Vet Info for Pet Parents

Is Your Cat's Weird Appetite Eating Away At You? What The Different Dining Habits May Be Telling You About Health

Cats can be funky creatures, but for the most part, they're fairly consistent about food. When you see any changes in the normal eating patterns, you're naturally going to be concerned and want to know what may be going on.

Hungry All The Time

A cat who is ravenous all or most of the time could just be young and energetic, in need of the additional calories to fuel their rambunctiousness, but if your four-legged fur ball is stark-raving hungry out of the blue uncharacteristically, something more could be going on. Both blood-glucose and thyroid issues are likely to cause insatiable appetites, as is malabsorption. If, for some unknown reason, your pet isn't able to absorb the nutrients in food, hunger is a natural consequence, although still cause for concern.

Some types of internal parasites may be at work in your cat's gut, stealing nutrients and disturbing the normal appetite. Observe what else may be going on when you see an increase in food intake, such as sleep patterns and the quality of Number Two movements in the litter box. Worms and parasites might also cause your cat to be tired, too. 

If, on the other hand, your feline friend is a former stray or recently adopted from a cat shelter, the constant hunger may simply be a lingering after effect of their former deprived lifestyle. Most cat shelters are on low budgets, meaning the food must be rationed. Strays, of course, are forced to eat whatever they can find or even fight for their food—what little is available. Despite the fact that the hunger you're seeing may be logical, according to the animal's history, if you haven't brought them to the vet's for a thorough first checkup, this is a good time to do so.

Begging For Food, But Not Eating It

Cats interpret your offerings of food as a sign that you care; thus, a begging animal may simply be interacting with their keeper when they ask for, but don't eat, a dish of food. If this is not typical behavior from your pet, something totally different could be happening. For example, the animal might have a dental issue, which doesn't necessarily affect appetite, but would interfere with the ability to actually eat. Nausea, too, although difficult to pinpoint in most animals, could prompt an otherwise hungry cat to turn away from food.

If your cat is begging, but not eating, put him on a schedule to regulate both the appetite and behavior. A few healthy treats in between times is appropriate, as a means of demonstrating that you're a good cat-keeper, keenly aware of your cat's feelings.

Barely Grazing At The Bowl

Any serious decline in the appetite of your feline is cause for concern, unless it's just for a meal or two. A cat might skip feeding time, on occasion, due to an excess of gas or some other, minor, issue; however, if there's a major loss of interest, the animal should be taken to the vet as soon as you can get an appointment. Not eating could be a sign of something going on internally, such as a blockage (especially if your cat is prone to eating non-food items) or a symptom of a disease. Take note of what is being eaten and check out what's going on in the litter box, for additional clues, as you prepare for a visit to the animal hospital.

Don't allow your cat's weird appetite to eat away at you for too long, as sudden or even subtle changes could mean a number of different issues. Keep a close eye on the food bowl, changes in vitality, litter box business, and anything else that worries you and report it to your veterinarian. The sooner you figure out what's going on, the sooner you'll get your cat back to normal.