If your cat is anything like mine, food is always on their mind. Every time I enter the kitchen, my cat follows in the hopes that she’ll get an in-between meal treat. While many kitties cherish their mealtime, some seem to love eating much more than others. An increased appetite in cats can be caused by several different reasons, including boredom or medical problems. Read on below to learn why cats overeat and what you can do to help them.
They could be bored, lonely, or depressed
If your kitty is eating a lot, they may have a good reason for doing so. Some cats eat more when they are feeling distraught or bored. Comfort food is not a uniquely human coping mechanism. Anxiety, depression, and boredom can all incite overeating. Talk to the vet if you believe any of these issues may be the root cause of your cat’s eating problems. They may suggest providing your kitty with more attention and stimulation to stave off their food cravings.
Their food isn’t meeting their nutritional needs
Cats may also overeat if their food does not provide enough nutrients. Low-quality kibble will leave your cat unsatiated and hungry again shortly after they finish their meal. Their age may also come into play. As cats get older, they become less able to digest proteins and fats. At the same time, they need more energy. To get the calories their body needs, your senior cat may begin eating more.
They have a medical condition
Some ailments can also cause your cat to eat more than they ordinarily do. Diabetes and hyperthyroidism are two such conditions. If you find yourself thinking, “My cat is losing weight but eats constantly,” they may have one of these illnesses. Diabetes prevents your cat’s body from converting sugar to energy efficiently, and hyperthyroidism causes their metabolism to burn too many calories. Your cat may begin overeating to compensate and try to get the nutrients they need.
Bowel problems and parasites can also increase your cat’s appetite. Diseases like inflammatory disorders or intestinal cancer that impact the small intestine decrease your cat’s ability to process nutrients. This results in an increased appetite, accompanied by weight loss. With roundworms, your cat may be constantly hungry because the parasite is stealing all of their nutrients before their body can process them.
Pancreatic disease can also cause your cat to be hungry all the time. The pancreas produces enzymes that aid digestion but, with exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), the pancreas is unable to do its job. This may cause your cat to experience an increased appetite, along with vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. If you suspect your cat has a medical problem, take them to the vet to get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
How to help your cat eat less
If your cat is eating too much, you should first check with your vet. They can help determine why your cat is overeating, treat any medical problems, and recommend how to prevent them from eating more than they should. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
- Don’t fill the food bowls whenever they’re empty or let your cat free-feed. Instead, stick to a set feeding schedule. Healthy adult cats only need to eat once or twice a day. Limit the number of times you refill the bowl every day and only do it at set times.
- Monitor how much food your cat eats daily. You may not even realize how much you’re overfeeding them. Use measuring scoops to dish out their food and follow the serving size recommended by your vet or the packaging.
- Pay attention to the food’s nutrition. Even if your cat eats a lot, they may not be getting all the nutrients they need. Consider switching to a higher quality cat food that provides them with the vitamins and minerals they need to be healthy.
- Use a slow feeding bowl. These are food bowls with bumps that make it more difficult for your cat to reach their food and cause them to eat slower. For cats who eat when they’re bored, this can provide some much-needed stimulation, too.
- Make mealtime a game. You can try ditching the bowls and hiding small amounts of dry food around the house instead. This will stop them from eating too much and prompt them to use their natural hunting instinct to locate food. There are also feeding toys you can purchase, which automatically dispense food as your cat plays with them. Not only does this limit the amount of food they’ll eat, but it will provide them with some exercise, too.
- If your cat is lonely or stressed, give your pet plenty of attention. Some cats beg for food because they know it gets your complete, undivided attention. Schedule 15 to 20 minutes every day to play with your cat, and get rid of any stressors in the home.
While there are many reasons why your cat could be overeating, there are steps you can take to help them. By visiting the vet and using the helpful tips above, you can determine why your cat is always hungry and prevent them from eating too much. Soon enough, their eating habits will be back to normal.
- How to help skinny cats put on some pounds
- Cat pooping blood? Here’s what to do
- Need to increase your cat’s iron levels? Here’s where to start
- 5 ways to freshen your cat’s bad breath
- How to spot the telltale signs of aging in your senior dog