Scarf & barf then not eating at all

njg55

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A couple of days ago I was looking for advice on the frequent "scarf and barf" behavior of two of my cats, a mother and daughter who spend a lot of time together in one particular area of the house. Now they both seem to have almost stopped eating, period! They weren't interested in the canned food I gave them this morning, the dried food that's always available in various foraging toys, or the evening canned food. One of them wasn't hungry yesterday either and spent the night snoozing in the bedroom closet instead of where she usually is, on the bed with me. While she was out of the closet most of the day today, she spent some of the time in a corner, huddling by a night stand, and is now back in the closet, which is behavior I interpret as a stress response. I gave them each a tube of Inaba Churu (a pureed treat food) today, and they ate that, but that's about all that I'm aware of them consuming unless they nibbled on a few of the dry chows. They may have eaten a tiny bit of the canned, but they usually lick the dishes clean (and sometimes barf it back up fairly quickly). What in the world is happening? The only thing different is that in order to slow down their eating and hopefully stop the "scarf and barf" was to give the canned food, at both morning and even feedings, in two portions, about an hour apart, instead of all at once. The food is the same variety they've been happy with for months, as is the dried. Why have they zoomed from overeating to ignoring their food? The only other possible wrinkle is that there has been so much vomit lately that I've had to use the carpet cleaning stain remover a lot. Could that in some way be affecting their appetites? The product is made for treating pet stains, so you'd think it would be safe to use around animals. If they don't start eating within a day or so I'll probably have to take them to the vet (given that we're entering the weekend, that probably means the emergency clinic). What in the world might be going on here?
 

abivz

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Are your cats using their litter boxes? Are they drinking water? Maybe there's some straining going on or even an obstruction, take them to the vet and have them do a physical exam, by feeling your cat's intestines the vet should be able to tell if your cat has been evacuating or not, and X-RAYS may be needed, have you tried feeding them anything else? My cat got sick and she stopped eating her kibble and wet food, I gave her some unseasoned chicken breast and she started eating again, she re gained her appetite, I fed her the chicken breast for about a week and then transitioned to kibble again and she ate it without problems.
 

Mamanyt1953

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Cats who don't eat are sick. Cats who don't eat for 72 hours are in danger of hepatic lipidosis, Fatty Liver Disease, a potentially fatal illness. IF they have not eaten yet, please take them in, even if it means an ER visit.
 
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njg55

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They seem to have gotten over whatever was bothering them and are eating normally, although maybe a bit finicky about the canned food. It seems like I periodically have to change flavors/brands because they "get tired" of what I've been offering, so maybe that's all it is. Regarding the scarf and barf behavior, I've contacted a local cat behavior consultant I've worked with before, and she recommended a number of foraging toys for wet food (some also work for dry). It happens that I already have one (The Digger from Catit), which I didn't know could also be used for wet food, so I asked what else would be her number one pick. She suggested something called a Lickimat. Anyone familiar with these? It seems like it would be a simple solution.
 

Mamanyt1953

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Well, I'd never heard of Lickimat, but I googled it, and I'm impressed. The thing I like about it is how cleanable it is! I'm not generally fond of plastic for cat food, because it can be hard to clean properly, causing feline acne, but that's easily treated, and far better than barfing! I'd wash and then rinse that mat in VERY hot water after each use.
 
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