Cat is binge eating, very insistant, yet not overweight

by Anita
(Athens, GA)

Mozie is a 17 year old male tabby cat that weighs about 12 pounds. I am new to the house, and this cat has become quiet insistent about his cat food since my arrival... His new entertainment system. The cat was taken to the veterinarian and was given a relatively good bill of cat health, despite his old age and not having teeth, but to me the cat is pretty skinny. He was used to eating his cat food just once a day, but I started feeding him smaller quantities twice a day.

The problem now is that the cat is increasingly anxious about food. He starts at around 4 a.m., and keeps meowing, running back and forth, and nipping at me to feed him his cat food. I tried feeding him a little more in the evening, and a little later as well, but he devours his cat food like he is starving to death and continues this cat behavior. He does the same thing in the evening before dinner time as well. Note, his weight is starting to improve and he obviously has more energy than before.

We have tried to ignore him, but he doesn't give up at all. And we have tried closing him in a room, but he bangs himself on the door and cries non-stop.

Also, when he is in such a hurry to eat, the cat makes himself sick by eating too much, too fast. There doesn't seem to be a happy medium with him at all. Either we are stepping on squishy cat vomit presents, or he is very adamant that his cat food bowl is being neglected.

Can you help?

Dear Anita,

Although you did say that your cat was given a good bill of cat health when he was seen by your veterinarian, you did not mention whether this included bloodwork with a thyroid level. Especially considering this cat’s age, conditions such as feline hyperthyroidism, and sometimes even cat diabetes, could be causing your cat’s ravenous appetite. Also, if the vet visit was not relatively recent, within the last month or two, I would recommend a follow-up trip to the veterinarian for bloodwork.

Assuming his bloodwork is normal and there are no underlying medical conditions causing your cat’s ravenous appetite, I would recommend feeding your cat as often as he needs. While I do not know if you are feeding him canned cat food, dry cat food, or a combination of both, if your cat is thin and old, he should be fed as often as possible. If you are feeding a canned food only cat diet, I would recommend increasing the number of times you feed him every day. If you are feeding dry cat food, or if you haven’t been, I would recommend leaving a bowl down for him to eat whenever he is hungry.

Best wishes,
Dr. Neely

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