Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Cats > Why is My Cat Always Hungry? 7 Vet Reviewed Reasons & Solutions

Why is My Cat Always Hungry? 7 Vet Reviewed Reasons & Solutions

maine coon cat eating

Vet approved

Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Veterinarian, MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Is your cat always waiting eagerly by the food bowl and dogging your steps in the kitchen? Does it seem like it’s got a ravenous appetite that won’t ever be sated? Or has your cat started losing weight no matter how much you feed it?

Cats should have a healthy appetite, but if hunger seems to be taking over your cat’s day, it’s possible there’s more to it than just getting enough calories. Bear in mind that cats naturally like to eat little and often, around 8 to 10 small meals a day. Excessive hunger could be a sign that your cat’s nutritional needs aren’t being met, but it can also mean that there’s an underlying problem—emotional or medical.divider-cat

The 7 Reasons Your Cat Is Always Hungry

1. Boredom

If your cat is trying to get food throughout the day, but there’s no sign of anything else wrong, a common cause is boredom or loneliness. Just like humans, cats can be emotional eaters. Food can also be a way to occupy time if your cat is bored throughout the day. In the wild, food goes hand in hand with hunting, which can take up a big chunk of a cat’s waking hours, so replacing that with a few minutes of chowing down can leave your cat with too much time on its paws.

Solution

Meeting your cat’s emotional needs should solve this. You can replace your cat’s feeder with a puzzle box, add in more human-cat interaction throughout the day, or invest in some great toys.


2. Infrequent Feedings

Many owners feed their cat one big meal every day. For many cats, that’s fine—in fact, they might even leave some of their food behind for later! But one meal a day might not be the healthiest choice for your cat. Going a full 24 hours without food might mean that your cat is hungry well before the next meal—even if they’ve already gotten enough calories for the day.

Solution

This one is easy—try splitting up your cat’s feedings into two or more smaller meals. By feeding your cat on a more frequent schedule, you’re meeting those hunger cues at times that are a little more natural. You can also serve your cat a little less food and allow a few treats throughout the day.

Hepper 360 Cat Feeder, Stainless Steel, Anti-Chew...
  • NO MESS - The 360° tray on this cat food and water bowl set has a raised design to catch and...
  • WHISKER FRIENDLY - Shallow and wide metal containers with flat bottoms ensure your kitty can enjoy...
  • CHEW-SAFE MATERIALS - Kittens and cats love chewing on silicone and soft rubber - but it's a choking...

High-quality cat food is an important part of fostering a long and healthy life for your cat but the right cat food and water dish will promote good posture, offer whisker relief, and aid in good digestion. The Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl is our favorite bowl since it offers all of the above and is beautifully crafted to meet modern home stylings. The wide tray design catches any food and water spills and the entire setup is dishwasher safe. Learn more about the Hepper NomNom Cat Bowl here.

At Pet Keen, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!


3. Growth

It’s usually recommended to let growing kittens eat as much as they want so that they’ll have plenty of energy to build muscle and grow to their adult size. But did you know that the “growth phase” of life can last for two years or longer? If you’ve got a young cat, you might be underfeeding it without realizing it. Just like a gangly 15-year-old human might seem to have a bottomless stomach, your “teenage” cat might still need extra calories, even if it’s reached something near adult size.

Solution

If your cat is under two and always seems to be hungry, there’s a good chance they just need a little more than a mature adult cat of the same weight. Stick with high-protein, good-quality food and cut back if your cat starts showing signs of being overweight.


4. The Wrong Food

Your cat might be getting enough calories on paper, but that doesn’t mean its nutritional needs are being met. If your cat’s food is lower in protein or doesn’t have enough of some nutrients, your cat might be constantly hungry. Intolerances and allergies can also stop your cat from getting all the nutritional value out of a specific food. Nutritional needs also change with age. Senior cats can’t digest fat and protein as well as they used to, meaning that they might not get all the nutrition they need from a standard cat food.

Cat eating pet food in a heart shaped bowl
Image By: Sharaf Maksumov, Shutterstock
Solution

Try changing food brands. Look for high-quality cat food with a high protein content, chelated minerals, and whole grains. If your cat has bowel problems or other signs of food sensitivities, consider getting your cat checked by your vet, just in case. And if you’ve got a senior cat, consider switching to a senior-formulated food.


5. Diabetes

Sometimes, increased appetite has a medical cause. Diabetes Mellitus is a condition in which your cat can’t properly manage insulin levels, leading to an inability to process sugars. One of the most common symptoms of diabetes is an increased appetite. Cats with diabetes often lose weight despite eating a normal amount. Other common symptoms include increased thirst and urination.

Solution

If your cat has signs of diabetes, a vet trip is crucial. Giving your cat a treatment plan can help them to stabilize their weight and have all nutritional needs met. Treatment varies depending on how the diabetes expresses itself, with some cats needing regular insulin therapy and others needing only a change in diet.


6. Hyperthyroidism

Another common medical cause of increased appetite is hyperthyroidism. Cats with hyperthyroidism overproduce thyroid hormones, leading to a variety of health issues. Like diabetes, hyperthyroidism can lead to weight loss, increased appetite, increased thirst, and increased urination. Another common symptom is changes in coat texture, with fur becoming greasy, limp, or matted.

sick cat coughing at house porch
Image Credit: udeenmajid, Shutterstock
Solution

If your cat is diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, there are a variety of treatment options. Some cats are treated with regular medication or a diet change. These changes will help you manage your cat’s health throughout its life. There are also options that will cure hyperthyroidism permanently. In some cases, surgery to remove the thyroid is the best option. It’s also possible to use radiation treatment to shrink the thyroid. Both of these solutions have risks but can be a permanent solution.


7. Cancer

Cancer is usually associated with a decreased appetite, but some types or stages of cancer can make your cat more hungry instead. That’s because the cancer stops your cat from absorbing nutrients properly or increases their calorie requirements leading to constant hunger.

Solution

Every situation is different when it comes to cancer, and there are many different treatment options. Your vet can help you walk through the best scenarios and options for your cat.

divider-cat

Last Thoughts

Many cats seem to be constantly hungry, but that doesn’t mean that it’s normal or healthy. Most of the time, an excess appetite can be fixed with a few changes to diet or routine. But it can also be a symptom of major medical problems. If your cat experiences a sudden increase in hunger—especially if it’s losing weight as well—it’s important to get a vet check in case there’s something seriously wrong.

See Also:


Featured Image Credit: Fayzulin Serg, Shutterstock

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets