CATS; Why they are hungry most of the time, and why they have hairball problems

Is your cat always hungry? There may be more than a few extra pounds at stake. From hyperthyroidism to diabetes, here’s why a cat won’t stop eating.

  • Have you ever thought, “Why is my cat always hungry?” You’re not alone. As a cat guardian, you know that a  cat who won’t eat for a day or so means a trip to the vet. But did you know that a cat who is always hungry can be a sign of health problems, both physical and psychological? Here are some answers to the question, “Why is my cat always hungry?”

1. Your cat has worms

Cat covering eyes.

A cat who is always hungry might have roundworms. Photography by Katerina Maksymenko | Shutterstock.

Is your cat always hungry? Roundworms can mean a cat who is always hungry because the worms are taking all the nutrition from his food before he can get it. Ironically, a roundworm-infested cat may look fat, as the parasites cause his body to swell.

Roundworms are contagious to humans, so if you suspect your cat has them, bring a fecal sample to your vet to have it tested.

2. Your cat has hyperthyroidism or diabetes

These diseases both cause a vast increase in appetite: hyperthyroidism does so because your cat’s metabolism is burning too many calories, and diabetes because your cat’s body can’t convert sugar to energy — and the nutrition doesn’t even get into his body in the first place. If your cat is always hungry, eating constantly and still losing weight, and especially if he’s also drinking a lot of water, get him to the vet as soon as possible.

3. Your cat is bored or lonely

A fat white cat with a bowl of half-eaten cat food.

A cat who won’t stop eating might just be bored or hungry. Photography ©Svetlanais | Thinkstock.

A simple answer to, “Why is my cat always hungry?” Just like humans, some cats will eat because they’re bored. The solution to this problem is to provide your cat with more stimulation and to stop leaving kibble out for him to munch on, or free feeding him, all day. If you want to have a supply of food available,  provide it in puzzle toys, which will make your cat work for his meal. This will help him burn calories and keep his mind engaged.

Be sure to provide other intellectually-stimulating toys (or maybe even a kitty friend) to keep his mind off his dish. You can also buy automatic feeders, which provide access to a set amount of food at set times of the day.

4. Your cat is depressed

Is your cat always hungry? Overeating can be a self-soothing behavior for cats  who are depressedor grieving. I’ve seen this happen: I once met a couple who had a cat they’d exiled to the basement after their baby was born. In response, the cat started eating to self-soothe, and the result was incredibly sad.

If your cat is depressed, try drawing him out of his shell with gentle interactive play. Give him “love blinks” — close your eyes slowly, leave them closed for a second, and then open them slowly, while thinking “I love you.”

5. Your cat’s food isn’t meeting his nutritional needs

You know how when you eat fast food, you’re usually hungry an hour later no matter how much you ate? Unsurprisingly, another answer to, “Why is your cat always hungry?” is that poor-quality cat food can have the same effect on your cat. And like a person who eats a lot of fast food or who can only afford starchy foods, your cat will eat and eat because he can’t satisfy the true hunger (for nutrients) at the root of his desire to eat

Make sure you ask your vet about deworming. diabetes, thyroid problem, and deal with your cat stress and lack of play areas and games.

 

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Hairballs: Hazardous or Harmful for Your Cat?

Veterinarian Reviewed by Dr. Janice Huntingford, DVM on May 22, 2018 
Posted in Cat Coughing

Most cat owners realize that cats spend a large portion of their day laying around and grooming themselves—and that’s just about it! With all that grooming, cat owners also realize that the occasional hairball is bound to appear on their floor every once in a while. It’s just something that happens with cats.

But are hairballs actually hazardous to your cats? Does puking up a wet clump of hair cause harm to our beloved feline friends? The short answer is, not usually. However, there are rare occasions where hairballs can move further through the digestive system than they should, where they can have painful—and potentially fatal—consequences.

The cause of hairballs

The origin of your cat’s hairballs is pretty self-explanatory. With a pet that spends half its day grooming itself, some hair is bound to end up in the stomach. Hairballs are more likely in adult cats that have more thoroughly developed their grooming skills and are particularly prevalent in long-haired cat breeds since there is a lot more hair to swallow.

Cats actually have hook-like structures on their tongues that grip onto dead hair, bringing it into the mouth where it is eventually swallowed. Cats aren’t able to digest hair on their own, so these hairs typically make their way through the cat’s digestive system, exiting intact as waste in the litter box.

However, some hairs can get stuck in the stomach where they eventually form a clump. Undigestible, the only way out is usually up, which leaves your cat gagging, hacking and puking until the hairball is out of their system. It’s a distinct (and rather gross) situation many feline lovers have witnessed firsthand.

When hairballs become dangerous

Vomiting up hairballs is usually not an issue, albeit a little uncomfortable—both for the cat and for you when you have to clean it up! However, in some cases, hairballs move down into the intestines before they are brought up. If the intestines lack proper lubricant or the hairball is too big, it could cause a painful and scary blockage inside your cat’s digestive tract.

Blockages are a serious issue that should be addressed by a vet as soon as possible so they can be removed. Watch out for these symptoms to tell if your cat may have an intestinal blockage caused by a hairball:

  • Continuous gagging or hacking without producing a hairball
  • Routine vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • A swollen or hard abdomen

It’s important to stress, again, that hairballs in the digestive tracts are rare and even when they do occur, can be treated with ease. Just be sure to consult with a vet if your cat is acting strangely.

Preventing hairballs

Although the occasional hairball won’t harm your cat, there are a few steps you can take to prevent them or make them easier for your cat to get rid of. These measures can cut down the chances of your cat developing a hairball that turns into a dangerous bowel obstruction:

  • Regular grooming: To help your cat remove dead hair from their coat so it doesn’t end up in their stomachs, brush them with a wire brush a few times a week, but preferably every day. Most cats love to be brushed as part of their grooming regimen and this process will also help you bond more with your kitty. For long-haired cats, take them to a groomer to have their hair cut every few months in addition to regular brushing.
  • Ample moisture: One of the major problems cats run into while trying to pass a hairball is that their intestinal tract lacks adequate lubrication, or moisture, to move the hairball through. This is particularly problematic for cats that eat dry food. Make sure your cat has ample water supply and consider switching it to wet food or a hairball-specific diet that’s rich in fiber.
  • Hairball supplements: There are a number of supplements and other products on the market that acts as mild laxatives for your cat to help it pass a hairball.
  • Cat grass: Many cats have a strange obsession with eating grass, even though it makes them sick. Some experts suggest that growing a small planter of cat grass for your cat to eat can help aid them in throwing up or passing hairballs and preventing them from getting suck.

Although hairballs are widely associated with cats as a common and almost necessary thing, that doesn’t have to be the case. Regular brushing can cut down on the large amount of hair your cat ingests during daily grooming, while changes to the diet or supplement treatments can help your cat pass indigestible hair or clumps, should they form.

Even if you are used to your cat throwing up hairballs, monitor them to make sure they actually vomit up the hair and that they aren’t just gagging. This sign can be one of the first that indicates that something more serious is happening with your kitty.

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