Cats have been stereotyped as lazy gluttons for decades, but is it normal for a cat to begin panicking as soon as it can see the bottom of the food bowl? If your cat eats and eats and never seems to get full, you may be dealing with a serious medical or psychological condition that should be addressed before it gets worse. Before you decide to simply place your cat on a diet to curb an aggressive appetite, schedule an appointment with your local vet to run through this list of four potential causes.
Switching to Healthier Cat Food
If you ate nothing but white bread for every meal of every day, you could eat as many loaves as you could stomach and still never get all of the nutrition you need. Similarly, cheap cat foods may not be enough to fill your cat up adequately, no matter how much it eats. Try purchasing a brand of cat food that contains a source of meat-based protein as its primary ingredient instead of corn, rice or soy; supplementing with wet food may also help your cat feel fuller longer. If the problem subsides after the switch, simply stick with this new feeding regimen and watch for any future signs of trouble.
Checking for Parasites
If food quality is not the issue, you should schedule an examination at your local veterinary clinic to have your cat checked for any medical irregularities. The first step in this process will likely be a parasite screening to catch any worms or other pests lurking in your cat's system. Tapeworms are a common culprit that live in the intestines, stealing blood and nutrients from their host. Thankfully, worms are relatively easy to treat and can be quickly flushed from your cat's system with de-worming medication.
Ruling Out Medical Conditions
Once your cat has passed a parasite panel, your veterinarian will begin conducting tests to rule out other medical problems that could be stimulating your cat's appetite. Hyperthyroidism, for example, can lead to increased appetite, extreme thirst and rapid weight loss, and feline diabetes presents similar symptoms. Both of these conditions can be managed with medication, but they must be diagnosed and treated to keep your pet comfortable and healthy.
Diverting Your Cat's Food Fixation
After every other possibility has been explored, you will need to consider potential psychological reasons for your cat's food fixation. Cats that are frequently bored and under-exercised may turn to food for stimulation instead. Once their day begins to revolve around food, these cats can become very demanding and anxious about the state of their food bowl. Consider buying a puzzle toy or feeder, which require physical manipulation to release kibble, to engage your pet's mind while regulating its access to food. By forcing your cat to work for its meals, you can curb unhealthy food obsessions, nourish its natural instincts and enrich its daily quality of life, leading to a happier, healthier pet in the long run. If you have additional problems, contact a veterinary clinic for help.