If your cat won't stop stuffing her face, she may not be to blame. An insatiable appetite could be the result of simple binge eating, but it can also indicate serious health problems. If she can't tear herself away from the food dish, you may need to consult a vet.
Diabetes is a common disease that affects cats just as it does humans. When a cat develops diabetes -- it's most common in old and obese cats -- she has difficulty either producing or utilizing insulin. When that happens, her body turns to its energy stores, like fat and proteins built up over time, and blood sugar increases to unhealthy levels. Because of all of this, the cat develops an intense appetite, but she actually loses weight. Diabetes is treated on an individual basis, so take your cat to a vet for an official diagnosis and to plan a course of treatment.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when the cat's thyroid gland works overtime, producing excess hormones that can eventually lead to fatal heart and kidney problems. This is often caused by a benign tumor, which can be surgically removed or treated with medication to help control the dangerous hormone levels. Like diabetes, your cat may develop an insatiable appetite, but she will lose weight. Other symptoms include vomiting, increased heart rate and hypertension that presents in the form of aggression, nervous behavior and general anxiety.
Some cats are just greedy, ravenous fatties. It's true. While some cats know their limits, others will continue to scarf down whatever food is put in front of them. This, combined with general lethargy and a cushy lifestyle, can easily lead to obesity. And while that tubby kitty is great for snuggling, obesity can lead to serious, debilitating conditions like diabetes and arthritis. If your cat checks out at the vet but still can't control her own urges, put her on a diet. Instead of leaving food out all the time, give her carefully portioned, scheduled feedings. It will be an adjustment, but she'll be healthier for it.
Food Absorption Problems
Your cat's body may have trouble absorbing food and nutrients for a variety of reasons, including internal parasites, bowel issues and cancer. When your cat doesn't get the nutrients she needs, she may eat ravenously in a desperate attempt to nourish herself. Because so many conditions can cause your cat to stop absorbing nutrition, it is crucial that you see a vet as soon as possible if you notice your cat suddenly develop an insatiable appetite, especially if she continues to lose weight all the while.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.