My cat has a very specific super power. She seems to know the exact moment I open eyelids first thing in the morning and will commence her ritualistic morning cry for food. It does not stop until there is food in her bowl. I grew concerned over my cat’s obsession with food. Anytime I’m in the kitchen, she is crying and circling around my feet, begging for more food. I took her to the vet to make sure nothing was physically wrong with her. Turns out she is parasite and disease free so I had to do some research to get to the bottom of this food obsession. If you have a cat who is food obsessed, maybe these tips will help.
Eliminate Medical Reasons
If your cat acts like you are feeding them for the first time in years every time you open a can of food, there could be a physical reason as to why they are so hell-bent on eating. Parasites, hyperthyroidism and diabetes are just a few of the reasons your cat’s behaviors around food have altered. Before assuming a psychological reason, such as an eating disorder, run some tests with your vet to eliminate the possibility of a serious illness causing your cat to act so ravenous.
Make Sure Your Cat Is Getting The Proper Nutrients
If your cat isn’t getting enough of the right nutrients he or she may feel hungry even when they’ve eaten a ton of food. When you are at your vet, discuss what food you are feeding your cat and confirm it is the best for their dietary needs.
Be Sure Your Cat Is Getting Enough Attention
Cats may beg and cry for food because it is one of the few moments you are truly dedicating to them. High levels of stress can cause a cat to go cuckoo for food – in fact, vets have recently diagnosed a cat with “psychogenic abnormal feeding behavior,” which involves begging and food related aggression. To combat this condition, experts suggest structured play time and elimination of potential stressors in the cat’s home. If you and your vet have eliminated physical illness as the reason for their larger-than-life appetite, start structuring in scheduled one-on-one play time with your cat. Even 15-20 minutes a day can make a world of difference.
Do Not Leave Bowls Of Food Out
Some cats can have a bowl of food out all day and only eat when they are truly hungry. For other cats, they will eat themselves sick. If your cat is constantly hungry, you may absentmindedly refill their bowl any time they cry out during the day. To keep your cat from becoming overweight and to help break the begging habit, only have food out at scheduled feeding times.
Break the Crying Habit
If your cat bolts into the kitchen every time you are in there, gently grab your cat, bring him or her to another area of the house, and calm him or her down. Keep your cat in this room until the begging stops. When it is feeding time, shower your cat with lots of positive reinforcement for eating when he is supposed to eat. These two techniques should help curb the begging habit of a constantly hungry kitty. If your cat continues to beg and whine whenever you are near the food bowl, just ignore your cat. Do not positively or negatively reward the crying behavior. It may get worse before it gets better, so patience is a must.
Again, it must be stressed that you have to eliminate any potential illnesses or physical conditions with your vet as the reason why your cat is so food obsessed. If there are no physical reasons why your cat is begging for food and you have tried the aforementioned tips, it may be time to talk to a behaviorist for a plan of action to eradicate unwanted begging and food aggression.
Do you have a cat whose stomach seems to be bottomless? What have you done to keep your cat from driving you crazy while begging for food? Let us know in the comments.