A cat constantly begging for food is not just annoying. It can also indicate a larger problem that you need to discover and solve.
How to stop a cat begging for food
To stop a cat from begging for food, you have to identify the reason behind this behavior and address the underlying cause. Unlike dogs, cats are not that much motivated by food, although there are a few who will not hesitate to get an extra helping of food. Typically, when a cat begs constantly for food, it means that there is a problem, whether in terms of his health or behavior.
If your cat is suffering from diabetes or hyperthyroidism, the first thing that you need to do is to bring your pet to the vet for proper treatment.
Once you have ruled out any disease as the underlying reason for your cat’s constant begging for food, you can try these tips to stop your cat begging for food:
1. Follow the instructions on the food label
Before settling for a particular brand of cat food, do your research and scrutinize and compare each option on your shortlist. Pay special attention to the ingredients and ensure that the quantities meet the nutritional needs of your pet.
Every time you pick up a different brand of cat food or if the cat food changes its formulation, make sure that you read the feeding guidelines. This will ensure that you are giving your cat enough food.
Take note the feeding guidelines are geared toward the average cat. You may need to adjust your pet’s serving portions depending on different factors like his breed, size, and activity level.
2. Add more moisture to your cat’s diet
Instead of increasing your cat’s portion size, you can satiate his hunger by getting him to drink more water. Cats are notorious for not drinking enough water. To counter this, consider investing in a water fountain that will encourage your pet to drink more.
But apart from water, you can also increase your pet’s intake through other means. For example, if your cat eats wet food, you can dilute it with water. Aside from making your pet drink more water, he will also feel fuller.
Or instead of adding water to his wet food, you can use chicken stock or bonito flakes soaked in water.
3. Consider switching to a fiber-rich brand
Unlike other animals, cats do not require as much fiber in their diets. However, giving your cat more fiber can offer a few benefits.
For starters, your cat will feel fuller for a longer time when he eats fiber-rich food. And when your cat feels full, he is less likely to ask for more.
Fiber can also help your cat move his bowels regularly and prevent diarrhea.
4. Do not feed your cat in the kitchen
If your pet’s feeding station is in the kitchen or near the part of your house where you store his food, consider moving his station to a different location.
Every time you go into the kitchen, your cat will think that it is time to eat because he has made that association.
The best place to put a feeding station is an area that you do not frequent.
5. Set a feeding schedule
Cats are creatures of habit. And you can leverage that by creating a feeding schedule for your pet.
It might be more convenient for you to free-feed your cat. However, creating a set feeding schedule is better for you and your pet.
For one, adhering to a schedule sends a message to your cat that he cannot eat beyond scheduled times. Second, you can take better control of your pet’s food intake, helping you keep cat obesity at bay.
Why is my cat begging for food
The first step to stopping your feline from begging for food is identifying his motivation for this behavior. Identifying the underlying reason can help you choose which course of action to use afterward.
1. You are not feeding your pet adequately
Perhaps, you switched to a different brand of pet food and you thought that you can give your cat the same servings when in fact, he needs more.
It is also possible that the food that you are serving your cat is nutritionally deficient. In terms of quantity, you may be giving your pet enough or even more than enough to satisfy the hunger in his belly.
But from a nutritional standpoint, the food you might be serving your cat offers little value and plenty of fillers that do nothing to satiate your cat’s hunger and meet his daily nutritional requirements.
2. Your cat is dealing with depression
If you are wondering, cats can also suffer from depression, just like people. And like people, cats may attempt to cope with depression by trying to eat more.
3. You are not engaging with your cat
Probably, you have been working long hours lately, leaving your cat alone. Or perhaps you have just given birth and all your attention is focused on your little one.
When cats do not have a suitable outlet for their physical and mental energies, he can resort to unwanted behavior, including begging for more food.
4. Your cat is infested with worms
When a cat is infested with worms, he is essentially competing with these parasites for food and nutrients.
You might think that you are feeding your cat enough food but the reality is that the food you give is not enough. Essentially, the worms are stealing the food from your cat.
5. Your cat is dealing with a medical issue
Hyperthyroidism and diabetes can make a cat more peckish than usual.
Hyperthyroidism boosts a cat’s metabolism, causing him to burn more energy. And to replenish that lost energy, the cat will ask for more food.
Diabetes, on the other hand, prevents a cat from properly converting food into energy. And even if you feed your cat more food, he can still lose weight and get skinny.
Why does my cat beg for food and not eat it?
If your cat begs for food and does not eat it, he might be suffering from appetite depression. Appetite depression may be a symptom of a larger medical issue like kidney or heart disease, dental problems, muscle pain, or urinary tract disease.
When your cat begs for food but does not eat, it does not mean that your cat is playing games with you. He is truly hungry but appetite depression and its underlying cause are preventing him from eating.
Sometimes, a cat suffering from appetite depression will eat normally and then barely touch his food the other day. In other cats, the loss of interest in food is progressive.
If your cat begs for food but does not eat, observe his behavior carefully for a few days and watch for other symptoms. Afterward, schedule a visit to the vet.
Do not dismiss your cat’s behavior
You want to give your cat everything he needs, including his food. But when he constantly begs for food, it can be quite frustrating.
It may be tempting to cave in or dismiss your cat to save yourself from his whining. However, begging for food can sometimes mean that your cat is dealing with a health problem.
Identifying the underlying reason behind your cat’s behavior will help you modify it.
Image: Istock.com / MirasWonderland