Why is my cat always hungry? 5 reasons

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A gray cat looking up from his food bowl.

Have you ever thought, “Why is my cat always hungry?” You’re not alone. As a cat guardian, you know that a cat who doesn’t eat for a day means a trip to the vet. But did you know that having a cat that is always hungry can be a sign of physical and mental health problems? Here are some answers to the question: “Why is my cat always hungry?”

A cat that is always hungry can have roundworms. Photography by Katerina Maksymenko | Shutterstock.

1. Your cat has worms

Is your cat always hungry? Roundworms can mean a cat that is always hungry because the worms take all of its food out of its food before it can get it. Ironically, a roundworm-infested cat can look fat because the parasites cause its body to swell.

Roundworms are contagious to humans. So, if you suspect your cat may have them, bring a stool sample to your veterinarian for testing.

2. Your cat has hyperthyroidism or diabetes

These two diseases cause huge spikes in appetite: hyperthyroidism does it because your cat’s metabolism burns too many calories, and diabetes because your cat’s body cannot convert sugar into energy – and nutrition doesn’t even get into its body in the first place. If your cat is always hungry, constantly eating and still losing weight, and especially if he also drinks a lot of water, take him to the vet as soon as possible.

A fat white cat with a bowl of half-eaten cat food.

A cat that doesn’t stop eating may be bored or hungry. Photography © Svetlanais | Thinkstock.

3. Your cat is bored or lonely

A simple answer to “Why is my cat always hungry?” Just like humans, some cats eat because they are bored. The solution to this problem is to stimulate your cat more and stop leaving nibbles so it can eat all day or feed them for free. If you want a supply of food available, make it available in puzzle toys for your cat to work for their food. This will help him burn calories and keep his mind occupied.

Make sure you provide other intellectually stimulating toys (or maybe even a kitty friend) to keep his thoughts away from his judgment. You can also buy automatic feeders that provide access to a set amount of food at set times of the day.

4. Your cat is depressed

Is your cat always hungry? As with humans, overeating can be a self-calming behavior for cats who are depressed or in grief. I’ve seen this: I once met a couple who had a cat that they relegated to the basement after they had their baby. In response, the cat began to eat to calm itself down, and the result was incredibly sad.

If your cat is depressed, use gentle interactive play to pull it out of its shell. Give him “love blink” – slowly close your eyes, keep them closed for a second, then slowly open them while thinking “I love you”.

5. Your cat’s food does not meet its nutritional needs

You know how when you eat fast food you usually get hungry an hour later, no matter how much you’ve eaten? Unsurprisingly, another answer to “Why is my cat always hungry?” is that poor quality cat food can have the same effect on your cat. And like a person who eats a lot of fast food or can only afford starchy food, your cat eats and eats because it cannot satisfy the real hunger (for nutrients) at the root of its food need.

Another thing to remember when asking yourself, “Why is my cat always hungry?”

The stomach of cats is extremely small: a few tablespoons of canned or raw food or (not and) a third of a cup of snacks per feeding is about all a cat needs to stay fit and healthy. Of course, if your cat is a 20 pound Maine raccoon, it will need a lot more food than a petite Singapura. So be sure to work with your veterinarian to find the most appropriate amount to feed your feline friend.

Tell us: Is your cat always hungry? How did you solve the problem?

This piece was originally released in 2015.

Thumbnail: Photography © drying | Thinkstock.

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