There are cats that show an unmistakable fondness for food. This is beyond the usual ‘eat-to-survive’ kind of thing. A cat begging for food can be the pet’s way of letting you know that something is not right. In this article, we shall explore the different reasons why some cats seem to go hungry all the time. We will also look into 5 simple steps you can take to deal with such a food-obsessed kitty.
Why Is My Cat Always Hungry?
Some cat owners ask, ‘why is my cat always hungry?’ Looking for the correct answer requires understanding the possible reasons for such a feline behavior. There can be many reasons as to why a cat seems to be craving for food all the time. These can include the following:
- Intestinal Parasitism
Intestinal worms can be a serious competitor for the nutrients in the digestive tract. Instead of these nutrients getting absorbed through the walls of the digestive system, they get eaten up by these worms. Roundworms have a voracious appetite. They can rob the cat of essential nutrients. This can help explain the ‘cat always hungry’ observation.
One of the cardinal signs of diabetes is polyphagia or increased food consumption. You can see that the cat is eating a lot of food. It may have just finished its meal, yet it is again begging you to give it another bowl. The problem is in the cat’s inability to move glucose from the blood to the cells. The glucose molecules stay in the blood, starving the cells. They send signals to the brain telling it that the cells have not ‘eaten’ yet.
The issue in hyperthyroidism is the very rapid metabolic rate that occurs. This depletes the cat’s energy a lot faster, causing them to want to eat again. If you are asking yourself, ‘why does my cat eat so much?’ it could be because it has a very hyperactive thyroid gland. It burns the calories in food so fast. This makes the cat either increase its food intake or to increase the frequency of its feeding.
One of the possible explanations as to why you have a cat begging for food is that it is bored or lonely. Feeding time is perhaps the only time that it feels it has your attention. It is also an activity that allows it to focus on something.
It is possible that your food-obsessed cat is only trying to soothe itself. It is possible that it is depressed or is expressing grief. These are quite difficult to prove. However, there are various reports from pet parents observing such behaviors from their cats after a depressing event.
- Nutrient-Poor Cat Food
This is very obvious. If a cat is not getting the right nutrients in the right amounts, it will feel the need to eat more often. There is also the chance that the cat will show a counter-surfing behavior. It can snatch food from your table or will always give you that begging look while you’re having dinner.
5 Different Ways You Can Manage a Cat Obsessed with Food
Based on the possible reasons why you may have a food-obsessed cat, we can now look at 5 different ways you can deal with the behavior.
- Consult with a Veterinarian to Rule Out Medical Problems
If you find yourself asking why is my cat always hungry, you should bring your feline pet to the veterinarian. He can help you determine if the cat has diabetes or hyperthyroidism. He can also help establish whether your pet is suffering from roundworm infestation or not. The best part of a veterinary visit is that you will learn what to do to address the problem.
- Switch to a More Nutrient-Dense Cat Food
One of the reasons why a cat may seem obsessed with food is that it does not get the right nutrients it deserves from its present food. Your veterinarian can recommend a more nutrient-dense cat food to replace the existing one. When switching to another food, make sure to do in a slow and gradual manner. Cats don’t like surprises. Combining a small portion of the new food to its existing food should help ensure a more successful transition.
- Provide More Interactive and More Engaging Activities
A bored and depressed cat can also overeat or have food-begging tendencies as a means of self-soothing. As such, it is best to provide your cat with more interactive activities. Puzzle toys and interactive games will keep their minds from food. They will feel less bored. Cats will also feel that you are giving them attention. It is possible that the food obsessiveness of your cat is its way of getting your attention.
- Secure the Food on Your Table and Kitchen Counter
Why does my cat eat so much? Well, maybe it is because you leave your food unattended. For cats, this is a very valuable resource. They see it as an opportunity to ‘own’ such resources by eating as much as they can. To help address this, you may want to institute measures that will prevent such a behavior. Do not leave any food unattended on your dining table, kitchen countertop, or on any other surface. You will also have to secure the trash. If cats cannot get food from the table, they will try to get it somewhere else. The most accessible to them is your garbage can.
- Do Not Reinforce the Behavior
It is easy to reinforce such a behavior in cats. If a cat begs for food and you give it a morsel, then it will learn that it is okay to ask for food even when it is not dinner time yet. Some pet parents give in to the begging behavior of cats because they cannot stand the annoying vocalizations. What they do not realize is that such a behavior reinforces the cat’s tendency to beg for food.
Dealing with a cat always hungry starts by determining the possible reasons for such a behavior. You can then institute any of the 5 measures we shared to help deal with a food-obsessed cat.