Can Cats Suffer From Bulimia?


Can Cats have bulimia? My cat Snickers throws up all the time. When he’s mad at you, especially. I give him foods with hairball control but, it seems he does it to try to control his people. If he gets upset about something, he will get right beside you and puke. What can I do to stop this?

Montgomery, AL

Many folks joke about “kitty bulimia”. Cats with this syndrome eat large meals and then promptly vomit. They may then be hungry again.

The syndrome looks just like bulimia in humans. But it isn’t actually bulimia. True bulimia has not been documented in cats.

Cats who vomit frequently almost always have a medical condition that causes vomiting. Such medical conditions include inflammatory (aka infiltrative) bowel disease, food intolerance, infestation with parasites, liver problems, kidney problems, glandular conditions such as thyroid disease, intestinal conditions, and tumors in the abdomen.

Stress can cause predisposed cats (and humans) to vomit. This is probably why Snickers vomits when he is upset. I doubt that Snickers vomits purposefully in order to punish you. Vomiting is very unpleasant, and the activity punishes the individual who vomits more than the individual who has to clean it up.

A change in diet to something easily digestible (a so-called sensitive stomach formula) may help with the problem. But the best thing would be a trip to the vet for tests that may give insight into why Snickers is so predisposed to throwing up.

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