Why Is My Cat Always Hungry?
Is your cat acting hungry all the time? Cats are often thought of as fussy eaters rather than food obsessed, so when your beloved feline doesn’t stop asking for food, it’s natural to wonder whether this is normal.
If you’re asking yourself ‘why is my cat always hungry’, here are some possible reasons. However, if you notice a change in your cat’s appetite, sudden or gradual, it’s better not to try and self-diagnose as it can indicate a serious medical problem. Book an appointment with a vet for advice and to check for any underlying health conditions.
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 enrichment tips that can help to entertain bored felines, including cat trees and puzzle feeders. Check out our article on cat mental stimulation if you’re stuck for ideas.
Intestinal parasites feed off of your cat’s food intake and can affect your cat’s ability to take on enough calories and nutrients. As a response, the pet may pester for more food, or always seem peckish. A vet will need to perform diagnostic tests to rule in or out intestinal parasites and may prescribe de-worming medication. You can also speak to your vet about preventative treatments for worms and other parasites, that are given on a regular basis to avoid infestation.
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. The best advice is to feed your cat a complete, balanced, commercial diet that is suitable for their life-stage.
Diabetes in cats is a hormonal condition usually associated with problems in producing or responding to insulin. Affected cats are less able to break down glucose for energy and may have a significant increase in appetite. Other signs include increased thirst and urination. Look out for sudden changes in behaviour and contact the vet for advice. Management of the condition often involves feeding a controlled diet, and giving daily insulin injections.
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. Other signs of hyperthyroidism can include hyperactivity, panting or vomiting. Depending on the diagnosis, the condition can sometimes be managed through daily medication, but surgery or radioactive iodine therapy may also be recommended if suitable.
Cancer is another reason why nutrients might not be properly absorbed by cats and they may ask for more food to compensate. Cancer in cats usually requires diagnostic tests such as bloodwork, x-ray and ultrasound, as the symptoms will often overlap with those of other conditions. Look out for symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, diarrhoea or weight loss and contact the vet as soon as you notice these unusual changes.
Cats’ appetites can change as they grow older. For some felines this means a bigger appetite and looking for indulging treats more often. Certain medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism are more common in older cats, and it’s best to seek veterinary advice before blaming age alone 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 an owner to figure out why the cat is always hungry without a trip to the vet and there are more serious underlying conditions that can lead to increased appetite.
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.