Cat owners will know the struggle. They’ve fed their little furry friend and within an hour or two, the cat is staring at an empty bowl and meowing away for some extra food!
Why cats have an increase in appetite can be explained, and there can be several physiological and psychological reasons for this.
The problem is, you can’t just feed your cat all the time for no reason. Overfeeding your cat can be dangerous and can lead to significant weight gain and issues like diabetes.
Understanding why they want food is critical first, and then you can start to work on a solution.
So, in this guide – we examine some possible reasons that your cat is looking to be fed again and what you can do to help.
One reason why cats, and indeed humans, end up gaining weight is because they eat without the need for food.
This behavior is known as grazing and cats are famous for grazing in their awake hours.
The way to curtail this is to prevent your cat’s boredom leading to extra snacks. Depending on your cat’s breed, they may be more inclined to play time.
This means that you’ll need to play with them when they’re asking for it. Some cats enjoy playing with sticks, boxes, your arm and cat toys.
Ensure you go out to the pet store and get some things to occupy your furry friend when they get bored.
If there’s no food for them when they’re bored, but they have some toys – they should go for that instead.
Not only will this method reduce their calorie intake, but it can also help them burn calories which keeps them happier and healthier – and burning off energy can reduce boredom through the release of endorphins and make them more tired, meaning sleep instead of snacks!
They’re Getting Older
In the same way that younger humans need smaller portions for their meals, kittens and cats have a different “plate” size required to feed them.
The best way to ensure you’re giving your cat enough food is by checking with your vet or breeder.
Remember, if you’re overfeeding your cat – they will easily put on weight if they are not burning off the calories!
Cats are creatures of habit and much like humans, they need a routine to keep them healthy and happy.
Keeping a routine is psychologically beneficial to a cat when it comes to their diet because they will associate times of the day with feeding.
Without this link, they are likely to expect food whenever they want it – and this can easily lead to weight gain.
Sticking to strict feeding times can be a very good way to keep your cat’s diet in check, and it’s easier for you to track what they’ve eaten and when.
This means that, if you ever get a medical problem with your cat – your vet might be able to identify the problem quicker and more simply.
Keeping a food diary for your cat is the best way to do this. Speak with your vet about the best times to feed your cat and how much food they should have.
Breed and size of the cat will make a huge difference to how much food they will need to consume, so you need to get the right advice with that.
There can be a variety of illnesses that cause your cat to want to eat more. Here are some of the most common:
Hormones in the thyroid determine in part how easy metabolism is for a cat.
When these hormones are excessive, weight loss is common and your cat might be wanting more food to keep up with the issues.
You may also notice an increase in thirst, their muscles might appear to wither, they may vomit, and they may pee a lot more.
Their personality and traits might change – which may include more meowing, more energy and much more nervous behavior.
Cancer is not simple to diagnose, in that there are a variety of different cancers which can lead to a cat wanting to eat much more than usual.
Typically, cancers of the bowel or stomach will normally lead to an increase in appetite.
Cats are curious creatures, and sometimes they will eat something which is infested with parasites.
Parasites, as their name suggests, will steal the food that your cat is eating. This means that they are not extracting the nutrients that they need to keep them healthy.
If you notice that their coat isn’t as shiny anymore and looks ragged, or they have runny stools – they may have an internal parasite.
You may not notice worms or anything in their stool, but this does not mean they do not have parasites.
Diabetes can cause a cat to want to eat much more food and drink much more water than normal.
You may also notice your cat is peeing a lot more than usual and sleeping for longer.
Give Your Cat The Right Amount Of Food
It’s crucial that you’re feeding your cat the correct amount of food. Overfeeding your little friend can cause weight gain and possibly other bone and organ problems.
Weight gain is caused when your cat is consuming more calories from food than they are burning off through exercise.
If this balance is tipped too far, you’ll notice a tubby kitty!
Of course, this also goes the other way. If you’re underfeeding your cat, they might appear scrawny and can develop health issues this way too.
The Bottom Line
Your cat may not necessarily always be “hungry” but they may be trying to get food from you.
This can be for a number of reasons, so if you are concerned – it’s vital you speak with your vet.
Always ensure you’re doing this if you notice rapid weight changes in your cat too.