What triggers the reflex that leads to regurgitation?
The cat eats too quickly, especially dry food, which then absorbs water, swells and sends the memo to the brain that the animal has overeaten.
The brain does the logical thing: Too much food in? Let’s get rid of some, and the regurgitation reflex is triggered. This is slightly different from the mechanism involved in cat vomiting, which can be a more concerning symptom. That being said, if your pet regurgitates frequently or shows any additional sign, such as weight loss, a visit to your veterinarian is warranted.
How to slow down the cat's eating
- Make sure that his eating environment is relaxing and does not feel like a hostile place to eat. Make sure your cat does not hear or see another cat while eating.
- Get a larger bowl with a single layer of food in it and spread the portion out. This will space the food out markedly, leaving plenty of gaps between the kibbles. Your cat must then take a bite, move along, take another bite, move along, markedly slowing the process.
- For cats that still eat too fast, adding nonedible “obstacles” to the bowl can be helpful, like a ping pong ball. This should be something too large for cat to eat, and maneuverable enough that they can push it around while trying to get at the food below it.
- There are several types of automatic cat feeders that offer a feeding strategy that might be helpful. Some of these can be set to open on a schedule and feed small meals frequently, which often helps prevent the regurgitation.
- Moistening the food with water or switching to wet food.