Dr. Dan Christian specializes in small animal medicine, with special interests in behavior and nutrition. He has been instrumental in establishing animal behavior residencies for veterinarians at leading veterinary schools and developing innovative programs with veterinary organizations in the United States. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, and the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association. During his professional career, Dr. Christian earned the American Association of Feline Practitioners Award. He has also appeared as a guest on television and radio pet health programs
nationwide, and to has authored numerous articles for pet health magazines.
Q: My cat seems to be fine, except she throws up her food quite often. No hairballs, just food. I feed her the same dry food she has been eating all her life; she is seven years old.
A: It is important to determine if she is vomiting or regurgitating; these usually have different causes. When cats regurgitate, the action is often effortless and without warning. They will most likely regurgitate semiformed, undigested food-often right after eating. Vomiting, on the other hand, is an active process that is usually preceded by excessive salivation, swallowing, retching and nausea. The vomit usually looks like digested food, and it may contain bile, blood and mucous. It may occur right after or within hours after eating, and the cat usually looks sick.
Based on your question, it sounds like your cat is regurgitating her food. There are physical reasons that may lead to regurgitation. These include problems with the digestive tract and hormonal imbalances. Her regurgitation could also be the result of eating too fast or gorging herself. She may be eating too fast because she fears that her food is going to be taken away. This is easily corrected by putting her bowl in a quiet area, away from other animals and humans. She may also be gorging herself to get the food energy she needs to stay healthy. In this case, feeding small meals throughout the day may reduce her hunger while maintaining her proper weight. In any case, since it is happening often, I recommend a visit to her veterinarian for a complete physical examination.