Does your cat has an enormous appetite? Does he want to eat all the time no matter when was the last time you fed him?
In this article we are going to discuss possible causes, and most important, solution to excessive eating in cats, also known as polyphagia.
Remember, polyphagia itself is not a disease. It’s a symptom, either behavioral or medical. And, in order to fight it, you must find the source. So, we begin with…
1. Rule out any heath conditions possibly causing your cat wanting to eat all the time.
Visit your veterinarian, and have your cat check him in and out. Most common medical causes for excessive appetite in cats are worms, diabetes mellitus, tumor, insulin shock and many others. Most veterinary handbooks list about 10 to 20 heath conditions that express themselves as polyphagia.
Also, you should be aware that kittens, and lactating female cats might also have increased appetite.
If you find a disease, appropriate treatment must be started in order to proceed. In many cases, treating the disease is what it takes to stop cat wanting to eat all the time. However, in some cases, extra work from your side will still be necessary, as described below, or told by your vet.
2. Strictly schedule your cat’s meals.
First thing you have to do, take a look at the label on your cat food, and find a correct amount of the food necessary daily for your cat’s weight. That is, for your cat’s normal weight.
Divide this amount into two to four meals and make sure you present them on a strict schedule. Yes, take a look at a clock. Feed several meals per day strictly at the same time. And no extra treats. If you’ve been free feeding your cat, say goodbye to it.
We want to get your cat in a normal eating habits, and, without limiting his access to food, it will not be possible. And the strict schedule is to create some predictability in your cat. Since we are going to limit his food access, his stress will go up, and the food on predictable times will help to keep this limited.
3. Ignore your cat begging for food.
We can 100% assure you, when you will start limiting your cat’s access to food, he will begin to meow, purr, and walk beside you all day long. IGNORE it, it’s important.
And even more, it’s not only about not feeding your cat. Don’t shoo him, push him away or pet him upon his meows. It will only reward his behavior, and will give him a glimpse of hope, like: “He heard me, he knows I want food, so, if I insisted more…”
Cut that out, and, if your cat is meowing, purring right in your face – ignore him.
4. Decrease the boredom of your cat
But, you can’t abandon your cat completely. To redirect your cat’s thought from food, you will need to occupy his body and brain during most of the time.
Normally, in nature, cat would spend most of his day by gathering food. They hunt small rodents, and once they capture and eat one, they groom themselves, take a nap, and, upon awakening start thinking about capturing another one. This way their life is occupied with gathering food.
Household cats, on the other hand, do not need to gather food, they have it available, and, if they do not have something to fill their time with, they may start “gathering food” by purring and meowing at their owners.
And what should you do? Play with your cat! Groom him, talk to him. Give him an attention he deserves. Buy him a cat tree, toys or a dog. Installing a few perches might be very helpful as they will expand the territory available to your cat enormously.
You can read our other articles. One will teach you how to make your cat’s life interesting and the other will help you to modify your house to make it more appropriate for your cat’s basic needs. Here’s another one that will help you if your cat is waking you up every night for food.