Dealing with cat vomit is a fact of life for many cat owners. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be concerned when it happens. It’s important to ask yourself, “why did my Maine Coon throw up?” as you wipe the chunk of gunk off the floor. There’s always an underlying problem that you can rectify if you investigate further.
Maine Coons usually throw up because of food-related issues, such as devouring food too fast, eating spoiled or cold food, or having food allergies or trouble with digestion. They might also have ingested something toxic. Other than that, your Maine Coon could be having a hairball problem or is exhibiting a symptom of an underlying illness.
To determine which issue your Maine Coon is facing, you should observe your furry friend and determine the timing and frequency of its vomiting, the consistency of the puke itself (as gross as that sounds), and whether your Maine Coon is displaying any other signs that are a cause for concern.
Based on your observations, you should be able to pinpoint your cat’s retching tendencies to one of the seven scenarios below.
1. Your Maine Coon is eating too fast
Maine Coons typically throw up because they ate too fast. As a cat's esophagus (the tube that connects the mouth to the stomach) is horizontal as opposed to vertical, it is easy for just-eaten food to travel back up and be regurgitated, especially if the feline has been swallowing at a breakneck speed.
What's being regurgitated is usually undigested, and your Maine Coon will attempt to eat it again.
This problem is especially common in a multi-cat household when a Maine Coon wants to finish its share of food quickly so it can get more from its neighbor's bowl. Sneaky! This could also just be an eating habit pertinent to your cat.
Solution: It's not practical to train your Maine Coon to eat slower or to stop stealing food from other cats.
What you can do, however, is to separate the impatient eater from other cats, so it does not compete to eat food that's not meant for them.
Eating too fast is also commonly compounded by overeating. You might be tempted to plonk generous quantities of cat food for your big-sized feline, but over-feeding a cat is not healthy.
Some of them won't stop eating when they're full, leading to vomiting and subsequently obesity and the health issues related to it.
On top of that, Maine Coons are also active and might dash around right after a meal, exacerbating the vomiting propensities.
Solution: Instead of feeding your Maine Coon big meals twice a day, you can break it down into smaller portions throughout the day.
This will also help if your Maine Coon eats too fast. Also, if your Maine Coon is not the sort of exercising self-control, do not give it free access to dry food.
2. Your Maine Coon has a problem with its food
Ingesting wet food that comes right out of the fridge can cause a Maine Coon to retch. When this happens, it’s a sign that the cat’s body does not agree with the temperature of the food.
Solution: Cool down the cat food to room temperature before feeding time.
Another food-related issue that is rather obvious is spoiled food. Even though there are typically expiration dates on the packaging, the cat food can be susceptible to contamination, especially if the packaging is not foolproof.
Once opened, dry food can become stale, and wet food can go bad quickly too.
Solution: Don’t buy any cat food with packaging that is damaged. Store cat food in a cool, dry place, and never give your cat food past its expiry date.
You should keep the dry food in an airtight container if its original packaging cannot be sealed well. Canned wet food can be stored in the refrigerator for a maximum of five to seven days after opening.
It's also possible that your Maine Coon is throwing up because of a poor-quality diet. Maine Coons need their fair dose of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to keep them healthy, but some cat food just doesn't cut it.
They may contain rendered meat which is comprised of all sorts of slaughterhouse waste and unsavory elements.
While such rendered meat is certainly not intended for human consumption, they are advertised to be nutritious for your pet. Some of them are, but some of them are not.
Maine Coon could be throwing up because they have difficulty digesting the proteins derived from such rendered meat.
Solution: Check the label of the cat food you’re purchasing and steer clear of those containing rendered meat. Words to look out for include “meat meal,” “meat and bone meal,” “by-products,” “by-product meal” and “digests”. You can also switch to human-grade food or raw food.
If you need help with that, we recommend to read our Maine Coon Food Guide here. You will find the perfect food for your Maine Coon there.
3. Your Maine Coon has a food allergy
Even if your Maine Coon is eating high-quality meat each meal, it could develop food allergies if it’s being fed the same protein source again and again. Yes, food allergies can take months or even years to develop.
When they do, they are typically associated with protein sources such as beef or fish. Allergies linked to grains found in cat food such as wheat or corn gluten meal are uncommon, but they do exist too.
Solution: Switch proteins frequently to give your Maine Coon a varied diet and prevent food allergies. When you are introducing it to a new food, do so gradually throughout the week.
Also Read: 17 Maine Coon Facts You Just Have To Know
4. Your Maine Coon needs to have its meal timings adjusted
If you notice that your Maine Coon is vomiting white foam and yellow bile before meal times, that's probably because it has been waiting for its food too eagerly; Its stomach is well-prepared with digestive acids, but when the food comes late, your Maine Coon vomits to reduce gastrointestinal irritation.
Solution: Give your Maine Coon a bit of food before its usual meal, or shift the meal time earlier to adjust to your cat’s appetite.
5. Your Maine Coon has ingested something it shouldn’t
Cats may grow a habit of chewing items that they aren’t supposed to, be it plastic bags, feathers, paper, buttons, or rubber bands. When such non-food items are ingested by your Maine Coon, they could be stuck in its stomach or intestines, causing repeated vomiting.
Sudden vomiting can also be induced when a Maine Coon ingests a toxic substance like human medication, insect spray, and cleaning substances.
Solution: Visit a veterinarian immediately if you suspect that the vomiting is caused by poisoning or a foreign object inside your Maine Coon.
For the latter problem, follow up by hiding your Maine Coon's favorite chew items and offering them more appropriate alternatives such as chew sticks and toys.
Does your Maine Coon love to chew on your houseplant too? Well, it really shouldn’t. Cats are carnivores, so their digestive systems are not geared for vegetables. On top of that, some plant species are toxic to cats.
Solution: Grow wheatgrass for your kitty. It contains pure plant fiber and not gluten proteins, and it's generally safe for cats. However, if the wheatgrass seems to induce vomiting too, take it away!
6. Your Maine Coon has hairball issues
Hairballs are common with long-haired breeds such as Maine Coons. They are a result of the cat grooming itself and swallowing loose hair in the process.
While most hair would pass through the digestive tract, some could remain in the stomach and merge with more hair to form a hairball.
Hairball issues among Maine Coons are more likely to affect kitties who groom themselves excessively.
How do you know that your cat is vomiting a hairball?
You'll hear gagging and retching sounds as a prelude to the ejection of a hairball that is covered with fluids. Note that even though it's called a “ball”, it will appear in the form of a tube as the esophagus would have shaped it on its way out.
Solution: Brush your cat regularly to get rid of dead hair or take it to a professional groomer. You can also feed your cat “hairball formula” cat food like this one or introduce a mild laxative to induce the hairball to move along the digestive system.
Further, if you need a brush for your Maine Coon, you should read our article on the best brushes for Maine Coons here. You will find an appropriate brush there.
7. Your Maine Coon is sick
Seek professional medical help for your Maine Coon if it is vomiting frequently or continuously, and also if it is exhibiting these symptoms along with the vomiting:
- Blood in vomit
- Lack of appetite
- Weight Loss
Vomiting could be a sign of an underlying illness such as gastritis, pancreatitis, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, hyperthyroidism, chronic renal failure… the list goes on.
Solution: It isn’t wise to self-diagnose a cat with the help of online sources. Take your cat to the veterinarian immediately. It helps to bring along a sample of the vomit.
With this list of potential problems and solutions, hopefully, you won't be cleaning up after your Maine Coon on a regular basis. More importantly, your Maine Coon will return to a healthy state soon.