thyroid issues.

I am not a vet but I am a Vet TECH student and I just completed some training on this subject.
I Also have a cat "Snickers" who weighed normally about 9 pounds (a good weight for a female cat). But a couple years ago I noticed she was VERY food aggressive and would about take my hand off when she saw me coming with food and after she would eat, she would eat so fast that she threw up most of it and then was starving AGAIN!
She lost about 3 pounds quickly and I took her to the vet thinking the worst and we found after doing bloodwork that she had Thyroid disease.
She has been on her pills for 2 years and doing GREAT.
I hope this info helps alittle and I wish you and your kitty the best.

Mary in NC

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