What?s Behind My Cat?s Ravenous Appetite?

CatChannel veterinary expert Arnold Plotnick, DVM, gives possible causes for cats who eat excessively and still seem hungry.

By Arnold Plotnick | Posted: February 11, 2011, 3 a.m. EST

Printer Friendly

Q: One of my cats — female, domestic longhair, 7 years old, healthy — won't stop eating until the food is gone or she's sick. She usually finishes eating first, and then tries to take food from the others, and if they leave any and I'm not quick enough to catch her, she'll finish theirs, too. I've had her, her brother and their mother since the kittens were 5 weeks old. Their mother is a “healthy” eater, too, but the brother and mother are nothing compared to my girl. Any ideas why she eats so much?

A: A good appetite on a cat usually indicates that the cat is healthy, however, an increased or ravenous appetite can be a sign of illness in some cats. Diabetes and hyperthyroidism are two common illnesses that cause increased appetite in cats. Diabetes causes cats to drink excessively, urinate excessively, and lose weight.

Hyperthyroidism is a glandular disorder in which the thyroid gland in the neck produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone. This is usually seen in older cats — average age being around 13 or 14 — however, occasionally it can be seen in middle-aged cats.

I recommend that you have your veterinarian run some basic blood tests to make sure there isn’t a metabolic disorder that might explain your cat’s exceptionally good appetite.

Maldigestion would be another possible cause for your cat’s ravenous appetite. There is an uncommon condition in cats called Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) in which the pancreas does not produce enough enzymes necessary to properly digest food. Cats eat, but the undigested nutrients do not get absorbed by the body, and the cat eats excessively because she feels as if she is starving. Affected cats often have diarrhea and weight loss.

Diagnosis is easily achieved by running a blood test called a Trypsin-Like Immunoreactivity (TLI) test. Although you mention that your cat is healthy, I think it would be a good idea to run these tests just to rule out any serious medical cause for your cat’s overactive appetite.

 

See more articles by Arnold Plotnick, DVM>>

Printer Friendly

 Give us your opinion on
What?s Behind My Cat?s Ravenous Appetite?

Submit a Comment   Join Club
Earn 1,000 points! What's this?
Reader Comments

Shirley    Drifting, PA

7/22/2014 10:54:55 PM

My 13 year old long haired tabby always had voracious appetite ,eating other cats food also. One day last week he didn't come to eat so I took to vet. Vet told me Timber had large liver tumor and had only days to live. He didn't look like he was suffering so I took him home to see rather than put down then. He didn't look sick! The next morning he collapsed and suddenly died! Guilt is overwhelming because I didn't see he was sick. He had been to vet less than year before and was okay. I miss him so much!

Shirley    Drifting, PA

7/22/2014 10:53:04 PM

My 13 year old long haired tabby always had voracious appetite ,eating other cats food also. One day last week he didn't come to eat so I took to vet. Vet told me Timber had large liver tumor and had only days to live. He didn't look like he was suffering so I took him home to see rather than put down then. He didn't look sick! The next morning he collapsed and suddenly died! Guilt is overwhelming because I didn't see he was sick. He had been to vet less than year before and was okay. I miss him so much!

Jan    Tuscaloosa, AL

5/27/2011 6:34:59 AM

Years ago I had a healthy cat that just loved to eat. At the suggestion of his vet, I put him on a diet of finely chopped canned green beans and canned cat food. I started out with more cat food and fewer green beans. I gradually increased the green beans. After losing weight, he didn't want to eat good unless he had green beans in his food.

BABY    MAGALIA, CA

5/23/2011 9:47:41 AM

I ALSO HAD A CAT THAT ATE LIKE THAT .I CHANGED TO A GRAIN FREE FOOD. THIS SOLVED THE PROBLEM.THE CAT NO LONGER THROWS UP.

View Current Comments


Top Products

ADS BY GOOGLE