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The Scarf and Barf Syndrome & Other Reasons Why Cats Puke!

The Scarf and Barf Syndrome & Other Reasons Why Cats Puke!

Posted by Andrea on 23rd Feb 2021

Cat owners have all experienced episodes of cat vomiting. It’s just a cat thing! But, there are multiple causes along with various options to try to control the frequency of such occurrences. First, we must root out the causes to determine if your cat’s vomiting is normal or the result of health issues which should be addressed by your veterinarian.

Does Kitty throw up once or twice a month? That is not abnormal for cats. If the vomiting is more frequent, then we are looking at possible health concerns. If the cat is losing weight, lethargic, and shows blood in the vomit, these are all reasons to visit the vet.

First, let’s look at what makes a normal feline throw up from time to time. Next, let’s talk about options to deal with the Scarf & Barf syndrome, which is when Kitty eats too much, then immediately expels her undigested meal.

Hairballs: Cats do a lot of grooming. In this process, the hair passes through their digestive tracts. But sometimes, the hair becomes stuck in the stomach and is expelled as hairball. This is normal and the best reason to brush your cat regularly.

Grass & Other Things: Whether the culprit is grass, plants, or other small non-food items, vomiting up undigestible items is important. By getting these things out of their system, there can be no worrisome problems with their digestive tracts.

Food Allergies: Believe it or not, food allergies are very common in cats. Cats can be allergic either to the protein or the carbohydrate content of their food. Your vet may need to help you play detective to figure out what needs to be eliminated from their diet.

Scarf & Barf: As mentioned, this is a result of overeating. This is not abnormal behavior. When cats lived in the wild, they were opportunistic eaters, consuming as much as they could, when they could. This has translated over the centuries, becoming especially noticeable in multi-pet households where there is often competition to get to the food.

Overeating can lead to obesity, liver disease, diabetes, and other health concerns. Certain breeds are more likely to overeat. Certain medications will also produce increased appetites, so make sure the cat’s blood is tested for medical causes. If you notice constant begging along with the overeating, the cause could be behavioral. You may want to consult a feline behaviorist, but first, try the options listed below.

Hand-in-hand with eating too much is eating too quickly. Again, competition with other pets in the house can be the cause. This condition presents its own unique set of problems. When cats devour their food without taking the time to chew or digest, they can choke. They can also develop gastritis, an inflammation of the lining of the stomach.

  • 1.Separate, small meals. Instead of feeding once or twice daily, try smaller amounts more frequently. Free feeding is simply not working for these bingers.
  • 2.Obstacles that block the way. If Kitty has to eat around a golf ball, or other obstacle, it will take her that much longer. Or, look for those new bowls that have raised areas designed particularly to prevent eating everything at once.
  • 3.Socially distanced food. Place the kibble or canned food on a plate where it can be disbursed across a large area. This way, she can only eat a mouthful at a time.
  • 4.Work for Your Supper. Food dispensing toys make Kitty do the work to get to her food. Some toys drop the food, one kibble at a time, into food dishes in the form of mazes where she must then search for the food. Just make sure this stays fun, and doesn’t become too much work. You don’t want her to become frustrated and shy away from her food, which is certainly not the point.

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