Very often in your messages, I receive the question “Chicho, why is my cat always hungry?” or “my cat eats a lot but still keeps asking for more food”. It is very likely that the cat will develop mechanical, repetitive behavior begging for its next meal, often demanding it even though it is not as focused as the dogs on this behavior.
If your cat is constantly hungry, if it is constantly begging and whining about the next dose of dry food, if your cat is never full, it may or may not be due to a medical issue. Recognizing and understanding the specific behaviors that indicate your cat’s constant hunger, will help you understand if everything is normal or if your cat has a medical issue!
Let’s examine these behaviors of the cat and let’s decipher their causes:
1. The cat desperately asks for its meal at certain times
Cats are cleverer than you think and if you feed them everyday at about a certain time, they can recognize that time as dinner time. And so when this time approached, the cat meows, whines and stares at you until its request is met. Although it is not starving, it is very likely that it is hungry, since its empty stomach is sending signals to its brain saying that it’s time to eat. As long as you are the one feeding it, the cat will make sure you will not forget its food!
So, a behavior like this should not worry you!
2. The cat whines for treats
If you keep your cat’s treats in a specific spot and it notices you being close to it, it may run up to you and start whining hoping it will manage to get a few of its favorite treats. Especially if it hears the bag in which the treats are move (in case you touch it), it will certainly take notice and run up to you asking for the object of desire.
Again, there is no need to worry!
3. The cat steals food from the table
You should know and you may have discovered for yourself that if a cat is not satisfied with its dry and liquid food, it will jump on the table and grab any treat, that may interest it with its wonderful smell, like a thief. If your cat develops such a habit, things are a little difficult and you will have to fight hard to break it.
The cat is led to this behavior more easily when it is very active (something that increases its caloric needs) or when it is generally malnourished! Increasing the size of her portions or their caloric value can curb this bad habit.
4. The cat is getting fatter and yet is always looks hungry and demands more meals
As with humans, there are cats that have associated food with pleasure. So while they are not really hungry, they are constantly asking for more food to indulge in something that will soon cause obesity with all its consequences (diabetes, joint pain, etc.). In these cases, you need to take immediate action by reducing the amount of food you give it and stay firm in your choice.
Also, in some cases, if a female non-neutered cat has come in contact with a non-neutered male it is possible that while it is getting fat it is asking for more food because it is just pregnant, and needs extra calories.
5. The cat eats its food very quickly
In the context of this general manifestation of hungry behavior, the cat very often eats too much food, sometimes screaming and sometimes without even chewing it before swallowing it. This even leads to vomiting immediately after the meal, while the food has not even been digested.
Such phenomena are more common if the cat has lived as a stray cat for a part of its life, or if it comes from a birth with many newborns, which means that it missed the luxury of a quiet and peaceful meal.
This behavior is very likely to start disappearing after the cat receives plenty of regular and rich meals during which no one will grab its food. The cat slowly relaxes and realizes that there is no reason to rush and swallow the food without chewing it first.
But if the cat still shows this intense behavior, then maybe there is a medical issue behind it.
6. The cat constantly asks for and consumes food but instead of gaining weights, it loses weight
In other cases, the cat seems to be constantly hungry and even though it eats a lot of food, it loses weight instead of gaining! In these cases, there is usually a medical health issue:
Intestinal parasites: If the cat has worms in its gut they can steal a large portion of the food it consumes resulting in the cat not utilizing all the food it consumes and remaining hungry. In this case, be sure to deworm your cat internally with cat worm paste if it is a small kitten, or with a pill!
Hyperthyroidism: As in humans, an overactive thyroid gland causes the cat to lose weight while eating large amounts of food. The problem is diagnosed with blood tests and the disease is treated with special treatment.
Diabetes: In this case the cat while eating sufficient amounts of food does not produce the necessary insulin (from the pancreas) to utilize the sugars that result from the metabolism of food resulting to the cat being constantly hungry due to lack of energy. Insulin injections usually help control the disease and treat the problem.
Cancer: If all previous cases have been ruled out and the cat is still hungry and constantly eating without gaining weight, there is an increased chance of it suffering from some form of cancer.
My cat is constantly hungry - What should I do?
If we now exclude the various psychological and medical reasons that make a cat exhibit hunger behaviors and focus on those cases where the cat is simply hungry, there is a solution to reduce its hunger, and without gaining not even a single pound – after all, most of you complain that your cat is obese.
How can we make this happen? There are two ways:
Offering her a diet that will satisfy her hunger much better than the standard dry food diet. Adding a large amount of liquid food to the cat’s daily diet helps it to satisfy its hunger much better because liquid food is rich in moisture and has 4 times fewer calories than the corresponding amount of dry food. For example if you give your cat 80 grams of dry food daily you can give her 40 and 160 grams of liquid food and then, without the cat getting more calories than before, it is very likely that it will starve much less because the satiety is much better.
Also, the choice of foods (dry and wet) with ingredients that increase satiety such as plenty of fiber saturate the cat much better without increasing the calories it consumes and help it not to starve.
In this way, if your cat finally stops being hungry, you can cut back on the total calories it consumes and thus, if it is obese, slowly start to lose weight.