Does it seem that your cat is always hungry? Does he always ask for food even though you just recently fed him? It is important to understand the possible causes and solutions in solving the overeating behavior in cats or also known as Polyphagia. This term is a medical condition in which a cat is exercising an increase food intake most of the time. It is usually associated with psychological disturbance and frequent urination.
The health condition is caused by several reasons and it is beneficial for pet owners to find out the causes of increase food intake. It may be due to disease or psychological issues. Watch out for any signs of weight gain or sudden weight loss. If any of these signs exist, contact your vet as soon as possible. The condition of polyphagia can also affect other pets like dogs.
Moreover, polyphagia cannot be considered as a disease. It is a symptom that results from the medical or behavioral condition. To be able to give proper treatment, pet owners must find the causes of such state.
The cat is asking for more food with the following actions:
- Keep on meowing especially when the bowl is left empty
- Begs for more food
- Always steal food or eat from the trash
- Fight other pets that get near of their food
- Making a growl sound as it eats
- Guard the bowl
Medical Issues that Can Affect an Increase Food Intake
Medical problems can affect excessive hunger with the following conditions:
1. Trauma or Brain Injury
Infection of the brain can affect the thinking of the cat. It would be hardly possible for them to know when they are full and when to stop eating. The treatment for this condition depends on the severity of the trauma.
2. Cancer or Tumors
Tumors that create insulin affects the natural absorption. It can also result in abnormal secretion of growth hormone that eventually leads to increase food intake. Surgery or chemotherapy is needed in this situation.
3. Cushing’s Syndrome
A cat that is in a long treatment of corticosteroids for tumors can cause the body system to produce excess cortisol resulting in Cushing’s Syndrome. The symptom of this condition is very uncommon which includes increase urination and thirst drive and enlargement of the belly. Most cases of adrenal or pituitary tumors are benign. Treatment for Cushing’s syndrome includes surgical therapy to remove affected gland, oral medication and radiation.
4. Cat Diabetes
The diabetes cases in cats are very common because of high carbohydrate cat food and the majority of these food are cheap. Other symptoms of diabetes are increased urination, sudden weight loss or weight gain for other cats. It can be controlled with proper diet and insulin treatment.
5. Cat Hyperthyroidism
Cat hyperthyroidism usually results from increased thyroid hormones and speed up the metabolism. It results to hyperactivity, excessive hunger, weight loss, diarrhea and vomiting. Treatment for cat hypothyroidism includes surgery, oral medications or radioactive iodine therapy.
6. Cat Infections
Cat infections can be caused by bacterial infections which hindrance nutrient absorption in the body leading to excessive eating.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Inflammatory Bowel Disease
These 2 conditions affect the body absorption which causes vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss even though excessive food intake is taking in place. In most cases, cats usually defecate outside the litter box. The medications include oral treatment and proper diet.
7. Intestinal Parasites
Intestinal parasites can also increase food intake for cats. These include roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and heartworms. Infestation of fleas and feeding of uncooked meat may increase the risk of intestinal parasites. Prevention comprises of eliminating fleas, keeping them indoor and regular deworming especially for outdoor cats.
8. Cholangitis in cats
Feline Cholangitis affect the liver that results in weight loss even though the cat is eating too much. It is usually treated with medications.
9. Oral Medications
Medications such as antihistamines and benzodiazepines may encourage increased food intake.
10. Pancreatitis in Cats
Feline Pancreatitis may cause diarrhea and vomiting due to improper digestion. Treatment includes medication, proper diet and controlling fluids and food while rehydrating with IV fluids.
There are other causes of increase food intake for cats without any medical condition. These are:
We believe that keeping cats indoor is the best way to keep them safe and live better. There are times that boredom strikes overeating. In this way, provide a happy and healthy environment to keep them active all the time
The cold environment can cause cats to burn more calories which makes them feel hungry all the time. Metabolism increases with hot temperature.
Food Bowl Competition
Your cat may be worried that his food may be stolen by other pets. It may cause a cat to eat faster and increase its food intake. To solve this problem, feed each cat in separate rooms with the door closed.
Cat Food with Poor Quality
Poor quality cat food won’t be able to meet the nutritional need. In this case, the cat will ask for more food and feel starved most of the time although it may seem like your cat is becoming obese. This issue may be resolved by providing a quality cat food which is rich in protein diet.
There are cats experiencing psychological trauma due to stress. It can be due to the loss of other pets at home or beloved owner, arrival of a new baby or sudden change of environment. All of these may cause increase food intake. The condition of polyphagia can be treated with the following:
- Give extra attention and love
- Encourage play activities
- Only give high-quality treats
- Feed the right amount of food
- Do not give extra food after eating
Other Things to Do
In order to manage the behavioral problem, you can also follow the suggestions below:
Ask for the Vet Help
Owners must seek help from the vet if this behavior exists. If health conditions are the causes of increase food intake, proper diagnosis and medications can be given to get rid of the issue.
Praise the cat
Praise the cat for good behavior and ignore bad acts. It’s always best to manage the situation to avoid aggression.
Feed cats in different rooms
Always separate food in each rooms. Control the space competition so the cat won’t feel stress and fight other pets at home. In this way, they won’t be able to guard their food bowl every now and then.
Small frequent meals
Take control of their feeding. Provide some small frequent meals. It is best to give canned food.
Cats use violence to be able to control their environment due to stress. The only way to make them feel comfortable is to ensure that their food is safe from other pets. Always consult your vet in regards to this behavioral changes to control over eating that results from psychological problems or other medical condition.
Do not forget to pet them, give the right attention and reward such good behavior. Do not encourage them to train you, it will eventually make the situation worse. Of all the suggestions above, always consider that the main concern is their health. There are several types of illness or diseases corresponds with this kind of behavior. Do not ignore such actions and have your cat visit the vet regularly.