One bite, two bites and suddenly your kitty's food bowl is empty and she's letting out ear-piercing meows for more chow. While her behavior might seem absurd, the blame may rest with an illness or her medication. Or she might just have a love affair with food.
You can't see it, but your kitty's thyroid gland is of huge importance to her overall health. It's responsible for pumping out thyroid hormone, which regulates your cat's metabolic system. Broken down into layman's terms, it's largely what determines how much "fuel" your kitty's body has. In the case of hyperthyroidism, the gland starts sending out too much thyroid hormone, and your feline's body starts burning way more energy than it used to. The end result is her munching down more to compensate for that loss of energy. Your vet will bring in one of those scary needles to draw blood from your kitty so he can test it to determine if she's suffering from hyperthyroidism.
Medicine is supposed to help your lazy meowing girl recover from an illness, but many drugs come with side effects. Prednisone, used to put to rest those awful autoimmune disorders, cancer and other illnesses, can cause your kitty to eat mountains of food whereas before she only ate molehills. An often-prescribed medicine for feline seizures, phenobarbital, will also stimulate your cat's appetite. These side effects are always listed on the medicine's package or bottle, but do call your vet even if you think your cat's sudden binge eating is caused by the medicine she's taking. It never hurts to double-check with the doctor.
A kitty normally breaks down sugar for energy and uses insulin to do so. When that insulin suddenly packs up and leaves or cannot be used properly, she has a condition that's all too common to humans: diabetes. Unable to break down sugar for energy, her body instead opts to break down fat and protein. You then have a feline who's constantly hungry, drinks tons of water and still manages to lose an unhealthy amount of weight. A urinalysis and blood test can determine if diabetes is the culprit to your kitty's problems. Putting her on a change of diet and giving her medications is usually necessary to control the nasty disease.
If medicine or illnesses can't be blamed for your cat's urge to eat all the time, she might just be one of those cats. That might seem simplistic, but some felines are a bit gluttonous. If you leave food out for your kitty all day, she might take you up on the offer and spend a bit too much time with her face in her food bowl. Stop the free-feeding and instead give her set amounts of food two or three times a day, and be consistent. Don't feed her just because she cries out. If you do that, she's going to quickly learn that she gets whatever her kitty heart desires if she misbehaves. Always talk to your vet before assuming she has a case of the eternal munchies.
- Michigan State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital: Hyperthyroidism and Radioiodine (131-I) for Clients
- Wedgewood Pharmacy: Prednisolone and Prednisone for Dogs and Cats
- PetPlace.com: Phenobarbital
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Feline Diabetes
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Feeding Your Adult Cat
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