When you start raw feeding, it’s possible that your cat may have some digestive issues. This is because raw food is very different from industrial cat food, and the guts of your cat need to adapt to the new diet. If your cat has a fragile digestive tract, doing a progressive transition can be better, as I presented it in the other article
. However, digestive problems may occur even in the case of a slow transition to raw feeding.
This article is here to help you with some tips to solve these common digestive issues.
I’m not a vet, and these are tips for some small digestive issues following a change in a cat’s diet. If your cat is sick, go to see your vet. If you have any doubt about whether a symptom is food-related or not, go to see your vet. If you suspect food poisoning, go to see your vet. If any of the problems persist, go to see your vet.
My cat is throwing up right after eating
This could be caused by various things that I will present.
Eating too fast
Your cat ate too fast: sometimes cats get excited to finally get some good food and will eat all of it, just to throw it up right after having eaten it. A way to prevent that could be to prepare bigger chunks of food that will be slower to eat as your cat will need to chew it before eating it.
You could also cut the food in small pieces and putting it on a licking mat, in order to make it more difficult for your cat to grab it.
Another way to solve this problem could be to give more meals to your cat throughout the day. It's possible that your cat eats too fast because it is too hungry between two meals.
It may happen that the food is too cold if it's served directly out of the fridge. In this case, you can let it warm up at room temperature for a few minutes before giving it to your cat. You could also warm it up by putting it in a plastic bag and then submerging it in warm water (make sure that the water is not too hot, or the meat will start to cook).
If your cat is throwing up always the same source of proteins and not any other, it could be a food intolerance.
Example of big chunks of meat
My cat is throwing up white or yellowish foam
Your cat is probably throwing up bile. This can often happen when your cat hasn’t been eating for too long. It could also be because your cat is anticipating a meal and its stomach already started releasing acidic substances, in expectation of the meal. If the meal doesn’t arrive in time, as expected, it will cause the cat to throw up, as the acidic substances will irritate the stomach.
A solution would be to feed your cat more often: that would make it less hungry between meals. (Don’t feed your cat more, just feed the same quantity but at several meals).
One thing that could also help is to change the time when you feed the raw meaty bones: some cats digest it better in the morning, others better in the evening.
Diarrhea or soft stools
Too much offals
If you feed your cat with too much offals, particularly liver, your cat may end up having loose stools or even diarrhea. Offals are very rich in nutrients, which makes it more difficult to digest. You could reduce the quantity of offals to solve the problem.
Too much fat
Feeding too much fat can cause slimy stools with mucus. This often happen for some cats that can’t digest the amount of fat in poultry skin. In this case, you can remove the skin of the poultry you are feeding.
Not enough bones
Bones contain a lot of calcium that helps to firm up the stools of your cat. If you don’t feed enough bones your cat may have soft stools.
Some supplements such as probiotics can help your cat in case of diarrhea, to help the gut flora.
Slippery elm bark, nutritional yeast, psyllium husk can also help in case of diarrhea.
Psyllium husk and nutrional yeast
It’s important to know that a raw-fed cat will produce fewer and smaller stools than a cat fed with industrial food. For example, Néline went from pooping almost 2 times a day to pooping 1 time every two days! If in the first days of raw feeding your cat is not pooping it doesn’t necessarily mean that your cat is constipated.
Too much bones
Constipation could happen when you feed too much raw meaty bones. When this happens, the stool will also be white-ish or grey-ish and very hard, crumbling in pieces.
By reducing the amount of bones you feed, you should solve this problem.
Not enough fibers
Your cat could be constipated because of a lack of fibers in the diet. This can happen to some cats, as a raw diet without whole prey is very low in fiber in comparison to an industrial diet.
You can add fibers by feeding whole prey, as the fur and feathers are composed of indigestible fibers.
You can also add vegetal fibers such as psyllium husk, wheat bran or oat bran.
I hope this guide will help you during your cat’s transition to raw feeding. In next article, in the transition to raw feeding series, I will present how I switched Néline and Praline to a prey model diet.