More than a few pet owners are puzzled when their cat seems to be hungry all the time. Is that mutilated mouse lying in the middle of the kitchen floor in the morning the result of hunting or hunger? Or both? Then there are the times when 2 hours after eating they are caterwauling, and trying to decipher the problem is more stressful to you than the cat’s own problem.
There is some solid research that shows a cat can be constantly hungry because of a problem unrelated to actually being hungry. Some people eat more when they are angry or overstressed. Cats being cats, they can be hard to figure out, so here are some practical possibilities what is your cat’s underlying problem.
Physical Health Issues
Parasites such as roundworms are not all that uncommon in cats. These intruders latch themselves on to the cat’s digestive system and survive by draining the majority of the nutrition from their food. That leaves the cat fed, but hungry. This is a serious problem for everyone in the family, cats and humans alike, as roundworms are contagious.
The signs of diabetes in a cat are very similar to those in a human. Constantly headed for the water bowl and losing weight despite eating more are two of the easily noticeable signs diabetes is a strong possibility. There are insulin shots for cats, just like humans, so watching your cat for these signs and taking them to the vet will extend their life one more time.
This is an easy one, but can be overlooked by first time cat owners. Your cat’s food and diet are not giving them the nutrition they need. They will always be hungry if what they are eating isn’t meeting their basic nutritional needs. Cat food fillers are often a primary suspect, so a simple reading of the nutrition label is all it takes. You’re looking for protein, fat and fiber content – in that order.
Cats, dogs, and other pets can get depressed just like humans, albeit for different reasons. Fickle as these feline creatures are, they need love and attention to avoid spinning into a depressive state. When they come around in an attention-seeking mode, take a few minutes to increase their purr quotient. While cats purr for a number of different reasons, this is one way you can eliminate a possibility for their excessive hunger.
Cats who are kept indoors all the time can become bored, making feeding time the only time they get sensory stimulation. People often eat more when they are bored, and while our need for intellectual stimulation is far more complex, cats need something to make life interesting. One measurement that is good to know is cats sit and stare out a window or door almost 20% of the day. This is a sign that cats are looking for something exciting going on in their world. It doesn’t take much. There are a number of cat toys available to keep tabby’s mind from focusing on food.
After thinking about these various possibilities of why your cat is hungry all the time, one thing is clear – your cat’s normal behavior patterns must be known to you. This may not be as easy as it sounds because cats tend to like to go their own way, and after a while the only time you notice them is they are looking for attention or food. In fact, that is one of the most popular reasons for owning a cat – they are low maintenance.
If your cat is left outside for a good part of the day these signs might not be so easily noticeable. The boredom part can be ignored here, but cats will find food and eat without you knowing about it. The roundworm problem is a particularly troublesome one since you might see the problem affect family members before you realize the cat is the source of the problem.
If you cannot identify the specific problem, a trip to the vet is in order. Before scheduling an appointment, eliminate as many of the above problems as you can to help the vet reach the proper diagnosis. Keep in mind just taking them to the vet, if you can get them in the cat carrier, is a way to reduce boredom and keep their minds active!