May 2008 Issue

The Gluttonous Cat

Your cat's overeating can be a behavioral problem or a health issue. It's important to understand the reasons and make changes.

You merely open your eyes in the morning — and your cat sprints to the kitchen. You head for the refrigerator and trip over the cat, who is winding around your legs, begging for food. Is the food gone as soon as it hits the bowl? Worse yet, does your cat wake you up in the middle of the night to be fed? There’s always a reason for excessive hunger in cats. Sometimes it signals underlying illness; sometimes it’s a matter of conditioning or boredom. Here’s what you need to know about your ravenous cat. It seems obvious to say that a cat that is overweight is eating too much. "But it all depends on the cat," says Kathryn E. Michel, DVM, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania. "Some cats can choice-feed. If you leave out food, they’ll eat what they want and maintain a good weight. Other cats will eat everything you put out for them and then look for more."

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