My cat loves his canned food that he gets every morning, and he gets right into it the moment I put the dish down. Normally, this is no problem - he eats, I get ready for my day, everything is wonderful.

Except for the days when he wolfs it down incredibly quickly - usually he paces himself, but some days he just gulps it down, and I can't find a reason for it, it is independent of flavour or anything. If he eats it too fast, then he throws up, and I end up feeling bad because then I know he is missing out on needed moisture and nutrients and the like, not to mention the mess.

Is there any way I can keep this from happening?

5 Answers 5


I really like the specialized "Tiger Diner" food bowl. It forces the cat to slow down and "hunt" his or her food out of the bowl, resulting in slower (and often less) eating. I usually use it with dry food, but if you break up wet food into smaller chunks, rather than simply a can-shaped blob, it works just fine.

Here is a photo of it:

Photo of the Tiger Diner bowl

  • 1
    Oh, this is CAPTCHA for cats...
    – sharptooth
    Nov 11, 2013 at 14:50
  • @sharptooth CA(P)TCHA Jul 16, 2014 at 12:37

Split his daily portions. Cats are designed to have smaller, frequent meals.

Try giving him a quarter of the food amount you normally serve when you get up. Give him the next quarter before you leave (if you leave for work); otherwise, split the meals up into three or four portions spaced throughout the day: breakfast, lunch, dinner.

The RSPCA recommends the following:

Adult cats tend to prefer to eat several smaller meals throughout the day/night. They should ideally be offered food at least 3-4 times per day (eating smaller frequent meals has been associated with greater urinary tract health).

  • 3
    I agree with breaking the food up into smaller meals, but feeding your cat as soon as you wake up in the morning, in my experience, tends to lead to a cycle of the cat waking you up earlier each morning because it knows when it wakes you up it will get fed. I'd be careful to make sure that first meal isn't positive reinforcement for waking you up early. :)
    – Wooble
    Oct 10, 2013 at 12:00
  • 2
    Yeah, I feed him when I get up, but he is good at not bothering me unless my alarm goes off.
    – user53
    Oct 10, 2013 at 15:11

We had the exact same problem with our oldest cat. She refused to eat for a while, unless it was canned food.

The simplest solution we found was to mix some dry food into the canned. This forced her to eat it slower, and eliminated the problem of her eating too fast and throwing up. Granted, she does sometimes eat too much to the point where she throws up, but that's another issue. :)


I adopted a dog who ate fast (the way he was raised and Cushing's Disease).

To solve this issue, I stuffed his food in a Kong, which is sort of the same thing as the Tiger Diner suggestion: make access to the food tough, but not impossible.

An alternative recommended by my vet, which I also used to some success, is to use a round food bowl, put the food in, then place a heavy round object in the middle of the bowl. The object (a shot put in my case) should be light enough to be moved around the bowl by the cat, but heavy or obtuse enough that the cat cannot push it out of the bowl, and sized so the cat has actual access to some of the food, but not all of the food, at any given time. This obstruction will create a physical barrier to speed-eating.

  • A veterinarian recommended golf balls for a friend's cat who was speed-eating to compete with other cats, but you're right, those might get pushed out of the bowl (if the bowl isn't very tall or the cat is sufficiently clever or energetic). Apr 1, 2014 at 19:45
  • Very heavy golf balls would work.
    – JoshDM
    Apr 1, 2014 at 19:57

A really simple answer for me: a cup cake tin with 12 small 'containers'. Saxo can no longer gulp down large batches of food and seems to be chewing each bit more. At £3.50 this seems a very good solution.

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