If your cat seems hungrier than usual, here are a few reasons why that may be the case: from simple ones such as plain boredom to more serious conditions needing the vet’s attention.
Is your cat acting hungry all the time? We tend to think of cats more as fussy eaters than food obsessed, so when your dear feline doesn’t stop asking for food, it’s natural to wonder whether this is normal or you should head to the vet.
If you’re asking yourself ‘why is my cat always hungry’, here are a few possible reasons.
Always-hungry cats might actually not be all that hungry. Their constant interest in ‘what’s for dinner’ could mean ‘I’ve got nothing else to do, but eat’. Keeping your cat physically and mentally active is incredibly important, particularly if they spend most of the time indoors. While it’s difficult to recreate all the exciting stuff going on outside that keeps cats active, there are a few tips guaranteed to entertain bored felines, including cat trees and puzzle feeders. Check out our article on cat mental stimulation if you’re stuck for ideas.
If you’re wondering ‘why is my cat always hungry but skinny’, one possible reason is intestinal parasites. These little creatures are feeding off of your cat’s food intake and sometimes they may not leave enough nutrients to satisfy the cat’s needs. As a response, the pet will ask for food more often or in larger quantities. The vet will be able to discover if intestinal parasites are to blame for your cat’s large appetite and will prescribe de-worming medication.
If your cat cries ‘hungry’ even when they keep having generous meals, it’s time to consider the level of nutrients present in their food. Make sure your cat’s diet has the right balance of the five major nutrient groups: protein, fats, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates.
If you’re not sure how much to feed your cat or what a healthy cat diet looks like, find out with our guide for feeding your cat.
Another reason why cats are always hungry has to do with their body’s inability to extract the amount of energy needed from the usual meals. Diabetes in cats is an illness that leaves cats less able to break down glucose for energy and will oftentimes manifest itself by an increase in appetite. Other signs include increased thirst and urination. Look out for sudden changes in behaviour and don’t hesitate to contact the vet. If diabetes is indeed the culprit, your cat’s appetite levels should get back to normal with proper medication.
Hyperthyroidism in cats is caused by a benign tumour of the thyroid gland leading to excessive thyroid hormone production. One of the main symptoms is weight loss despite an increased appetite, so if your cat is always hungry but skinny, make sure you pay attention to other symptoms and get in touch with the vet for a diagnosis. Hyperthyroidism signs also include hyperactivity, panting or vomiting. Depending on the diagnosis, the illness can sometimes be managed through daily medications, but solutions such as surgery or radioactive iodine therapy can also be recommended as treatment options.
Cancer is another reason why nutrients might not be properly absorbed by cats and therefore prompting them to ask for more food to compensate. Unfortunately cancer in cats can be difficult to detect as felines tend to mask their pain. But look out for common symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting or weight loss and contact the vet as soon as you notice these unusual changes.
Cats’ appetite changes as they grow older. For some felines this means a bigger appetite and looking for indulging treats more often.
However, it’s best to make sure the vet rules out the medical conditions mentioned above before blaming the senior years for your cat’s newly-found love for food. If you want to find out more about feeding your senior cat the right amount of food, read our handy guide.
It can be difficult for the owner to figure out why the cat is always hungry without a trip to the vet. Although the explanation could be as simple as the cat is just bored and looking for something to do, there are more serious underlying conditions that have increased appetite as the first item on the list of symptoms. This is why it’s important to get your cat to the vet as soon as you notice unusual changes to their normal eating habits.
Don’t forget to keep a close eye on your cat’s health and don’t skip the annual wellness and health check-up. Find out more about the importance of regular vet check-ups for cats, next.