How to prevent or stop your cat from begging for food.
Your cat has everything - from engaging toys to a Modkat. Still she follows you from room to room, crying piteously for food. Or worse, she attacks your other pets, steals food from your plate, and bites your hand when she's hungry.
Food-related issues have disrupted more than one loving home, and they've caused dissatisfaction in many others.
Let's look at why your cat begs for food, and the most effective ways to put a stop to it.
Why are my cats always hungry?
A recent article in Catsterlists five likely reasons your cat begs for food - worms, disease, boredom, depression, and nutritionally deficient food.
A cat with worms eats ravenously since the roundworms suck all the nutrition right out of your pet's body. These worms are contagious to humans, so you'll want to get rid of them as soon as possible. Your vet can test a fecal sample from your cat and prescribe an anti-worm treatment.
Diseases such as feline diabetes, hypothyroidism, and kidney disease also cause cats to overeat. If your cat consumes food voraciously but doesn't gain weight, it may be a sign of a medical problem. If your cat begs for food but won't eat it once he has it, that behavior could be a sign of food allergies or gum disease. In the first case, the vet can sell you hypoallergenic, prescription food. In the second, your vet may be able to treat gum disease and relieve any pain associated with eating.
Some cats eat out of boredom. Senior cats, in particular, may lose interest in toys, playtime, and bird watching while eating becomes their new favorite hobby. Once you've made sure there are no health problems causing your cat to overeat, stick to a sensible, feline- nutritionist-approved feeding plan for these cats. Also make sure they have access to plenty of toys, gadgets, and games. Some cat lovers swear by feeding your cat in a puzzle or a ball. It's more natural, after all, for cats to work for their food.
Boredom sometimes leads to depression and other forms of feline mental illness that prompt undesirable behaviors. Food aggression in cats can become so severe that it morphs into psychogenic abnormal feeding behavior in cats.The Journal of Veterinary Behavior published a study on the topic. Even moderate food aggression in cats can be irritating to their caregivers. Amy Shojai's excellent article in Petcha gives excellent tips for helping your pet kick food-inspired aggressive behaviors to the curb.
The final reason your cat may be hungry? He's not getting the right nutrients. Unlike us, our pets can't grab a protein bar from the pantry or fill up on a fiber-rich snack. Pay attention to what's in your cat food's ingredient list, and talk to your feline nutritionist or cat-friendly vet about diet.
Does my cat eat too much?
Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicineoffers helpful information on cat nutrition. While caring cat parents subscribe to many theories and practices about feeding, one thing is for sure, we all want our cats to have enough nutritious food to stay happy and healthy. Do your research, talk to your vet, or make an appointment with a feline nutritionist to ensure that your cat receives proper nutrition.
Am I feeding my cat sufficient amounts of food often enough during the day?
Few subjects generate more controversy among cat lovers than how much and how often to feed our pets. Some animals do well with free feeding (leaving food out) while others find it stressful or unbearably tempting.
Another popular option is switching to an automatic feeder. This approach can help make sure your cat receives the right amount of food at the right times.
Only you can decide what's right for your pet with regard to food choices and eating habits.
Trying To Eat with a Cat Around!Is not as cute as Marmalade (of Cole & Marmalade fame) made it out to be in his adorable performance on video. In fact, it can disrupt your relationship with your pet and keep your cat from leading a happy, healthy life. If your cat constantly wants to eat, look into any medical issues, make sure your pet has adequate mental and physical exercise, and offer your animal nutritious meals in adequate amounts.
Do you have a cat who begs? Did you find an effective way to stop it? Let us learn from you on Facebook or in an email.
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