Is my cat hungry or just greedy?

Cats love to eat.

Biologically speaking they’re hunters, so it’s hardly surprising that their lives revolve around food. It’s in their DNA.

And while some cats may be fussy eaters, once you’ve got their diet just right, you’ll rarely find them missing mealtime.

‘Why is my cat always hungry?’ is a question we hear daily. 

One of the main problems a pet parent can have with cat cravings is working out whether their kitten is hungry, or just plain greedy. 

Cats can be notoriously difficult to read. 

Around mealtimes you may notice them begging for food, even if they’ve just eaten, while some food-obsessed felines will actually eat until they’re sick. 

Ensuring your cat receives the right amount of food is vital if they are to remain happy and healthy. 

If your cat actually is hungry, it’s crucial you can spot the signs. If, on the other hand, they’re just greedy, you will need to nip it in the bud before you have an overeating problem on your hands.

This article will look at the reasons why your cat might be hungry, and how a high-quality diet can help with appetite issues. 

Signs your cat could actually be hungry

  • Incorrect portion sizes. It’s important you know exactly how much you should be feeding your cat. Too little in their bowls will inevitably lead to hunger pangs. Feeding guides will always be suggested on food packaging, so this is a good place to start when measuring out meals. However, different cats have different appetites and how much you feed your feline will depend on a number of factors including age, breed, weight and activity levels. Monitor their intake, and track how much they are eating or leaving. Develop a feeding schedule that works for you and your cat, and then keep it consistent.
  • Trouble keeping food down. If your cat is throwing up undigested food they may not be receiving the necessary nutrients their bodies require to remain healthy. One reason they may be struggling to keep food down could be because of a poor-quality diet. Food allergies could also be an issue. If you think the vomiting may be diet-related, slowly transition your cat onto a different diet – natural, high-quality ingredients are best for felines, especially those with sensitive stomachs. If your cat is continuing to vomit, they should be seen by a vet as soon as possible.
  • Eating too quickly. Cats who ravenously wolf down each meal may be doing so because they’re particularly hungry. It might be that the gap between mealtimes is too big, and their stomachs are crying out for food. It could be that another household pet has been gobbling up their food while you’re not looking. The speed-eating could simply be they’re just a bit greedy. Observe their behavior straight after feeding. Are they begging or crying out for more food? Could it be down to other potential reasons such as boredom, stress, or fear that another mealtime predator will strike first. Eating too quickly isn’t good for our pets, and can lead to vomiting. Serve smaller portions, and spread the pieces out. This should help slow the eating process down.
  • Crying at mealtime. If your cat is meowing around a scheduled mealtime it could be them saying, “I’m hungry!” While a meowing cat is not necessarily an automatic sign of hunger, it is generally a sign that they want something…and that something is often food. Cats enjoy routine, and like to eat around the same time every day. If feeding time is delayed for whatever reason, then they’ll be quick to let you know. Hunger meows tend to be in a higher pitch and are more insistent. Always try to feed your cat at set times throughout the day, so they know when their next meal is coming. Leaving dry kibble around the house for them to nibble on is a good way of combating a missed mealtime, however you will need to be wary of overeating.
  • Stealing food from the table. Some cats, like humans, find it hard to resist a tempting treat. Even more so when they’re hungry. If you catch your cat leaping onto a table attempting to snatch a piece of chicken or helping themselves to leftovers, you may need to look at increasing their meal rations. Felines who are well-fed, but also overly active, may be burning through calories quicker than you think so this is something you need to bear in mind. Always make sure you cover up any pieces of food that could be harmful to your cat if you’re planning on leaving them unattended.

Dealing with a greedy cat

It can be difficult for pet parents to spot the difference between a hungry cat and a greedy cat. If you’re satisfied that the amount they are eating should be satisfying their appetite – yet they are still crying ‘hungry’ – you will need to take a closer look at your cat’s eating habits.

Eating the occasional extra piece of food isn’t going to do too much harm, but if your cat begins regularly straying into overeating territory then a whole host of health problems could soon follow. 

The simplest solution is to assess their current diet. Are they getting the right amount of essential  nutrients needed to satiate their appetite? Cats thrive on a complete and well-balanced diet; one that’s full of rich, high-quality protein and brimming with natural ingredients. Always ensure they have access to fresh water at all times, too. 

Instead of leaving food in bowls for your cat, try and incorporate a bit of exercise around mealtime. Play fetch, or hide and seek, with pieces of kibble. This can make mealtime a bit more challenging – and therefore gratifying for them – while increased activity will help keep the weight off. 

You may want to look at the amount of extra food you are feeding them. Treats should not make up more than 20% of a cat’s daily diet, so always bear this in mind. Keep treats healthy as well. Our Whole Tuna Loin is 100% tuna, 100% natural; the perfect tasty reward for your cat.

How diet can help

A well-fed cat tends to be a happy cat.

Feeding your feline a high-quality diet – one that meets all their nutritional requirements – can not only help them remain healthy, it should also stop them begging for more.

Not all foods fill up cats the same way, so choosing a diet that contains the right ingredients is vital if you’re to keep them fit and full.

Ones that curb hunger best are rich in high quality protein and fibre such as chicken breast, fish, fruits and vegetables. 

We recommend feeding your cats natural wet and dry foods in order to give them a truly balanced diet. 

Our complete Chicken Dry Food contains 80% chicken and 20% vegetables, so you know they’re getting a good mix of protein and fibre. 

When it comes to wet foods, recipes like our Chicken Breast With Brown Rice In Broth Pouch or our Tuna With Salmon In Jelly Tin are bursting with real meat goodness that will not only fill their stomachs, but have them licking their lips, too. 

For more tips on feeding your feline, spend a few minutes reading our What Is The Best Diet For Cats? article where you’ll find some handy food dos and don’ts. 

Increased appetite isn’t always down to a lacking diet. It could be a medical condition like diabetes or a hyperthyroidism; or it may be because of behavioural factors such as stress or boredom. 

If you’re concerned your cat is eating too much and you can’t seem to satisfy their craving, then contact your vet to see if there may be an underlying reason.

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