Updated: August 9, 2022 by Kristen Chapple
Cats can be picky when it comes to food. Actually, they can be picky about almost anything, and that’s a part of their charm. But, let’s stay with feeding habits. Most of the cat lovers know that if your cat refuses food for more than a day, it’s a red flag and time to call your vet. But, what if your cat is always hungry?
This condition can often fly under the radar. Some cat owners even find it cute and funny. While most cats won’t eat more than they need, it is not rare that your cat begs for food all the time. So, is it just your cat’s character? Or, maybe there is a specific reason behind your cat’s ravenous appetite?
A number of things can affect your cat’s appetite. While some of the reasons are behavioral, others are medical issues. Because of that, it is important to pay attention to the eating habits of your feline family member. Did excessive hunger start suddenly? Does your cat vomit after the meal? Whatever the reason you should consult your vet. If nothing else, just to rule out possible medical conditions. Let’s learn why is my cat always hungry and what can be the reasons for that.
Diseases That Cause Overeating
Certain diseases can cause a condition called ‘pseudo starvation’.
Hyperthyroidism increases the metabolic rate and consequently a need for food. Your cat can eat twice as usual but still, feel hungry. However the cat won’t gain weight, but more likely it will lose some.
Diabetes is another disease that can make your cat craving for food all the time. No matter how much they eat they can’t get sufficient energy because their body lost the ability to convert sugar to energy. As they lack nutrients they will burn their own muscle and fat leading to a weight loss.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease is an inflammatory stomach condition. Constant hunger and weight loss are accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea.
All three diseases can be treated and managed with medication. Older cats are more prone to hyperthyroidism and diabetes, especially if they were fed dry food. Dry food usually contains too many carbohydrates and not enough high-quality protein and fat. High protein and fat kitty’s diet can reduce the risk of these diseases.
There are more diseases and some parasites that can cause overeating. However, they are rare and they cause increased appetite in few cases. It would take too much time and space to list them all.
Boredom and Anxiety
For millions of years, cats have evolved to be great hunters. When they live with us, they don’t have to hunt for food, but they still have the hunting instinct. That’s one of the top reasons why they love to play. But, if they are denied the opportunity to practice their hunting skills, they might develop behavior issues.
If your cat doesn’t free-roam outside of your home and you don’t have enough time to play with her, she will get bored. Maybe even depressed. Self-suiting by eating and eating and eating is a way to cope with boredom. And all the things that lead to depression, may as well lead to anxiety. The result is the same: You have an unhappy cat that will gobble up the food and ask for more.
Luckily, these issues have a simple solution. Play with your cat, get her some toys to hunt down and you will witness a miraculous change. It might take a while or it can happen overnight, but your cat will lighten up.
I would also recommend that you feed your cat in a separate room. Also, keep her away from the room where you eat, when you eat. Cats like to eat alone. Puzzle bowl is a brilliant helper too, as your cat will have to work or think a little bit for a bite.
Unlike dogs, who are omnivores, which means they can eat both meat and veggies, cats are pure carnivores. It means their diet must include a lot of meat. And carbs are just fillers. So check out your cat’s menu. The wrong choice of food can lead to constant hunger. Your cat might get a huge quantity of food without fulfilling her nutrient needs. Consult with your vet to choose food that will benefit your kitty.
Each cat has its own personality. Some of them like to eat more than others. Your feline friend might just be a gourmand! But, more often there will be some underlying reason for gluttony. It may be harmless and petty, but it can be caused by some serious issues as well. So I would strongly recommend medical check-out first. When you rule out diseases, you can check out other reasons.
Anyway, your kitty’s well-being and happiness depend largely on you, and the more you give the more you’ll get.