Cats also experience appetite disorders like people do. This will come as either a loss of appetite or overeating. Many cat owners wonder why their cats are always hungry. If medical reasons are ruled out, then this eating problem could have stemmed from emotional behavioral issues that can answer why your cat is overeating.
Overeating Disorder in Cats
Does your cat have one or more of the following food-seeking behavior?
- Gobbling up food
- Eating so fast and vomiting soon after
- Constantly begging for food
- Stealing food from counters, fellow pets’ bowls and other sources
- Accepting food that your cat used to decline
If your cat displays any of these gluttonous behavior then your cat could have polyphagia. Polyphagia is a medical sign meaning excessive hunger and an abnormally large intake of food. It’s not a disease per se but it’s a condition that indicates your cat has health problems like diabetes. But this isn’t exclusive to physical problems as it can also be due to emotional behavioral issues like anxiety and depression. So, putting aside medical reasons, here are five underlying reasons on why your cat is overeating.
One of the first reasons why your cat is overeating is boredom. Indoor cats don’t need to do a lot for survival. Since food and shelter is available, your cat’s won’t need to exert effort. Yes, they can still play and explore but living in a controlled environment like your house will give your cat limited space to explore and stuff to play with. For these lack of stimulating activities, cats can get bored and when boredom strikes, eating becomes an enticing and rewarding activity.
Apparently, humans aren’t the only ones doing stress-eating. Cats also tend to eat a lot when they’re stressed and unable to cope with changes in their environment. For instance, a new baby or a new pet, a loss of a beloved owner or fellow pet, these can contribute to emotional stress for your cat. When this happens, your cat may eat a lot to cope.
Supposedly, cats tend to overeat when exposed to a cold environment. According to ASPCA, the lower the temperature gets, a cat’s body needs more energy to maintain its correct temperature. This means feeling cold can cause felines to burn more calories and thus make them feel more hungry.
Another reason why your cat is overeating is food bowl competition. When you have two or more pets in the house, your cat could be gobbling up his or her food in fear that it gets stolen. This causes a cat to eat faster and increase food intake. So, try to supervise your pets’ meals to help them feel guarded and confident. If not, you can feed your cat in a separate room to keep him or her from feeling anxious when eating.
An increase in appetite or overeating in your cat can be due to depression. Boredom and loneliness are two factors that make cats depressed. This lack of stimulation and interaction can trigger polyphagia in your cat. Also, pain, whether in physical, emotional or mental form, can lead to cat depression.
There are three ways on how you can help your cats against these emotional behavioral issues: supervision, interaction and stimulation. Supervise your cat’s food intake and eating environment. Interact with your kitty and provide stimulating toys and activities. If you do so, you can keep your cat from polyphagia or overeating.