Dry cat food causing healthy cats to vomit. The reason.

The argument below is based on the domestic cat being healthy in all respects.

The dry cat food manufacturers blame cats if they throw up dry cat food immediately after eating it. I blame the pet food manufacturers. They say that cats eat too fast which is why they throw up dry cat food. They swallow the pellets whole rather than break them up in the mouth. As an aside, cats don’t grind food like humans as they don’t have flat-topped molars but sheering carnassial teeth designed to cut flesh.

Tabby cat throwing up dry cat food pellets
Tabby cat throwing up dry cat food pellets. Photo: Pixabay.
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I’m convinced that the reason why cats swallow whole pellets is not because cats eat too fast but because the pellets are too small. It is the fault of the manufacturers and not the cats. Why do they make small pellets? It must be a manufacturing issue or they are just asleep and not applying their minds to the problem.

I think that you will find that there is a science around “bite-sized” pieces of food in respect of children. You don’t want children to choke on food. You want them to bite and chew it. People recognise the need to create bite-sized pieces of the right dimensions for children. The same rules must apply for domestic cats.

It is my argument that the manufacturers of dry cat food have abdicated their responsibilities on this subject. They are overly-focused on commercializing their food products to the extent where they’ve been lazy about ensuring that dry cat food pellets are of an adequate size to ensure that a cat chews it instinctively rather than being encouraged to swallow it whole.

It is hard to imagine domestic cats in normal homes where they are fed adequately being so hungry that they eat too fast. The pet food manufacturers don’t, to the best of my knowledge, claim that domestic cats eat wet cat food too fast. They focus is on dry pellets.

I am confident that healthy domestic cats never swallow wet cat food without chewing it because wet cat food is not artificially separated out into small portions. It is taken as a whole and therefore a domestic cat is encouraged to break up a mouthful into smaller portions. In the wild, cat food – prey animals – are not broken up into small separate portions. It is a whole which has to be cut up by the carnassial teeth. Dry cat food is too artificial. It is also too dry but that is another story.

It is when you artificially separate cat food into distinct portions which are too small in size that you get this problem of vomiting after eating it. Swallowing small pellets of dry cat food irritates the stomach and it is thrown up.

There is one dry cat food which is of the correct size but which the manufacturers say is large and that is ‘oral care’ cat food. The manufacturers make oral cat food pellets larger than the normal size to ensure that domestic cats chew on it so that it rubs against the teeth to clean them. The theory is tenuous because it is doubtful whether oral care cat food does in truth clean teeth. However, the fact that manufacturers make oral care cat food larger to ensure that cats chew on it is an admission that the normal size dry cat food bite-sized pieces are too small to ensure that cats masticate it.

I would like to see the manufacturers take responsibility for the problem of some domestic cats throwing up undigested dry cat food pellets soon after ingesting them. They need to focus more on what is natural for a cat and less on making the process of feeding cats convenient for their owners. Concerned cat owners would accept less convenience for higher quality cat food that better replicated a wild cat diet.

If you want to stop your healthy cat throwing up dry cat food buy products like Hills Oral Care. There are other manufacturers with similar products. Clearly there are many health reasons for vomiting which is why I have stressed that this argument is based on eliminating all other reasons for vomiting.


2 thoughts on “Dry cat food causing healthy cats to vomit. The reason.”

  1. It really depends on the food and the cat. My cats go out in the catproof yard and eating grass is definitely a trigger for upchucking back in the house. The First Grassy Upchuck of Spring is a yearly tradition.

    But Wysong Geriatrx dry food does not make current Senior Cat upchuck while she is a Frequent Upchucker sometimes with Purina Naturals. They are both small pieces of about the same size. Mixing them when she demands both also seems to help. I’d give her just the Wysong but she acts so disappointed without a Purina fix. And you don’t want to disappoint that particular cat. Really. Fangs and claws. Knows how to use them.

    Definitely fast eaters upchuck a lot right after a meal. One fast eater had been an abandoned tiny tot and missed a few meals in the wild. After rescue she passed gas at both ends for months – and all her life was an Easy Upchucker. Another cat of a much earlier generation, with a less traumatic start, was also a chronic fast eater and an Easy Upchucker. Both of them were also helpful in cleaning up after themselves, apparently the warmed mush was very attractive to both. The first cat mentioned always lived with other cats and helped clean up theirs also. Useful but disgusting.

    • Thanks for the comment. I don’t think I have heard the word ‘upchuck’ before πŸ˜‰. It’s nice to see it used. Domestic cats are very good at vomiting in any case. They do it with far more ease and naturalness than humans. They get over it very quickly. But some dry cat food pellets are too small. I think the manufacturers have come to realise that which is why they are making large pellets for their dental care dry cat foods which are dubious but at least it indicates that they are thinking about the size of the pellets.


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