Five Reasons Why Your Cat Is Always Hungry

Known to be food crazies, obesity is one of the most common problems seen in cats. There can be many reasons behind your cat’s food frenzy. 

As an example, Otto, an eight-month-old male Siamese who is so obsessed with foods was diagnosed to have “psychogenetic feeding behavior” and even made him have food-related aggression.

There is no certainty on how much you should feed your cat because it will depend on several factors such as age, size, breed, and the amount of exercise it gets. The recommended calorie is 24 to 25 per pound and meal is up to 3 times a day. 

cat chewing fish bone

But due to mistakes in feeding, certain health conditions or problems with the quality of the food products, cats go beyond that.

What Affects Cat’s Eating Behavior?

Excessive eating or increased appetite is called polyphagia. It is important to maintain your cat’s diet by feeding the right amount of food and nutrients that it needs. When it comes to dry foods, the average amount recommended is around 30-40 grams per day for cats with the weight of 5 lbs.

Observe the following possible causes of frequent hunger in your feline and look for a solution immediately:

1. Low-Quality Food 

High-quality cat foods are always preferred as they tend to reach the cat’s nutritional needs compared to the low-quality ones. Like the fast foods that we eat, substandard cat foods also don’t satisfy their hunger. Wet cat foods are often chosen by cat owners because most of them want the type of cat food with water as the main ingredient, as it hydrates their cats.

If you notice that your pet always gets hungry, maybe you should consider giving it a high-quality cat food – if you were giving the poor quality one. Those low-quality cat foods are like junk foods with low-moisture content which can result in urinary blockage especially if a cat isn’t drinking enough water. It can also cause malnutrition so buying affordable foods for your cat won’t really help you save money.

2. Pregnancy 

If an unspayed female cat had a recent contact with an unneutered male cat and her appetite suddenly increased, then that cat must be pregnant. Pregnancy in cats is characterized by enlargement and darkening of nipples. Cats eat more than they usually do when they are pregnant because they also need to feed the kitties inside their tummies.

They get exhausted from light activities and they can get even hungrier when tired. Make sure that your cat gets enough rest if it is pregnant. Prepare enough nutritious food for your pet so its kitties will be born healthy; but don’t forget to still maintain its diet.

3. Too Much Exercise 

To be a healthy living cat, it should only spend around 30 minutes per exercise. Too much exercise time can be dangerous and it can also make the feline become overweight due to more calories that it will be ingesting after eating lots of food because of the workout.

Cats are always prepared to eat whenever and wherever every time they feel hungry. They hate being disturbed during meal time so let your cat take its time when eating or else, it might get irritated.

Similar to human, cats get tired and even hungrier after an exercise. You should balance the amount of food you give to your pet to the amount of exercise and activities it does every day. To be in good condition, a cat needs higher protein after performing different activities.

4. Cats Are Opportunistic Eaters 

Felines are born to be hunters, which means they hunt all day long to catch a prey and eat. If you give your cat its meal, for sure it will consume as much as it can.

A cat with an increasing appetite is sometimes due to overfeeding. So if you’re the type of owner who feeds your pets whenever it begs for food, you should probably change that behavior of yours unless you want your cat to become obese. Owners should maintain their pets’ diets, otherwise; cats might suffer from different complications.

Competition with other pets can happen frequently if there are more than one animal in the house. Cats should have separate feeding bowls in order to avoid aggression. But some cats tend to eat the food on other cats’ bowl once they finished theirs. This is often called “fat cat syndrome”. You should give each of your cats own spaces if you own two or more.

5. Health Problems 

Generally, a sudden boost in appetite is a sign of another problem in cats. If your cat always seems to be hungry but doesn’t gain weight, it can be very alarming. The extreme and frequent hunger of your cat might be associated with the following conditions:

  • Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes is common in old cats because of lifetime eating of grains loaded with carbohydrates especially if they are fed with dry cat foods. Insulin-related problems in cats affect the blood sugar causing hunger.

Diabetes Mellitus is a condition wherein there is a shortage of the insulin which prevents organs from converting glucose to energy. A cat which is suffering from this condition doesn’t get enough nutrients and as a result, it doesn’t gain weight no matter how much it eats.

  • Parasite Infestation

Intestinal parasites in your cat like roundworms can make your pet really hungry. Your cat can look fine and fat on the outside due to swelling but it doesn’t really get all the nutrition it needs. Cats often get worms inside their intestines because of eating fleas in their bodies.

Microscopic examination is suggested to know what kind of parasite is lying within your feline’s tummy. Medications are available for this condition. If you’re wondering why your cat can possibly have worms if it had heartworm medication; it is because that kind of medication cannot prevent all types of worms from existing in your pet’s intestine.

  • Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism in cats is characterized by the overproduction of a thyroid hormone called thyroxine. Excessive thyroxine causes an increase in metabolism which leads to weight loss and a boost of appetite. It is a common condition in old cats around 12 to 13 years old.

Through a blood test, the veterinarian will be able to diagnose if your cat has hyperthyroidism. Medications, therapies, and surgery are available for this condition.

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

IBD is kind of gastrointestinal disease caused by a reaction to chronic irritation in cat’s intestine which makes a high level of inflammatory cells present in a cat’s digestive tract. It has different types and the most common in cats is Eosinophilic. Because of this condition, the body cannot break down foods and distribute nutrients.

A cat with IBD tends to crave for food, vomit, lose weight, and have diarrhea. You must bring your pet to a veterinarian once you notice these signs.

  • Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI)​

Cats that suffer from EPI lack digestive enzymes which break down the food particles. This happens when the pancreas fails to produce these enzymes. You can notice EPI in your cat if it is eating a lot but isn’t gaining weight.

Classifying EPI from other health conditions that make cats lose their weights is hard but this can be diagnosed through physical examinations and some tests like serum trypsin-like immunoreactivity test that the veterinarian will do.

The veterinarian will provide supplements for a cat suffering from EPI and it will be given the best treatment option available.

  • Intestinal Cancer​

Due to the wrong absorption of the food, several intestinal cancers can cause extreme hunger in cats. Adenocarcinoma and leiomyosarcoma are examples of gastrointestinal cancer (GI) which is common in old cats. They are difficult to diagnose at an early stage and can be really deadly if not prevented.

The veterinarian will ask about the complete medical history of a cat. Physical examination will also be done to check if there is an abdominal mass or any other unusual things. Full blood tests will be performed to determine if there are any infections. Through x-rays or ultrasound, intestinal cancers are mostly observed.

Treatment method will vary on the location and severity of cancer. It can be through surgery or chemotherapy. The cat diagnosed with cancer might also be given Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (pain reliever), antibiotics, antihistamine, or intravenous fluids (IV Fluids).

Cat eating nut

How To Solve Your Problem?

Your cat always being hungry probably has an underlying cause. You must look for the reason why your pet behaves that way and seek treatment because it might cause starvation. Always check the label of your cat’s food to make sure that it meets the right amount your cat needs for its weight. Provide your cat up to three meals a day with high-quality foods.

Don’t just feed your cat with foods, but also with attention. You can try distracting your cat with toys to lessen its attention for foods. If the problem persists, ask for an expert’s advice.

Kathy Hills
Kathy Hills

I have been an animal lover since I was a small child. My mother sold Watkins products in a small town in North Dakota and when delivering the product to people who lived on farms I would get out of the car first to distract the dog (most farms had at least one dog) for my mother (she was afraid of dogs) as she went to the door. I was her "dog decoy." I have worked with animals my entire adult life, mainly as a VET.

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