Is your cat never full? Are you constantly faced with a big pair of begging eyes? According to statistics published in the PDSA Paw Report, a common cat behaviour that owners want to change, is their tendency to beg and pester for food.
Our cats certainly know how to best get our attention. Meowing, following us from room to room, knocking over items, trying to steal food, and sometimes even resorting to biting. If all of this sounds frustratingly familiar, here is a guide to understanding this behaviour and help on breaking the begging habit.
Why is my Cat Always Hungry?
There are likely five main reasons why your cat is begging.
1) Boredom Begging
Our cats are intelligent creatures and sometimes their home environment can be a little less than exciting. Feeling bored can lead to cats fixating on their food bowl. Much in the same way we can resort to snacking when we don’t have enough to occupy ourselves.
Intestinal worms are part and parcel of cat ownership. Roundworms and Tapeworms steal nutrients from your cat. This can eventually lead to weight loss, diarrhoea, discomfort, and a constant feeling of hunger.
3) Lack of Nutrition
Every cat is different and what suits one may not suit another. Not all foods are made equally, and some might not fulfil your cat’s needs as much as others. With lower meat content foods, it can also be easy to underfeed without realising. Leading to an unsatisfied cat, keen for you to constantly fill up their bowl.
4) Attention Seeking
Studies have proved that cats become closely bonded with their owners. They might not show their affection in the same way as dogs, but they rely upon us just the same. Days where we are busier and showing them less attention, can often lead to more begging and destructive behaviour from our feline friends.
Certain illnesses and problems can lead to an increase in begging behaviour. Hyperthyroidism is a common illness caused by an increased production of hormones from thyroid glands found in a cat’s neck. As these hormones control metabolic rate, cats with this condition can lose weight fast despite having an increased appetite.
So now we know why our cats are acting like this, how can we stop them begging? Here are some top tips for reducing begging behaviour and keeping your cat happier and healthier.
Remember boredom leads to hunger! Instead of filling up their bowl for a quieter life, invest in some great cat toys and get your cat moving. For extra advice on how to play with your cat properly, read our Guide to Playing with Cats.
De-worming is essential in keeping your cat happy, healthy and in reducing that pesky begging. Both roundworms and tapeworms need to be treated for regularly, for adult cats around every 3 months, so establish a proper parasite prevention routine.
There are many worming treatments available, for more help head to your local Pets Corner store for advice and check out our Flea and Worm Guide.
Feed the BEST diet
Higher-quality diets will fill up your kitty properly and reduce their begging behaviour. The key is looking for a natural high meat diet that satisfies all your cat’s needs.
Remember to check you are feeding the correct amount. It is best to electronically weigh your cat’s meals so you know you are giving them the right amount.
For further help understanding cats’ food needs, watch our Guide to Pet Food.
Make Feeding Fun
Research tells us that our cats (even the smallest, cutest ones) have evolved from the North African Wildcat. Our moggies have descended from powerful hunters and so working for their food is very natural to them.
Use interactive feeding toys and puzzles to make dinnertime more entertaining and mentally enriching. By slowing their eating, you can prevent digestive issues and allow their brain to catch up with their stomach. Making them a lot less likely to beg!
Pssst: If you do use a bowl, remember to remove it once they finish their meal. They associate the bowl with food so hiding it, slowly helps them realise that food is coming ONLY when that dish comes out.
Finally remember to not give in! As tempting as it is to just feed them when they demand, by doing this you are reinforcing this behaviour.
Remember any sudden changes in eating habit or appetite should be investigated by a vet.
For more advice on all things cat, take a look at our 5 Tips for A Happy Cat blog.