Cats are solitary eaters who prefer dining alone, although they may be willing to share food with their offspring. They have strict individual routines when it comes to hunting and feeding, even though domesticated cats no longer really need this. Isolated eating aside, do you sometimes think your cat is eating too fast? Read on for some useful information about why cats tend to eat too fast.
Cat eats too fast: What are the reasons?
1. It could be territorial eating.
Cats tend to eat faster when they are in a multi-cat household where there is a dominant or alpha cat. The alpha feline may be hoarding the food, and this forces the other cats to eat as fast as possible when they get the chance.
2. It could be due to behavioral issues.
Your cat may be eating too fast because she is bored, lonely or depressed. Consult your vet or a cat behaviorist if you suspect this could be the case. Be sure to mention if there have been any major changes at home lately, or other odd behavior your cat may be manifesting.
3. Your cat may have a medical problem.
Medical problems such as hyperthyroidism and diabetes mellitus could also cause cats to eat faster than usual. Consult your vet if your cat usually eats at a normal speed but has suddenly started eating too fast. The vet will do a complete exam and laboratory work-up to ascertain the cause.
4. Your cat could be addicted to eating.
Cats might eat too fast if they are addicted to eating and food. Felines on a wet food diet are more prone to this, and may be eating too fast simply because they love the taste of their food.
5. It could be due to a negative event in her past.
Cats that came from abusive or neglectful environments are more likely to eat too fast. Past trauma could cause behavioral issues such as over-eating, especially if a cat has suffered starvation in the past.
6. It could be due to an inefficient diet.
Cats tend to eat too fast if they are deprived of essential vitamins or minerals. Additives in cat food can also lead to over-eating.
7. It could be due to parasites.
Cats may eat faster than usual if they are infected with intestinal parasites like tapeworms. In this case, they are not able to get the nutrition they require because of the parasites, so they tend to eat faster to make up for the lost nutrients. Worm infestations should be treated promptly to avoid more serious issues like anemia.
What to do if your cat eats too fast?
Try switching her food.
If your cat is used to eating dry food but eats too fast and sometimes vomits, it could be time to switch to wet food. When dry food hits a wet stomach, it can absorb the moisture in the stomach and swell. Your cat will then feel bloated and may throw up.
Take your cat to the vet if she is eating too fast and also vomiting, since she could be suffering from a digestive problem or a food allergy.
Place a non-edible item on your cat’s food.
Adding a non-edible obstacle to her meal can effectively slow down your cat’s eating. Regardless of whether it is a golf ball or a toy, this will require your cat to slow down while she eats around the object.
Spread out her food in a wide pan or on a plate with a flat surface.
Placing your cat’s food over a large surface area, such as a wide pan, could encourage her not to eat too fast. Spreading it so widely forces the cat to move around the pan or tray as she eats. She will also be less likely to overeat if you try this trick.
Use slow-feed toys and automatic feeders.
Interactive treat puzzles and automatic feeders could help your cat to eat slowly and also help with weight and portion control.
Give her smaller meals throughout the day.
If you are used to feeding your cat just once or twice daily, it may be time to break up her meals. Give her smaller portions more often, and she may be less likely to eat too fast or overeat.
Cats are solitary eaters and also tend to be finicky with their food. Some cats also eat faster than they should, which can be alarming for their owners. This behavior may be due to behavioral issues, medical problems, past trauma, parasitic infection, or an inefficient diet. If you have any doubt about whether your cat’s behavior is normal, it is always safest to consult your vet.
Image: istockphoto.com / Magone