Grisly furballs! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
stu
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Grisly furballs!

Hi,

I know that cats vomiting is a perfectly natural act, but is there any way you can train them to do this outside?

They all love the odd nibble on grass, but our (white!) lounge carpet has seen too much action recently!

"You gonna party like it's your Coco, gonna sip Bacardi like it's your Coco"
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 08:59 AM
 
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personally I don't think you can train them but I am not expert

so I will let someone else with more experience than me answer your question
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 09:30 AM
 
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Vomiting may be a perfectly natural act, but frequent vomiting as in "but our (white!) lounge carpet has seen too much action recently!" is NOT normal.
Vomiting can be a sign of simple food sensitivity, which can be successfully treated with a change of diet, or more serious problems such as IBD, etc.

Since in addition to food allergy grass eating is one of the most common causes of gastritis, you should put a stop to the grass eating immediately. Then look at the diet and see what kind of changes you need to make to improve the kitties' digestion. Hopefully that's all you will have to do and medical treatment won't be necessary.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 09:33 AM Thread Starter
stu
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It would be impossible to stop our girls from eating grass, seeing as they have access to our back garden, and we don't intend laying a patio!

And we probably see a furball once a fortnight, and we have 3 cats, so you could say on average, they each do one every 6 weeks.

They are all 15yrs old, and all eat Iams Senior (dry) food, plus the odd bit of wet (senior) food, too.

"You gonna party like it's your Coco, gonna sip Bacardi like it's your Coco"
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 09:47 AM
 
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Here is the source of your problem:
They are all 15yrs old, and all eat Iams Senior (dry) food, plus the odd bit of wet (senior) food, too.

Put them on high-quality canned, adult maintenance formula food and they will stop having digestive problems.
Yes, hairballs and grass eating are signs of digestive problems.
Senior formula dry foods and other gimmicky concoctions are the worst things people can feed.
Also, if you are not doing it, start grooming the kitties every day. That will also help quite a bit.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 09:51 AM Thread Starter
stu
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Hairballs are signs of digestive problems?

I thought all cats threw up hairballs because of all the fur they inevitably swallow as they're grooming themselves?

And I didn't realise Iams was a "gimmicky concoction". The price I pay for it wouldn't suggest so!
I originally thought that wet food was better for cats, but my previous boss breeds Bengals, and insists that dry is better, (less water content, and you have a much better idea of what exactly is going into it).

I don't know one way or the other - I'm just going by what people have told me.
I'm not aware of any super-premium wet food that is easily available in the UK.

But we do groom all three very frequently - I'm amazed at how much fur we collect - enough for a few jumpers a year!

"You gonna party like it's your Coco, gonna sip Bacardi like it's your Coco"
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 10:16 AM
 
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Unfortunately, yes. Bringing up hair can be a sign that the stomach is irritated. Some cats with serious digestive problems get so bad that they bring up hair every day, sometimes even more than once a day.
When the inflammation is properly treated, vomiting and bringing up hair stops and you don't see a hairball for months or even years, even though the cat diligently grooms itself.

Regarding canned food, I just posted this information for another poster (Slick) earlier today:

https://www.catforum.com/viewtopic.php?p ... 20d#205559

The shedding you mention is also a sign that the diet is not providing the necessary nutrients your cats need. In this problem inadequate protein, fatty acids, and vitamins A, E, and B complex are involved.
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 03:20 PM
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I'll stick my nose in here and relate the saga of Assumpta, the hairball queen.

When she arrived here, she was terribly matted and had some nasty hairballs (and a lot of fear and aggression about throwing up because someone had apparently punished her harshly for it in the past). They got better for a time on a high-fat dry food, but she also got quite fat (mostly from being free-fed). So she got switched to measured meals of dry prescription R/D (a diet food, extremely low-fat) and she did lose weight, but developed terrible dandruff, shedding and back to lots of hairball problems (perhaps once/twice a month, depending on the season). When I put her on a high quality all canned diet, hairballs went down to one every 4 months or so (if that), and always during seasonal coat blows (early spring shed, for example...we run two woodstoves, which tends to cause somewhat greater shed because she likes to lie right in front of it). Corn seems to be a big sensitivity for her, and when I removed it from her diet, her skin and coat problems pretty much went away.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago, and her initial signs of pancreatitis...lethargy and vomiting in a very un-hairball-like manner (perhaps once every couple of weeks); she was placed on a temporary bland prescription diet of canned i/d (which contains corn ), and within a couple of weeks, she had bad dandruff, shedding, and a hairball. Over the last couple of weeks, I've switched her over to canned Innova Light, and the skin/coat problems are gone again. Her hairballs have definitely been linked to shedding and coat problems.

Regarding senior foods, I tend to agree that in many cases, they are gimmicks unless you have a valid medical reason for feeding a special-needs diet. My cat has pancreatitis, and seems to have had an unpredictable response to high-fat foods that I'd normally feed, so I'm trying something more moderate (the light food). Also, when she had her abdominal ultrasound, they noticed some mild kidney changes consistent with very early stages of CRF, so I am now also thinking of phosphorous content, as high-protein foods often (or usually) come with higher levels of phosphorous. Granted, she's not symptomatic yet, and it'll probably be some time before she has serious renal problems, but since I have that info, I intend to consider it as a factor when making health choices (like food and vaccinations). When Assumpta turned 7 (or so), I asked my vet if I should start looking for senior foods, and she said to hold off on it until we had some kind of reason to be cutting back on fat, protein, or other ingredients, that it wasn't necessary for a healthy cat. Well, now we have a reason. In my travels, I have found VERY few light/senior/hairball foods that I wouldn't mind feeding (many of them just aren't much good); I went with the Innova because I knew Assumpta liked their regular formula, because I've had good luck with their food in the past, and because it was moderate, with a low phosphorous content (somewhat similar to the i/d, but with better ingredients for Assumpta). However, I tend to believe that a healthy older cat on healthy food shouldn't need a "special" formula unless their medical status indicates using one. Use your best judgement with that one, it's just my own perspective that light/senior/hairball/special formulas are generally not entirely necessary, but can be very useful if the cat has certain dietary needs.

A hairball every six weeks in a long-haired cat isn't completely outside the range of "normalcy" (not all cats are the same in this respect, and I think I see more hairballs in general with dry food cats); my concern would be if this is a new thing, an increase in frequency, if the hairballs accompanied a food change, or if you notice anything else unusual, especially in older cats (and you're absolutely positive that it's not one cat doing all the vomiting?). Any change in habits is cause for careful examination in older cats. My own experience was that canned food and no corn largely resolved the issue; when she was on the R/D, I tried every kind of EFA skin sprays, oils, and supplements to try to fix her skin and coat, but it never helped. The other thing that helps is grooming several times a day during heavy shed; I always tackle her for combing at least once, but when she's shedding heavily (like when she was on the i/d), I did her several times a day.

The short answer is no, you can't train cats to vomit outside...they're just going to do what they need to, when they need to, and they don't care a fig about carpeting. My cat always gets down onto the floor to bring up hairballs (then goes off and plays quite happily)...but with the pancreatitis, it was full-out power-vomit that came wherever she was sitting (couch, bed, dining room table, my lap). It wasn't at all normal for her, and even though it was only happening every 2 weeks (or less) it was so abnormal as to really freak me out.
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
stu
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Hmm...... perhaps I need to investigate some of the premium wet foods.

I'm not joking, but the way Iams is marketed in the UK, you'd think you're giving your cats the healthiest food imaginable, and in the UK, the majority of wet food is perceived as being full of God knows what.

I've seen all of my three cats vomit, and I know it's not just one. Having said that, Coco, our chubby cat, does have a dandruff problem.

Furthermore, as they all eat at different times (and my wife and I are not around during the day), we leave the food down for the girls at all times.
I have heard a theory which says you should put the bowls down for 20-30 minutes in the morning and in the evening, and what they don't eat then, then tough luck.

There doesn't appear to be a consensus on this issue, but from what you say, it seems like our cats are vomiting a touch too frequently from the norm...

"You gonna party like it's your Coco, gonna sip Bacardi like it's your Coco"
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 06-22-2005, 07:24 PM
 
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Stu, for the sake of your kitties forget about this:
I have heard a theory which says you should put the bowls down for 20-30 minutes in the morning and in the evening, and what they don't eat then, then tough luck.

In his book Ain't Misbehavin' certified applied animal behaviorist John C. Wright, Ph.D. (a wonderful guy with a big heart and a great sense of humor) explains that normal cats prefer to eat many small meals throughout the day. They eat more during times of high activity (since they've been working up an appetite) and less during sedentary times. They are more likely to decrease or increase the amount of food eaten at one time to suit their appetites, rather than change their preferred number of meals, be it 12 or 20.

The fact is, cats are nibblers by nature.

Also, when you have to take care of sick cats or dogs, you learn that several small meals a day (instead of one or two large ones) are much better and healthier for them because these small meals make the work of the kidneys, liver, and pancreas much easier. Small meals are also wonderful for healthy animals, because they go a long way to keep them healthy.

Do what you've been doing, just improve the quality of the food and the kitties will be all right.
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