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What is Always Hungry?

If your cat is always hungry and wanting to eat, this could be a sign of a problem. This condition is called polyphagia, and is characterized by certain behaviors. These behaviors may include eating very quickly, vomiting after he eats due to fast eating, begging for food, counter surfing, accepting the food he previously would not eat, and stealing food from other felines in the house. Excessive eating in any cat should be further looked into by your veterinarian. Reasons for this condition can be:

  • Roundworms
  • Diabetes
  • Acromegaly
  • Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Cancer
  • Infections
  • Medications
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Boredom
  • Depression
  • Nutritional deficit

Why Always Hungry Occurs in Cats

There are many reasons why excessive hunger can occur in cats. Reasons can include:

Roundworms

Roundworms are a common type of parasite that invades the intestinal system of cats. When roundworms infest a cat’s system, they take all of the nutrients from the cat, thus causing the cat to be hungry all the time.

Diabetes

When cats do not produce enough insulin, which is essential in balancing the levels of glucose, or blood sugar, this is known as diabetes. Diabetes can cause cats to feel hungry often since the blood sugar levels are very imbalanced.

Acromegaly

This endocrine disorder causes excessive growth hormones to be produced by the pituitary gland. When this growth hormone is overproduced, the cat can feel hungry very often.

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency

Cats may become affected with a condition known as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. This occurs when the pancreas does not produce the digestive enzymes needed for the general nutrition of the feline. 

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease is a myriad of gastrointestinal abnormalities that may be chronic. This type of illness is caused by an influx of inflammatory cells protruding into the thick walls of the gastrointestinal tract. This causes the gastrointestinal system to have difficulty functioning properly. 

Cancer

Tumors, both cancerous and benign, may produce insulin, increase production of the growth hormone, or cause nutrients to not be absorbed properly. In the later stages of cancer, loss of appetite will be a problem.

Infections

Certain infections that can affect cats can cause nutrient deficiency or the lack of absorption of nutrients in the cat’s system. These factors can cause cats to feel hungry all the time.

Medications

Side effects of certain medications, such as steroids, can increase a cat’s appetite. If your cat is ravenous, discuss this medicinal side effect with your veterinary caregiver. A change of medication may be in order.

Hyperthyroidism

A disorder of the thyroid gland, known as hyperthyroidism, can cause appetite increase. An increase in the concentration of a specific thyroid hormone in the blood can cause this effect on cats’ appetite.

Boredom

If your cat has a behavioral issue such as boredom, anxiety, or depression, you may notice your cat will be looking for different things to do, such as eat. This may be accompanied by other behaviors as well, such as destruction of household furniture or aggression.

Nutritional Deficit

If your cat has a nutritional deficiency, he may be eating more because he feels his body is needing something different. When a nutritional deficiency is present, a feline may eat unusual things such as cat litter or dirt. He may also be drinking more water as well.

What to do if your Cat is Always Hungry

If your cat is eating all the time, or seeking out ways to find food, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Your medical professional will help you get to the root of the issue that is causing your cat to have an increased appetite. In order to find out what is causing this condition, your veterinarian will need to thoroughly examine your cat, which will include running tests and asking questions about his new obsession with food.

Your medical professional will perform blood work, urinalysis, and a biochemistry profile to begin. He will want to see how his organs are functioning. He may also perform tests to check for parasites in his gastrointestinal organs, and conduct any imaging techniques, such as radiography or ultrasound to check for any organ abnormalities. The blood work and urinalysis conducted will also check for certain diseases, such as diabetes, pancreas, or thyroid conditions.

Once your veterinarian makes a diagnosis as to why your cat wants to eat all the time, he will give you a variety of treatment options to help your cat become well again. He will explain to you in detail your cat’s diagnosis and answer any questions you have about treatment.

Prevention of Always Hungry

One way to prevent your cat from always being hungry is to make sure they have a balanced diet with proper nutritional content. If you are sure that your cat is getting enough food and water, and they still want more food continuously, it is important to contact her veterinarian. Early diagnosis of any conditions can help prevent more serious health concerns.

While many of these health conditions are hard to prevent, getting the medical attention your cat needs on time may help the prognosis. Regular veterinary visits and regular treatment for parasites will keep you proactive in your cat’s health. If there is an issue that your veterinarian finds during a routine examination, it may be able to be treated very quickly.

Cost of Always Hungry

If your cat has roundworms, and that is causing his excessive hunger, the cost of treatment can be roughly $250. For other conditions, namely inflammatory bowel disease, the cost can be approximately $1400.