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We have a 6 year old cat to which we have tried, since he was little, to give treats but he ends up always swallowing them whole and throwing up a while later.

We have tried different brands and different kinds of treats but the story is always the same, eat em whole and throw up a few minutes later.

Is there a way to make him chew the treats and not just swallow them? He eats only dry food so he knows he's supposed to chew it but doesn't.

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  • Might not be possible to change the behaviour, but could change the result. Could try simply cutting or crushing the treat into smaller pieces.
    – Stig Tore
    Sep 4 '18 at 10:59
  • @StigTore I'm afraid so too, I can't think of any way to change this behavior but maybe someone had a similar experience on this SE. We'll give your idea a try but the treats are so tiny already and we usually give him like 4-5 treats max while the packaging says max 12 because we know in the end we'll be cleaning up vomit. 9/10 he threw it up along with his normal food.
    – Xander
    Sep 4 '18 at 11:53
  • It's unlikely he's really "chewing" his kibble; in years of cat ownership, I observed far more kibble being swallowed whole than not (which is observable when they vomit). So it's unlikely that it's the "swallowing whole" that's causing the issue, as well. Is he getting overly excited when getting the treats? Are they always the same flavor (could he have a sensitivity to an ingredient)?
    – Allison C
    Sep 4 '18 at 12:48
  • @AllisonC When he's eating his normal food, you can more or less hear him from across the house. You can hear him breaking it up at least (loud crunch). I'll have to check about the flavor but I think we mostly pick up chicken flavored but different brands. So you might be on to something about the ingredients. I'll compare what we got in the house and see for common ingredients (possibly there will be quite a lot). He's getting super excited when we give him treats.
    – Xander
    Sep 4 '18 at 12:53
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    Our dog used to do something similar. We made an effort to calm him down before giving him the treat and (very) slowly he started taking his time to enjoy the treat. Maybe this works for you? Then again, I wouldn't know how to start calming down a cat that's set on getting his treat.
    – Roflo
    Sep 4 '18 at 14:53
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Cats are specialized for eating meat, more so than many other carnivores such as dogs. Chewing food is more a necessity when eating plant matter. Cats, being such specialized predators, even have fewer premolars and molars than dogs, because they don't need to chew so much. So swallowing pellets whole is pretty typical for cats, and not necessarily the reason for the vomiting.

Vomiting after eating is also relatively common in cats, and can be caused by a variety of things. Some common causes are, the particular food simply doesn't agree with them, or that the animal is wolfing its food too fast. It's possible that even the lack of chewing is an indirect cause, in that actually chewing the food slows your cat down. The latter can be solved by either doling out the food in smaller portions more frequently, or figuring out some way to prevent the animal from eating at maximum speed, such as putting the food in a food puzzle toy, or getting a dish designed to make it a little harder to get its food.

Examples of what's available by Amazon search: https://www.amazon.com/slp/puzzle-feeder/283z7xrmcy386pz

The other option is to simply not give your cat the treats, since they are not a necessity.

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