I still remember the days I was training my little cat, she had developed this weird habit of asking for food here and there. She would do it at random times, like when friends or guests were at home. I remember that I would just stare at her wondering how and when it would stop.
If you are here for the same problem, do not worry and follow these instructions … maybe you will get a decent cat out of this as I did.
Reasons, why cats are constantly asking for food, might be the following: they have irregular eating schedules, are hungry, or have worms. Moreover, hyperthyroidism and metabolic disorders can be major medical issues for such cats behavior.
If your cat is begging for food and shows no signs of illness, try to give it more attention, feed it at particular times, use activity feeders, or just start ignoring your feline for some time. If these measures won’t help, consult a behavioral specialist or vet to evaluate what triggered this habit individually.
Cats have a habit of unscheduled eating and if they are left unchecked, they quickly make it a routine task. There are times when your cat asking for food might seem cute but if you do not train him as to when he should do it and when he shouldn’t, you will have a pretty serious problem soon after.
Therefore, what you should do to stop your cat from begging for food is to figure things out in a systematic manner.
How do you do it? – Let me show you,
Why Is My Cat Begging for Food?
It can also be a possibility that there is nothing wrong with your cat and he has picked up a temporary habit from someone.
Investigating the source of this problem, therefore, should be your priority because, without that, you will always be in the blind spot.
To do this, check out the following few things and see if your cat’s behavior improves. Remember that cats are very progressive in set routines, so, setting up a consistent routine will guarantee the best results.
· Checking your Cat’s Eating Schedule
If you are a working person, there is always a chance that your pet might be neglected. Especially, his feed times are one of the most affected aspects.
Check to see if your cat has an irregular diet schedule. For cases like these, it is a good practice to bring in some Automatic Cat Feeders as they help you add some routine to your cat’s life.
Even if you are feeding your cat very often, it still does not mean that your cat is having enough food. Cats have an astonishingly fast metabolism and unlike humans, they can digest and consume their energy at a high metabolic rate.
Therefore, even if you are thinking that your cat has just eaten, it may very well be hungry already. However, if you are positive that your cat is eating just right, you should move on to the next step.
· Food Obsessions
If your cat is obsessed with food, it might also be a reason for its impeccably greedy eating behavior. This is not a big problem and cats with food obsession are better off on their own most of the time.
However, leaving them be will only make things worse as their metabolisms will adapt to frequent feeding and make them obese most of the time.
Nonetheless, you will eventually need to control your little fluff-ball with strict eating schedules and volumes.
How much you should feed your cat depends on its breed, size, and age. Therefore, there is not a specific answer to that question.
You might have to try many different combinations to get to one that suits your cat well. Nevertheless, remember that consistency will give you a lot of benefits, especially with cats.
· Checking for Worms
Worms are a lifelong problem with cats. They infect nearly every cat once in its lifetime and most of the time, they are impossible to prevent.
Not only they are a problem with your cat’s overall nutrition, but worms are also everywhere around your cat which makes them a rather easy culprit behind many problems with your feline. Different categories of worms can be the reason for different hitches in your cat’s tummy.
However, how does “meowing for food” relate to worms?
The question is just as simple as the answer: “because the worms take all the nutrition away from your cat’s body.”
Everything your cat eats will indirectly feed the worms. This may very well be the reason why your cat can never have its tummy full.
There is proper and easy treatment available for all sorts of cat-worms. All you will need to do is to visit your vet.
You should also get your cat checked for worms periodically (usually every three months) as sometimes cats do not show any symptoms even when the worms are there.
· Problems with Thyroid Hormones
Hyperthyroidism or an underlying issue with thyroid hormones: that control the metabolic rate of a cat’s body, may cause significant problems and seriously mess up a cat’s metabolism.
They are usually disturbed because of age and older cats tend to fall more towards this category. A problem with thyroid glands usually causes a cat to burn energy too quickly and thus feel hungry more often. If the cat does not eat while this is happening, it loses weight and its overall health starts declining at a steady rate.
It becomes exceedingly important to get your cat properly evaluated through a vet if you see its fur thinning or other symptoms like ravenous thirst, agitation, and bad temper.
Your cat will only feel the pain of a syringe as a thyroid hormone test includes taking a blood sample. Do not worry, as hyperthyroidism is curable.
A fully rehabilitated cat will soon see recovery in all aspects if provided with enough nutrition and care.
· Begging for Food at specific times
Another important aspect that is often missed out by many people is to keep a check on the time at which your cat specifically asks for food.
If your cat is asking for food a couple of hours before or after you would normally feed it, there is nothing out of the norm. However, if you feel like your cat is asking for food at an unprecedented time based on its previous eating habits, you should consider noting it down to keep a better record.
After you have noted down a few times this has happened, you will have a bigger picture at hand for review and troubleshooting.
How do I stop my cat from Begging for food?
Most of the time, the abovementioned cases are the reason behind a food-obsessed cat. In case these issues are not the case for your cat, you should seek immediate medical help. Particularly, if your cat shows any symptoms of malnutrition, sickness, or fatigue.
If, however, your cat falls in line with one of the above-mentioned cases after you have thoroughly examined its behaviors, you can apply the following methods to get your cat back in line.
· Pet Your Cat
90-percent of the time there is a problem with your cat, just spend more time with it and you will see the problem vanish.
Cats are natural attention-seekers and they are pros at it. Sorry to break it down to you but you cannot expect cats to understand why you are not able to pet them. If they want you to pet them, you pet them and that’s about it.
Petting your cat will ultimately improve your cat’s overall mood and health at the same time. Likewise, it will strengthen your relationship with your cat. And so, it is a win-win for you.
· Praise your Cat
As said earlier, cats are natural attention seekers and they love it.
The best bet to solve any issue with your cat is by giving them the attention they want. Praising your cat is another effective method to boost its morale and increase its interest in whatever it may be doing.
Anyway, if you praise your cat and give him rewards in terms of food, it will develop a positive attitude towards his meals as it will consider them a presentation rather than some bites to eat.
This way, your cat is more likely to enjoy eating a meal rather than just eating it.
· Ignore your Cat
Even if it feels like something opposite to the previous section of this article, sometimes, if you feel nothing is wrong with your cat, ignoring it is the most viable option.
Perhaps you are a strict owner and do not want to succumb to your cat’s hostile demands. In this scenario, the best call to action is usually standing firm against your feline’s constant meows.
Consider it as a brawl against your cat’s bullheadedness and if you give in, you will have to say YES for many more things at your cat’s purr.
Taking a strong stand and ignoring your cat’s cries will not be something to be done easily but as we said earlier, it is one of the most appropriate solutions to offset your cat’s stubbornness.
· Using Puzzle Feeders:
Activity or puzzle feeders force your cat to work for its meal.
In the case of wild cats, they eat less but hunt more and then start all over again the next day. This physical effort keeps them in good shape and interested in their food.
In the case of a cat that wants to eat less but often, you should deploy a cat puzzle feeder that will make your cat have some effort to be able to get food. This will not only make it hungrier but also give your cat a sense of accomplishment after it takes a load full of food in its mouth.
Activity feeders are based on the same principle. They require a cat to show physical strength or capability to get either his full meal or a portion of it.
These are some of the best cat feeders in the market.
· Training your Cat & Keeping a Check
Remember when I told you that cats are highly subjective to routine and how setting up a routine will improve things in the end.
Well, so does training your cat. Cats are intelligent species and they know it. Stealing food out of another bowl sometimes, or cleverly fooling a prey and eating it are some things that can be ignored once or twice but in the long run, they become massive issues as the cat gets subjected to this routine and thinks it to be normal.
Train your cat now and then using a reward/punishment system about what is right and wrong. Give it a positive environment that will help it learn and experience things at the same time.
Stealing and Over-cleverness might look cute, but then again, they are harmful to your cat’s overall behavior in the long term.
Especially, if you are living in a multi-cat house, these issues can spread to other cats as they observe each other doing this and add to your headache.
· Going To a Pet Behavioral Expert
If you are unable to rehabilitate your cat at home or unable to identify the problem in general, it is best to consult a behavioral expert.
Make sure to be completely aware of what your cat is going through, how it behaves what it likes to eat, and when does it eat. All these things can help speed things up as the behaviorist examines and evaluates your cat.
A cat begging for food might just be doing it for fun, or due to an underlying medical problem. Whatever the reason is, you need to remember that there is no need to panic and you should simply apply an analytical approach to be able to solve this issue finally as I did.
Keep in mind that the first step towards the solution is identifying the root of the problem itself.
Once you know what is triggering your cat’s cries, you will be able to find a better, or rather, a correct solution.
One more thing that I would like to add is that cats, in general, like to fake things a lot. Therefore, you might want to double-check if your cat is out-smarting you.
Anyway, I hope the above article gives you a solution and peace of mind.
Please feel free to share your own experience and thoughts using the comments below.
Happy Cat Parenting!