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Why Is My Cat So Hungry All of a Sudden? 6 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

Written by: Brooke Bundy

Last Updated on April 9, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

maine coon cat eating

Why Is My Cat So Hungry All of a Sudden? 6 Vet-Reviewed Reasons


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Most domestic cats like to eat small, frequent meals daily instead of one or two feasts. It might be normal to see your cat returning to their food bowl several times throughout the day, especially if they’re only snacking. However, it can be concerning to suddenly see your cat put away enormous portions of food continuously. Over-indulging on food could have mental or physical causes, as well as personality influences. Read on to see if you should be concerned about how much your little nom-nom wants to eat, or if they simply like the taste of their food.

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The 6 Pssible Reasons Why Your Cat May Suddenly Be Overeating

If you start to notice a pattern of your cat overeating, it’s a good idea to continue to monitor their overall health and let your vet know about any changes. The reason could be as harmless as your cat being bored, but it could also signal the onset of a chronic health condition, such as diabetes. Here are six reasons why your cat may be excessively munching down the kibble:

1. They’re Spayed/Neutered

fat cat siiting on the grass
Image Credit: Dennis van de Water, Shutterstock

Although sterilized cats require fewer calories than intact cats, studies have shown that they eat even more! Unfortunately, this behavior pattern puts sterilized cats at a three-fold risk of developing obesity, which causes many more complications than merely having a fat cat. Obesity is linked to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and urinary bladder stones—common illnesses that all plague cats. If your animal is spayed/neutered, talk to your vet about limiting their caloric intake to prevent obesity.

2. They Have Anxiety

Like humans, some cats will run to the food bowl when they’re upset, frightened, or anxious. A new pet or other environmental stressors can trigger this, especially if they’ve ever lived on the streets where they had to fight other animals for their food. If you suspect this might be an issue, place your anxious cat’s food bowl somewhere no other pets can reach so they don’t feel threatened or territorial.

3. They’re Not Getting Enough Calories

Siamese cat eating dry food from a bowl
Image Credit: catinrocket, Shutterstock

Read the feeding guidelines on the bag to make sure your cat is consuming enough calories in a day. Also, double-check that they’re eating the correct formula for their age, whether they’re considered a kitten, adult, or senior cat. Talk to your vet if you’re not sure how much your kitty needs. Make sure you are feeding your cat a good quality food based on animal protein and with minimal carbohydrates. This will provide your cat with the nutrition that they need to thrive.

4. They Could Have Worms

We know this sounds gross, but your cat could be infected with a parasite. There are several different types of worms and the severity of the infection depends on the age of the cat and other health factors. If you suspect worms, take your cat to the vet as soon as possible, especially if they’re a kitten.

5. They Could Have Diabetes

cat drinking water
Image Credit: rihaij, Pixabay

Although most cats prefer several small meals a day, a diabetic cat needs to have multiple snacks throughout the day to keep their blood sugar in check. If a diabetic cat goes too long without eating, their blood sugar will crash and then spike after their next meal, which can be dangerous. In addition to more frequent trips to the food bowl, other signs of diabetes in cats include increased urination, weight loss, and increased thirst. Make an appointment with your vet if you start to notice any of these other signs.

6. They Could Have Hyperthyroidism

If your cat’s appetite skyrockets but their weight plummets, they could have hyperthyroidism. This condition is marked by excessive hormone production, which causes a spike in metabolism despite the weight loss. Hyperthyroidism is most common in senior cats 10 years and older.

Abyssinian cat check by vet
Image Credit: Nataly Mayak, Shutterstock

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While your kitty may just particularly crave their food, it’s important not to let any sudden change in your pet’s behavior go unnoticed. Your animal speaks to you through their behavior, so excessive eating may be their way of expressing that something’s wrong. Talk to your vet if you suspect an illness and mention any other unfamiliar behaviors that may help them diagnose the issue.

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Featured Image Credit By: Lita Keire, Shutterstock

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