Does your cat seem perpetually hungry? Do they eat all their dinner and then beg for more?
There could be many reasons why your cat is always hungry. Some are down to habit, some lifestyle and some may be medical.
Either way, you need to know how to identify what’s causing this hunger and whether you should do anything about it or not. That’s what we’ll tackle today!
As a pet parent, we want our whiskered family members to live a happy and healthy life. And part of that is to deliver a tasty, nutritious diet.
We need to balance giving them enough to play and grow, without giving them too much so they grow fat.
It’s a balancing act – but one that’s essential to get right.
Reasons why your cat may always be hungry
Even though your cat may be acting or sounding hungry, it might not be purely down to appetite.
We’re going to assume that you’re dealing with a fully grown cat that’s always hungry, because kittens and young cats are still growing.
Even though a kitten’s stomach may seem to never get full, they need lots of cat food to keep them strong and grow, meaning there’s no such thing as ‘too hungry’ at this life stage!
If you have an adult cat eating more than usual, there’s more to consider.
There are a few reasons why your cat is always hungry…
Cats, like their humans, can eat when bored. If there’s nothing else to do, what better way to alleviate boredom than with a little snack? (We’ve all been there…)
You can easily test for this by playing games, providing toys for your cat to play with and giving them things to do.
A low-quality diet can give your cat plenty of volume but not enough nutrition. This can leave their systems needing more, which can manifest as hunger.
Make sure you’re feeding your feline friend a ‘complete’ food or a mixture of wet and dry foods that make up a complete diet.
Parasites, like roundworms and tapeworms, can cause almost permanent hunger in cats.
That’s why vets always recommend worming tablets to help keep them free from parasites. Not only are they not nice to think about, but they can also cause medical complications – so always keep your worming up to date!
Some medical conditions like cancer, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI) can cause your cat to eat more than usual.
In this case, it’s best to speak to your vet for advice on the best way to tackle this.
Aging happens to all of us, including our cats. While they may not show their age as much as their humans, they can still feel its effects.
Some cats want to eat more when they age to combat muscle wastage, others won’t. If your cat is older, this could be why they’re always pestering you for more food.
What to do if your cat is always hungry
We offered some tips above for a cat eating more than usual, but there are other things you can do too.
Find the root cause
Finding the root cause of why your cat is always hungry is key. It could be something as simple as needing more play time, but it could also be more serious.
Try the simple things first.
Stimulate your cat by playing with them more, buying a different brand of food, making sure to feed them a complete food and making sure your cat’s worming tablets are kept up to date.
If you think it may be something more serious, visit your vet.
Visit the vet
We know that vet visits cost money, but there is no price too high to make sure your family is safe and well.
The vet knows what to look for and can provide the reassurance you need that it’s not medical. They can also provide the treatment your feline friend needs if it is.
Change feeding times
If there seems to be nothing wrong with your cat, but they’re still eating more than usual, you could try changing their feeding times.
Rather than one or two larger meals, split them into three to four smaller meals. Cats are often grazers, and this can satisfy their hunger without risking overfeeding.
Change to a better nutritionally balanced diet
A cat has similarly diverse nutritional needs as their humans. Cats in particular need lots of protein, so a vegetarian or vegan diet just won’t work for them.
Make sure the food you’re feeding your cat is a complete food with the full range of nutrients they need. They’ll soon let you know if they don’t like something!
Change feeding methods
A skinny cat or a cat that’s always hungry may not be getting their fair share. This is common in multi-cat households, especially where one cat is a raider.
A simple way around this is to use the MiBowl® Automatic Microchip Pet Feeder. This device automatically detects your pet’s individual microchip, giving them unique access to make sure that every cat gets their fair share on the schedule they prefer. It’s suitable for both wet and dry food and perfect for pets who are on regulated or prescription diets.
It’s particularly useful if you do have a meal raider in the family. The MiBowl® Automatic Microchip Pet Feeder only allows the ‘authorised’ cat to feed and won’t dispense food for anyone else.
It could be as simple as that!
Why is my cat eating so much?
There are lots of reasons why your cat might be eating so much. They may just be extra hungry, or they may not be getting the nutrients they need from their current food.
The good news is that by listening to your feline, watching their habits and experimenting a little, you should be able to identify the cause and do something about it.
If you have a particularly skinny cat or you suspect something more is going on, don’t hesitate to take them to the vet. You can never be too careful!