Vet Blog

Why Is My Cat Always Hungry?

September 08, 2021

Any of us that are cat owners know the familiar meowing, leg rubbing, and following around the house our pets do.

It's sweet at first until it doesn't stop and gets more aggressive and annoying. If it's feeding time, they definitely will not hesitate to let you know. Cats are extremely smart and ritualistic animals; if you feed them around the same time every day, they will know it's time to eat and will not let you forget.

Your Cat's Feeding Time

Dogs who are left alone may start whining, howling, barking, or growling, usually when positioned near the door. Although every dog may do this for a few minutes, if your dog doesn't settle down quickly, she may be suffering from separation anxiety.

Is Your Cat Gaining Weight?

If your cat seems to be gaining weight, yet still crying for food, this is a sign that they should be fed less. Some pets are like people and just really like to eat or want to eat out of boredom. Boredom is a big aspect of indoor cats. They may just need a little extra attention or playtime. Sometimes having a playmate is helpful or you can try feeding your cat through play (putting food in a hollow ball, there are many on the market meant for this). This makes mealtime longer, fills your cat's natural hunting instincts, and gives positive play/food reinforcement. Becoming overweight can cause more harm to them than good. When our pets are overweight, they are more prone to diabetes, joint issues, and even cancers. Your veterinarian can suggest a proper diet that can keep them happy and healthy.

Is Your Cat Eating but Not Gaining Weight?

If your cat seems to be always hungry but never gaining weight, often it means they have some sort of hidden ailment. There could be many underlying conditions causing the lack of weight gain. Taking them to the veterinarian is the best bet. Your vet will test them for a multitude of things through blood, urine, or feces tests. Your cat could have an intestinal parasite (also known as worms). The parasites feed off what your cat is eating, this causes your cat to still feel hungry. The cat will end up getting very little nutrition causing weight loss. Worms are caused by eating fleas and being outside. This could be roundworms or tapeworms. Monthly heartworm and flea medications generally contain a de-worming medication. Worms are simple to treat, as there are many different medications. Your vet will direct you to the best option.

Hyperthyroidism in Cats

Hyperthyroidism can cause a cat to have an overactive thyroid, this makes the cat always feel hungry. Its energy is burned a lot faster than normal. Your cat may show signs of increased thirst, urination, poor coat, or be hyperactive. Hyperthyroidism is generally only seen in cats over seven years old. Your pet's vet can do a blood test to confirm this condition, by checking and measuring your pet's hormone levels. Your vet will treat your cat with medication and suggest a proper diet.

Diabetes in Cats

Another thing your vet may look at is diabetes. Diabetes in cats is caused by the lack of the hormone insulin. Diabetes is generally related to obesity in cats, 60% of obese cats will develop diabetes. This causes the cat to not be able to use its sugars to digest food for energy properly. Your cat will feel hungry because it is not getting the energy it needs and bother you for more food. Your cat may need insulin shots to control diabetes and a high protein, low carbohydrate diet.

Additional Testing for Cancers or Seizures

If your vet has ruled out all other illnesses, your vet may suggest further testing for cancers. Although it is generally the last thing to be tested for, it is a common cause of weight loss. Weight loss is the number one sign of cancer, but there are many others to watch for. Your cat may hide more than usual or fail to come out for meals. Mouth sores or gum bleeding could be a sign of oral cancers. Nose bleeds are never normal, but especially worrisome in older cats. If your cat displays nasal or eye discharge, this is a sign of facial or eye tumors.

Seizures are scary enough, but generally, signify there are underlying issues. Commonly older cats with brain tumors will have seizures. Changes in your cat's skin, every noticed lump or bump should be checked by your vet. Obviously, if your cat is showing unusual signs or any pain or discomfort, you should have them seen by a vet.

Talk With Your Bay-Porte Animal Hospital Vet

Most cats, thankfully, just really like to eat, nap, and get attention. If your cat's weight is stable and isn't acting sick or out of the ordinary; it probably just likes to snack more than normal. Giving your cat plenty of love and attention can keep it busy and let you know when something is out of the ordinary. Paying attention is our job as their owners even if that means dealing with that pesky meowing and leg rubbing and wondering why they always seem hungry.