Goosemoose Pet Portal

The Cat's Meow => Cat Care Corner => Topic started by: Been to the Mountaintop on July 16, 2015, 10:21:37 AM

Title: Hyperactive Barf Gland
Post by: Been to the Mountaintop on July 16, 2015, 10:21:37 AM
Our 10-year-old neutered Maine Coon cat has always had a hyperactive barf gland (reference to an old Kliban cartoon). At least a couple of times a week, sometimes barf is bigger than his head. No vet has ever been concerned. At his well-mature kitty visit last year he had normal blood and urine. He's not an exciteable or competitive eater. There isn't always hair in it--not nec hairballs. I feed free choice Iams dry--sensitive stomach formula if I can find it, hairball formula if I can't. His weight stays about the same--13 pounds-ish. The vet feels this is a good weight for him, although Murphy feels skinny compared to our ragdoll.

Any ideas on why, or about diet change or supplements to help him? Thx
Title: Re: Hyperactive Barf Gland
Post by: Marybelle on July 16, 2015, 10:53:32 AM
When he vomits, is it near food time?  Is the food basically undigested or mostly digested?  That can tell you a lot about cause.

I'm not overly impressed with Iams as a food, especially since it got bought out by Proctor & Gamble a few years back.  And 2 of the top 4 ingredients are corn by-products in the hairball formula, which isn't all that great for cats.  It doesn't look like they have the sensitive stomach formula on their website, though, so I can't check the ingredients on that. 

Okay, in double checking the ingredients, they put inositol in their food?  Why?  That makes no sense to me, and inositol can cause nausea, though it's hard to tell if there's enough of it in the food to cause an adverse reaction, but that might be a part of the issue right there. 

Have you always had him on Iams?  Have you tried other foods to see if something else would cause less puking?

Also, just because he's not bringing up hairballs doesn't mean he doesn't have them, especially in a cat as fluffy as a Maine Coon!  Try offering him some canned pumpkin (not the pie filling kind, just plain) and see if he'll eat it.  Some cats will take it plain.  Otherwise, mixing it with some canned food generally makes it go right down.  This will up his fiber intake, and help pass out any hairballs that may be blocking up the works just enough to cause vomiting.
Title: Re: Hyperactive Barf Gland
Post by: Been to the Mountaintop on July 16, 2015, 09:32:01 PM
Hope I didn't accidentally hit "send" while editing.  :doh:

Marybelle, thanks so much for all your time. I remember that vomiting was one of the problems with your poor senior kitty you lost not too long ago.

Interviewed the family as I'm gone a lot with work. Vomit is nearly always triggered by a treat, especially a stealth treat he snags off one of the girls' plates out of their room but sometimes with a cat treat like Temptations, or being given a bite of tuna or chicken. He vomits in threes. First is substantial mush, digested. Second colored liquid, third froth. I asked if there is an emotional component, is he discovered and scolded, and they said no; the steal is usually not discovered until after the barf. Does that help?

What do you feed a mature kitty? I'd be happy to switch foods.

I'll try the pumpkin. He likes Laxitone but we haven't ever been consistent with it--trouble finding the tube when needed.

You know you love cats when the consistency of barf is a conversation topic.  ;)
Title: Re: Hyperactive Barf Gland
Post by: Marybelle on July 16, 2015, 10:53:30 PM
Hm.  And the treat is partially digested too?  Or just the food around it, and the treat is whole?  It could be an allergy to something in the treats, or just the excitement of getting something out of the norm.  You might want to find a treat that has limited ingredients (Blue Buffalo has some good ones for cats, or find some that are just freeze dried meat, my cats go nuts for those) and see if he has the same reaction then.  As to the 3 types of vomit, that means he's completely emptying his stomach, and then some.

Mostly, you want to look for grain free foods that are at LEAST 40% protein.  Wellness Core went over well with my cats, and they have both dry and canned foods.  There are others out there, but it might involve some label reading to find what's nearest and most economical for you.  I noticed recently that Petco started carrying Nature's Variety Instinct, which is also a decent choice.  Basically, you want to find something that has the majority of the first five ingredients to be either meat or meat meal (NOT meat by-product meal).  If you can get him to eat raw, that's even better, but it can be harder to switch older cats.

I find pumpkin to be a better long term solution to moving hairballs through, and laxatone as a short term one, personally.  But that's just me.  :)  But, if you have trouble finding laxatone, pumpkin is usually pretty easy.  ;)
Title: NO Barf!!!
Post by: Been to the Mountaintop on August 12, 2015, 02:46:36 PM
We switched to Nature's Instinct, and I just realized there has been NO BARF from either cat since the day after Marybelle wrote her recommendation! I'm so happy for him and us,   :party: and so sorry I didn't think to ask you guys sooner.  :doh: Like, years ago.
Title: Re: Hyperactive Barf Gland
Post by: Marybelle on August 12, 2015, 09:56:19 PM
Woohoo!!  That's awesome!  I'm glad it's helped.  :)