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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 16250
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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Please help !!!! I've got a lovely rescue cat ( had him for

Customer Question

Please help !!!! I've got a lovely rescue cat ( had him for 9 months) but his constant whining for food is worrying me. I've been told by the vet that he should be limited to 3 pouches of food per day with dry food being available during the day ! I've done this but as soon as he finishes a pouch within 10 mins he is crying for more !!! ( he is overweight )
I've also had to keep him in over the past few days as I've discovered that a neighbour has him in their home and is possibly feeding him too !
The problem is that as soon as the Cat hears them he wails and scratches to get out ( twice this week he has cried from 4am )
My cat is up to date with his shots, flea & worm treatment !
Could he possibly have diabetes or thyroid problems ? Or is it just a psychological problem due to being without food in the past !!!!
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Now when we see cats that have continuous hunger or eat excessively, we do have a few concerns. Based on Oscar's age and overweight status, hyperthyroidism is quite unlikely here. That said, diabetes would be a concern (especially if you have perhaps seen him drink quite a bit and urinate excessively). As well, if he is potentially having diarrhea (which can be caused by a slew of agents), we can see appetite issues arise with this. Therefore, the first step here would be to rule out health issues. You do want to monitor his feces and if abnormal, fecal testing should be considered. To rule out diabetes, you can consider collecting a urine sample (often we can do this by putting the kitty in question into a non-carpeted room with an empty litter box overnight) for testing. This can be checked for the presence of sugar and ketones to tell you if diabetes is suspect for Oscar. As well or alternatively, you can request that his vet test a blood sample to rule diabetes out while making sure all Oscar's organs are functioning as they should. Further to diabetes and diarrhea inducing conditions, we can see excessive appetites with weight associated with acromegaly (often with secondary diabetes), pancreatic disease (those affecting the insulin secreting cells), and Cushing's disease ( very rare in the cat and therefore not likely) but again these are all much less likely for Oscar.

If health issues are rule out, then we do have the harder to tackle behavioral issues. And excessive appetite and seeking of food is not uncommon for cats that have stray or rescue backgrounds. Often these cats have had a life where food was not readily available and therefore active hunting and going hungry were features of life. This means he will have gotten into the habit of always seeking food and always eating when he has the opportunity to do so. Breaking this habit can be difficult but you can do it as long as you are consistent, patient and persevere. It will surely be an uphill battle (and he will whine, cry, and harass you as he knows you are a food source) but with time and persistence you can stop the behavior. To facilitate distracting him from begging and harassing you, you can consider trying with interactive food toys (examples). These will make him work for what he gets, slows down his eating, and reduce his need to bother you if he has a means of getting food himself. As well, if the neighbor is feeding him, then you need to speak to them about discontinuing this. You may also wish to put a collar that tells people not to feed him (example). As he is overweight, everyone should clearly see that he is a cat that doesn't need feeding by any one else but his owner. Finally, just since he is overweight and is an extreme foodie, consider only giving him low calorie/fat diets. There are a range on the market, but the aim is that if we are feeding lower fat/calorie foods, then he can potentially have more without putting on more weight.

Overall, diabetes is a concern but otherwise behavioral causes for excessive eating would need to be considered for Oscar. Therefore, do rule out diabetes and health issues first. But if those are clear, then it is a case of retraining (and being more stubborn them him) him to understand that food is not a limited resource and therefore his behavior is not necessary.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.

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