9 Reasons Your Cat Is Always Hungry

9 Reasons Your Cat Is Always Hungry

Most cats happily eat whatever is offered, whether it be a meal or a delicious treat. However, if they suddenly begin scarfing down their food and meowing constantly for more, it may indicate an underlying problem that should be addressed by a veterinarian. Here we will discuss normal appetites in cats, signs of hunger, and possible causes for changes in a cat’s appetite. 

Hunger in Cats: What’s Normal?

cats should be satisfied after finishing a meal as long as the proper amount of food has been offered. Constant vocalizing or scarfing down food when that is not the cat’s typical behavior could indicate a problem. 

Kittens are more likely to be hungry because they are in the growth phase, which means they need more calories to meet their bodies’ demands. Pet parents may also wonder “Why is my senior cat always hungry?” Senior cats may have increased appetites due to normal physiological changes that occur as cats age. 

There are no cat breeds that are hungrier than others. However, similar to people, cats are individuals with unique feeding habits. What is normal for one cat may be abnormal for another. What’s most important is knowing what is typical for your individual cat. If you have any concerns, promptly bring them to your veterinarian’s attention so that appropriate treatment can be given.

Do Cats Get Full?

Cats normally stop eating when they are full. Unlike most dogs who will eat until they are miserable, most cats are not necessarily obsessed with food. The majority of cats eat slowly and stop when they feel content.

Signs a Cat Is Always Hungry

Normally, cats vocalize when they are anticipating a meal. Pet parents may hear long, loud meows until the food bowl is filled, and then the cat sits calmly and eats. 

Polyphagia, or extreme hunger, in cats can cause abnormal behaviors. If a cat is excessively hungry, they may ravenously eat their food, and then promptly vocalize for more. They may also become aggressive when a pet parent or other household pet is near their food bowl. Some cats may seek out food by rummaging through garbage cans. A cat may be found directly eating out of the cat food bag if it is left within reach. Stealing food from a housemate’s bowl or even the dog’s food bowl may also indicate a problem.

Why Is My Cat Always Hungry? 9 Possible Reasons

There are various reasons for cats to appear constantly hungry, which range in severity from mild causes, such as boredom, to more serious concerns, such as underlying health issues. Let’s take a look at the nine most common causes of increased appetite in cats.

Poor Diet

If a cat is not receiving a nutritionally complete diet, they may be lacking in certain nutrients or protein. Some lower quality foods contain filler ingredients, such as corn or wheat, that may initially fill a cat up but leave them unsatisfied shortly after. To avoid this, pet parents should choose a diet that meets AAFCO standards and has protein listed as the first ingredient. (Unless the cat has special dietary needs, in which case pet parents should work with their veterinarian to choose the right diet.) Likewise, if a pet parent is not feeding enough food, a cat may appear constantly hungry because they are not getting enough calories. To avoid this, pet parents should look at the label on the back of the cat food and feed according to the cat’s weight.


Cats may be seeking out food simply to give themselves something to do. Cats need mental stimulation throughout the day to prevent boredom and improve well-being. This can be achieved through play, climbing, socialization, training, and quality time with a pet parent.

Increased activity

Cats who are more active burn more calories and therefore need more food. If a cat is provided more vertical climbing space or a new cat is introduced into the home, for example, calorie needs will increase as play time increases. 


Kittens are growing fast so they require more calories than adult cats and tend to eat more frequently. Likewise, as cats age, their metabolisms and body processes also change, which can result in increased appetites in seniors.


Senior cats are commonly diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, which is an endocrine disorder that causes high levels of thyroid hormones in the body. Thyroid hormones increase metabolism, which results in increased appetite for hyperthyroid cats.


Middle-aged and older cats may be diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, a condition marked by insulin deficiency. Without enough insulin, cells in the cat’s body do not receive adequate glucose for energy. Since the cells are essentially starving, a cat feels excessive hunger. 


Many types of cancers in cats can alter metabolism and increase hunger. For example, gastrointestinal lymphoma can prevent nutrient absorption and increase caloric needs thereby increasing appetite.

Intestinal parasites

These parasites may prevent nutrient absorption and lead to vomiting and diarrhea. A cat may feel increased hunger as the parasite feeds on what the cat eats. Tapeworms are a type of intestinal parasite that may cause increased hunger.


Certain medications can cause hunger as a side effect. Appetite stimulants, corticosteroids, benzodiazepines, and vitamin B are examples of medications that may make cats more hungry.

How to Deal With a Cat That Is Always Hungry

Having a cat who is always hungry can be concerning as well as a bit frustrating. If your cat suddenly seems like they can’t get enough food, it’s time to visit the veterinarian to determine the underlying cause of your cat’s hunger. A veterinarian can rule out medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes, and cancer that may be contributing to your cat’s increased appetite. To do so, blood work and urinalysis may be completed. Additional imaging tests, such as radiographs (X-rays) or ultrasound may also be necessary. If a medical condition is diagnosed, it can be treated with appropriate medication so that your cat’s appetite will return to normal. 

If medical conditions are ruled out, pet parents may benefit from discussing appropriate feeding guidelines with their veterinarian, including choosing a well-balanced diet and feeding the proper daily amounts at the right frequency. 

Additional measures that can be taken include ensuring your cat is getting enough mental stimulation and exercise throughout the day to stave off boredom.

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