Friday, June 6, 2014

Does your cat get sick because they eat too fast? Try this simple trick to curb the problem

Diet and eating habits are an important part of the care detail that I need to be clear on while caring for any pet, but cats sometimes have very special needs that need monitoring for various reasons.

Most of the issues surround finicky eaters, cats that are reluctant to eat, others that eat everything in sight, a percentage of kitties who vomit their food (usually associated with consuming a dry food that their upsets their tummy, or eating too fast because they tend to be excited) and finally felines that yes, much like dogs, habitually wolf down their food.

One charge of mine has a particular penchant for inhaling his food, which usually results in everything being vomited up he has eaten not long after. Not fun, nor good for him, certainly.

I've talked before about dogs eating too fast, possible negative outcomes from doing it and ways to get them to slow down a bit to avoid problems. The best way I've seen that allows dogs the opportunity to slow down is an old standby — a food dispensing toy, like a Kong — and provides more stimulation for the mind as well. There are similar products and ideas for cats, and they work well, as I flesh out in a previously posted piece on feline foraging toys. (Click here for more.)

The truth is, some pets really don't like using things like this, but luckily, there was an idea that I stumbled upon when brainstorming a way to get the feline charge, Dhani, whom I mentioned earlier to take his time during meals.

Though Dhani's the only pet in the household, he gobbles up food like he needs to compete with housemates — a scenario that can spur on eating too fast. (In this instance, feeding pets in different rooms can help significantly.) My theory that serving up his food in smaller bowls might be the key proved to be correct, but taking it a step further proved to be a better solution: I used an inexpensive mini-muffin tin.

Portioning out Dhani's meal in smaller increments amongst the individual depressions in the muffin tin has helped him enjoy his mealtime, just more slowly – and no more vomiting up wolfed-down food.

Lorrie Shaw is a freelance writer -- most recently as a contributor on MLive -- and owner of Professional Pet Sitting. Shoot her an email, contact her at 734-904-7279 or follow her adventures on Twitter.

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