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A cat (feline) food challenge, why little balls are forming?

Posted Wednesday, February 2, 2011, at 7:44 AM

I did not find a successful search phrase to research this on the internet, so I thought I would put it out here and see if I get lucky. I know many search out the word cat and feline so maybe someone from "somewhere" will know the answer to this.

We feed our newest 6 members to our cat family out in the garage. They get a little milk (maybe 4 tablespoons each) and dry food in the morning and then dry mixed with canned food at night.

On most mornings, next to the dry food dish, we find little balls of dry cat food that look like they have been eaten and then spit back out in balls no larger than .5 inch in diameter.

They always appear to be dry and never found a mushy one, so it does not appear to be a cat's 'hairball' it even if it was, there are several, all the same size.

Any ideas?

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I am not a cat person (daughter is allergic), but I did a quick search and found this...

"If the vomit looks like food, still in kibble form, your cat may just have a sensitive stomach and be eating to fast. This is very common in persian cats, who produce more stomach acid then most cats, and when they eat fast the food doesn't get a chance to digest it hits the stomach full with acid and pop's right back out."


-- Posted by PrpleHze on Wed, Feb 2, 2011, at 8:12 AM

Hmmm, while I don't know the family history, one side of the family seems to have Siamese in them. Another calico has remained small and she eats at this particular dish. (It is up on a counter)

Now that I have a direction I will see if there is special food to help her keep her food down and see if the mysterious 'balls' go away.


-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Feb 2, 2011, at 9:02 AM

You might want to try not giving them milk for a few days and see if the problem goes away. Cats digestive systems don't handle cow's milk very well.

-- Posted by GoTitans on Wed, Feb 2, 2011, at 11:26 AM

Two of the six outside cats don't even get up when we bring the milk. One of our inside cats loves it but if she gets more than a teaspoonful, she usually throws it up. (comes back for more, but...)

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Feb 2, 2011, at 12:01 PM

Cats are lactose intolerant past kittenhood. If you want to give them milk, try giving them lactose-free milk. That's what I give my younger cat and she loves it. You can find it at any major grocery store. It comes in whole, 2% and skim. It might let the milk lover tolerate it a little better. :) I've never heard of this particular food problem, but several cat food brands make food for sensitive stomachs. You might try one of them and see if it helps!

-- Posted by holdoll on Thu, Feb 3, 2011, at 9:55 AM

The interesting thing is that it is not like normal hairballs or throw-up. We have had cats for 20+ years and currently have 11. Never seen little balls of food (not much bigger than the food itself.

I wonder if mice have sensitive stomachs like this?

It is also not found anywhere else but right in front of or next to the food bowl. I will try to remember to take my camera tomorrow. I won't win any photography awards for the subject, but....

-- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Feb 5, 2011, at 7:39 PM

Is it possible that the catfood pieces are getting damp by little splashes from the water dish? I remember my dog's food years ago would swell up and make an almost perfect ball if it got wet.

-- Posted by craftin_mom on Sat, Feb 5, 2011, at 7:43 PM

It is certainly possible but in this case the water dish in on the ground and the feeder is on a counter.

I am try to reduce the number if opossum feasts. I know opossums can climb but the counter is slick sided, so a jump is needed. Maybe they can jump well too, but so far they have left it alone.

-- Posted by stevemills on Sun, Feb 6, 2011, at 11:49 AM

Speaking of opossums, I had to "assist" one again this morning. Most have been small but this one was a bit older and feistier. I put him in a bucket to carry away from the house, and all was well until I started the tractor.

Playin' dead was forgotten about and out it jumped but PITA was right there to catch it again. She behaved and I put it in the bucket again, but this time walked it to some rock piles where it was able to squeak into a hole.

Moved pretty fast this time. Must have been afraid I would take it on the tractor again.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Feb 7, 2011, at 10:49 AM

siamese mix or siamese.. have quirky digestion .. try a better food.. i had to for my half siamese Teddie...hope that helps..

-- Posted by 4fabfelines on Mon, Feb 7, 2011, at 6:06 PM

The little balls have disappeared. No change in their feeding routine or brand of food, so.... I am still stumped.

Come to think of it, there are two cats in our house resting from their neutering. One male will be returned to the family today and the Momma will return on Monday after stitches are taken out.

She was a bad girl and pulled stitches out on her first night home resulting in a return to the vet ($$)the next day. Now she wears her special collar until Monday.

Her son Sneakers was like a pinball on speed the night before his trip to the vet. We gave him his own bathroom to chill in but he was ALL OVER the walls. light fixtures, shower head, and anything he could find to climb.

We had to take light bulbs out of the wall fixtures, remove the shower curtain, all items on the counter went IN the sink and pictures came off the wall. They would have been knocked off anyway. It took me 45 minutes of quite reassurances and petting to calm him down.

(Imagine a little time in between the start of this and now)

Sneakers just went back to his Dad and brothers. He was a little concerned when I picked him up but after he saw that he was going outside and not in a carrier, it was "Katie bar the door".

-- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Feb 12, 2011, at 9:23 AM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.