Why Is My Cat So Skinny but Eats All the Time?

Cats love rich and flavorful tastes, especially if their owners are enjoying eating that food. Spicy food for cats is no exception to the rule because it has a very

We know that overindulging in food leads to weight gain, so its hard to understand how a cat could overeat but stay very lean. Parasitic worms (tapeworms, roundworms, and hookworms) can mean that your cat eats a lot yet loses weight.

Diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and inflammatory bowel disease can interfere with food absorption. Occasionally, neither medical nor psychological factors are to blame for a cats excessive hunger. Not only that, but it may also become addicted to the sensory pleasure of eating, especially if they dont have any other forms of stimulation and enrichment.

If youve noticed some weight loss along with the increased appetite, your cat probably has an illness. If you can tick off many of these symptoms, its quite likely that your cats excessive eating is due to an endocrine or digestive disorder. The cats energy requirements may change due to pregnancy/nursing, or recovery from physical trauma (surgery or illness).

According to NAS , an average domestic cat has the following daily kilocalorie (kcal) requirements: If you feed them 4-8 small meals per day at consistent intervals, your cat is less likely to experience hunger pangs. Well now explore the various explanations for weight loss among cats that seem to be eating plenty of food:

Cats fed leftovers may also develop deficiencies if they dont consume a wide range of foods. If your cat is ravenously hungry all of the time, this might indicate that it lacks a vital nutrient in its diet. What if youre already providing your cat with a nutritious, calorically dense diet, and its still constantly begging for food?

Like hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus (type 2) is relatively common in aging cats (10 years+). Diabetes is sometimes quite difficult to distinguish from other diseases, although the Blue Cross has summarized the symptoms to look out for: Acromegaly is linked to diabetes because cats with this disease have difficulty maintaining a healthy blood glucose level.

A large body Broad face Larger than average feet Protruding lower jaw Bloating around the stomach area If your cat eats a lot but is skinny, another possibility could be feline inflammatory bowel disease (FIBD). Due to this inflammation, food cannot be absorbed properly, so it is usually thrown up as foamy vomit or comes out as loose stools.

As youd imagine, the cat cannot absorb enough nutrition from its food, so itll constantly feel hungry. Food intolerances and allergies Stress Genetic abnormalities in the GI tract and immune system Parasites Bacteria in the stomach, intestines, and colon Your vet may suggest switching to hypoallergenic cat food or managing stress in the household.

Parasitic worms such as tapeworms, roundworms, and hookworms can interfere with digestion and increase a cats appetite. If your cat frequently plays outside, or you have other pets in the household, the risk of contracting worms increases. Some cancerous tumors secrete an excessive amount of hormone (IGF-1, for example), which can raise the cats metabolism, so its more difficult for them to satisfy their hunger.

Additional cancer symptoms include nosebleeds, discharge from eyes or mouth, seizures, and bloating/swelling. If your cat is fed a good-quality diet, is fit and healthy, but is always begging for food, it may be experiencing psychological/emotional hunger. If your cat doesnt get much attention or opportunity to play, the sensory pleasure of eating may become central to its life.

According to the Telegraph , cats that beg for food may have a psychological addiction rather than a physical need or a medical condition. Granted, if your cat is overeating out of boredom or addiction, itll probably see some weight gain. However, owners are quite bad at recognizing weight gain in their own pets, especially if a cat has a long, thick coat.

If a vet determines that there is nothing medically wrong with your cat, its excessive hunger may be caused by psychological factors.

Why is my cat eating a lot but not gaining weight?

Eating and Losing Weight. Cats that seem to always be hungry and never gain weight are often diagnosed with some sort of an ailment. These include: Intestinal parasites: Commonly referred to as worms, intestinal parasites feed off of what a cat eats, stealing a large percentage of the nutrition from the food.

How can I fatten up my skinny cat?

Find a Type of Food That Fits Your Cat’s Preferences. ….Make Sure the Food Fits Their Nutritional Needs. ….Feed Small, Frequent Meals. ….Try Warming Up Your Cat’s Wet Food. ….Offer the Right Snacks Between Meals. ….Decrease Your Cat’s Anxiety.

Why is my cat naturally skinny?

There are two main causes for a skinny cat: Either they aren’t eating enough, or they’re expending more calories than they are taking in. They may not be eating enough due to stress, dental disease and/or nausea or a host of other reasons. … The other reason that a cat might be too skinny is a lack of access to food.

You know that something strange is going on with your cat, he appears to be skinny and may even be losing weight, yet his appetite has never been better! What could be causing this, and do you need to worry? This article explores some of the common reasons this could be occurring, and what you should do.

A blood test is advised to screen for other conditions and to measure your cats thyroxine levels (called T4). Left untreated your cat could suffer from high blood pressure (leading to eye problems), digestive issues, and heart abnormalities.

Diabetes is caused by a reduced ability to produce insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar levels. Diagnosis is usually made after a physical examination and blood tests, which show high levels of glucose (sugar). Not treating diabetes properly can lead to complications such as problems with your cats nervous system, eyesight issues, and a serious condition called ketoacidosis which can be fatal.

Image Credit: Pixabay The cause of your cats weight loss could be an inappropriate diet such as an energy-activity mismatch. Making sure that your cat is on a good quality complete diet that is appropriate for their life stage (kitten, adult, senior) will help. To prevent this from happening you should ensure your cat has routine worming treatments, particularly if they are hunters or go outside a lot.

Other signs of stress in cats include hiding away more than normal, having accidents in the house (urine and feces), and changes in temperament.

Especially as cats get older, there are several conditions that could cause them to seem especially hungry, eat like crazy, drink a lot of water, but still get thin. You will need to visit your veterinarian to get a real diagnosis for this, but one of the common causes is a condition known as hyperthyroidism.

Its major symptoms are tremendous hunger, weight loss, and unusually frequent water intake.

Calorie Deficit

There’s a chance that your cat is genuinely hungry. This could be because you are not feeding it enough, another animal is stealing its food, or its energy needs have significantly increased.

Malnutrition

If you feed your cat enough calories but the food is devoid of essential nutrients, it may develop incessant food cravings.

Psychological and Emotional

If your cat is bored or lonely, it might learn that begging for food gets it more attention. Not only that, but it may also become addicted to the sensory pleasure of eating, especially if they don’t have any other forms of stimulation and enrichment. If your cat is overeating due to psychological factors, you’d probably see some weight gain.

Physical Illness

If you’ve noticed some weight loss along with the increased appetite, your cat probably has an illness. Various diseases can cause polyphagia.These diseases interfere with the cat’s hormones, metabolism, and digestive health. Unfortunately, many of these diseases are common in older age, but there are treatments available. So, if your cat is always begging for food, keep an open mind about why.

Calorie Requirements for Cats

If you’re concerned about the severity of your cat’s behavior, see how many symptoms of polyphagia you can recognize:If you can tick off many of these symptoms, it’s quite likely that your cat’s excessive eating is due to an endocrine or digestive disorder.

Feeding Schedule for Cats

If your cat’s hunger seems out of control, consider how regularly you are feeding it. Cats love to graze on food throughout the day.If you feed them 4-8 small meals per day at consistent intervals, your cat is less likely to experience hunger pangs.When it comes to feeding your cat, consistency is paramount. If your cat is forced to wait hours and hours for a meal, it’ll be ravenous by the time the food arrives.If your feeding schedule is irregular, your cat may develop a condition called psychogenic abnormal feeding behavior. This can cause them to steal food, binge eat, and constantly pester you for food.

Thyroid Issues

Once you’ve checked the calorie content, you should also check its nutritional content. Cats fed poor-quality cat food can develop nutritional deficiencies, even if they are consuming large amounts of food.Cats fed leftovers may also develop deficiencies if they don’t consume a wide range of foods. Deficiencies in the following vitamins and minerals can increase a cat’s food cravings:If your cat is ravenously hungry all of the time, this might indicate that it lacks a vital nutrient in its diet. You can prevent this from happening by purchasing good-quality ‘complete’ cat food.What if you’re already providing your cat with a nutritious, calorically dense diet, and it’s still constantly begging for food? In that case, your cat may have one of the following medical conditions:

Feline Acromegaly

Like hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus (type 2) is relatively common in aging cats (10 years+). Diabetes occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the cells respond inappropriately to insulin.If insulin is low, glucose cannot be transported around the bloodstream effectively. This can lead to lethargy and extreme hunger. Diet is thought to play a key role in the development of this disease. Unfortunately, some mass-produced cat foods contain large amounts of carbohydrates and hardly any protein.This has contributed to the rise in type 2 diabetes. Cats living in the wild would eat a high-protein diet, so they may be less susceptible to this disease. Diabetes is sometimes quite difficult to distinguish from other diseases, although the Blue Cross has summarized the symptoms to look out for:The standard diabetes treatment is insulin injections and improving your cat’s diet.

Worms

If your cat eats a lot but is skinny, another possibility could be feline inflammatory bowel disease (FIBD).FIBD occurs when the walls of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract become inflamed. The GI tract is comprised of the esophagus, stomach, intestines, and colon. Inflammation in any of these locations can cause FIBD.Due to this inflammation, food cannot be absorbed properly, so it is usually thrown up as foamy vomit or comes out as loose stools. As you’d imagine, the cat cannot absorb enough nutrition from its food, so it’ll constantly feel hungry.Scientists are still learning what actually causes FIBD. Given that FIBD can affect any part of the GI tract, there is a range of causes:Your vet may suggest switching to hypoallergenic cat food or managing stress in the household. If these treatments aren’t appropriate, your cat might be prescribed a course of antibiotics/anti-inflammatories.

Psychological Reasons Cats Overeat

Is there really a link between cancer and excessive eating? Having cancer may impact a cat’s appetite. For example:Nevertheless, cancer is less common than many other conditions mentioned above, and cancer decreases rather than increases a cat’s appetite. Additional cancer symptoms include nosebleeds, discharge from eyes or mouth, seizures, and bloating/swelling.

Boredom

If your cat doesn’t get much attention or opportunity to play, the sensory pleasure of eating may become central to its life. This can cause your cat to overeat or constantly beg for food.

Addiction

Cats can develop an addiction to mealtimes due to the sensory pleasure of the food and the attention they receive at mealtimes.This double-stimulation can be addictive for a cat and cause it to keep begging for food all the time. For example, if multiple family members feed the cat throughout the day, it may become addicted to foodIf you feed your cat leftovers from the table, it may start to become addicted to the extra food/attention. Even if you refuse to feed your cat from the table the next day, it may still pester you for food.According to the Telegraph, cats that beg for food may have a psychological ‘addiction’ rather than a physical need or a medical condition.

Hyperthyroidism

This condition is commonly seen in older cats, and perhaps gives us the most obvious example of a skinny, hungry cat. These cats can often have quite dramatic weight loss, yet have excessively keen appetites. Sometimes other symptoms are seen too such as tummy upsets, changes in temperament/activity, increased thirst, and an increased heart rate.Hyperthyroidism is caused by the increased production of thyroxine, a hormone that controls metabolism. This occurs because the thyroid gland gets a growth – it’s usually benign, but in very rare cases a cancerous tumor can be the cause of these symptoms too (thyroid adenocarcinoma).Diagnosis is usually made from a physical examination and blood samples. Your veterinarian may be suspicious of the condition after examining your cat. They can sometimes feel the enlarged gland in the throat, and hear abnormalities in the heart such as an elevated rate and change in rhythm. A blood test is advised to screen for other conditions and to measure your cat’s thyroxine levels (called T4).If your cat is found to have hyperthyroidism there are a few different treatment options.Hyperthyroidism can be managed with many cats leading to a good quality of life after diagnosis. Left untreated your cat could suffer from high blood pressure (leading to eye problems), digestive issues, and heart abnormalities. Untreated hyperthyroidism can eventually become fatal over several months.

Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes) can cause cats to lose weight. They will also commonly have increased thirst and urinate more frequently, and some of these cats will have an increased appetite (called ‘polyphagia’).Diabetes is caused by a reduced ability to produce insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar levels. This can be type I, an autoimmune condition (common in humans but rare in cats), or type II, caused by abnormalities in the pancreas and also insulin resistance in the tissues in the body. It is much more common in overweight cats that aren’t very active.Diagnosis is usually made after a physical examination and blood tests, which show high levels of glucose (sugar). Urine samples can also be useful as high levels of glucose can often be found here too.Treatment often involves supplementing the cat with insulin, which is done through regular daily injections. Dietary management can be very useful in some cases too. Not treating diabetes properly can lead to complications such as problems with your cat’s nervous system, eyesight issues, and a serious condition called ketoacidosis which can be fatal.

Inappropriate diet

The cause of your cat’s weight loss could be an inappropriate diet such as an energy-activity mismatch. This might happen if a very energetic cat isn’t receiving enough food. Make sure you double-check the packet guidelines are feeding your cats ideal body weight. Also bear in mind that some cats will need a bit more than the guidelines (if they are very active), and equally some will need a bit less.Making sure that your cat is on a good quality complete diet that is appropriate for their life stage (kitten, adult, senior) will help. Home-cooked diets can be very hard to get right and need advice from a board-certified veterinary nutritionist.

Parasites

Large numbers of parasites could cause weight loss. Worms such as roundworms and tapeworms living in your cat’s digestive tract can absorb some of the nutrients your cat is eating, causing them to lose weight.Cats with parasites may also show other symptoms such as diarrhea or vomiting. To prevent this from happening you should ensure your cat has routine worming treatments, particularly if they are hunters or go outside a lot.

Stress

Some cats can eat more due to stress, but they may also be burning that off through nervous energy. Stress-induced vomiting may mean that they aren’t keeping down the food they are eating too.Other signs of stress in cats include hiding away more than normal, having accidents in the house (urine and feces), and changes in temperament. Cats can become stressed by things such as moving house, a new baby in the home, new pets moving into the house, and new cats in the neighborhood outside. It is important to rule out other health conditions before attributing your cat’s lean weight to stress.

Gastrointestinal disease

There are a variety of digestive disorders which could mean your cat may still have a keen appetite but not be processing their food properly. Conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease and some cancers may cause vomiting or diarrhea. This can cause weight loss as your cat cannot effectively digest their food. If your cat is showing signs of poor digestion, then you should contact your veterinarian for advice.

What will my veterinarian do?

If you are concerned about your cat’s weight and appetite, you should take your pet to your veterinarian for a check over. If your cat goes outside a lot, you may not be seeing any vomiting or diarrhea that might be occurring, so do not assume it is not happening. Weight loss may be the only sign you notice.Your veterinarian will give your pet a check over initially but may also advise further tests. Blood samples can screen your cat’s general health looking at liver, kidneys, blood sugar, and thyroid hormones. Urine samples can screen for infections and elevated sugar levels, and fecal samples will identify any parasites or bacterial infections. Sometimes x-rays or ultrasound imaging may be required to reach a diagnosis.Your veterinarian will talk you through the process step by step, and tailor any recommended diagnostics or treatment to your cat.

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