Monday, June 17, 2024

Can Cats Have Eating Disorders

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What You Can Do

Does My Cat Have An Eating Disorder? | Dr. Ruth Roberts, Your Pets Ally

Always talk with your veterinarian first to rule out serious medical causes for cat pica.

Then discuss with your vet ways to discourage your cat from eating nonfood items. The experts at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at University of California, Davis, as well as other vets and animal behaviorists, suggest the following actions:


Be patient. “Everyone wants a step one, two, three to treat behavior,” says Moon-Fanelli. But, she says, behavior is quite complex and “theres no one-size-fits-all treatment. Every cat is an individual, and every environment is somewhat different.”

Cats nibbling on teddy bears or chewing on string can look pretty cute, but the result can be anything but. Dont wait for a life threatening intestinal blockage or an underlying medical problem to come to the fore before talking to your vet about your cats unusual cravings.

Alice Moon-Fanelli, PhD, certified applied animal behaviorist, Animal Behavior Consultations, LLC, Brooklyn Veterinary Hospital, Brooklyn, Connecticut clinical assistant professor, department of clinical sciences, animal behavior, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

Arnold Plotnick, MS, DVM, Dip. ACVIM, veterinary internist, feline specialist, Manhattan Cat Specialists.

Nicholas H. Dodman, section head and program director, animal behavior, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, author The Cat Who Cried for Help.

ASPCA, 17 Poisonous Plants.

Is Your Cat Hungry Due To An Underlying Medical Problem

Not all food obsession is down to gluttony. In many cases, over-excitement at feeding time and an inability to leave their food bowl with even a scrap inside could be a sign of an underlying medical problem. Parasite infestations, diabetes, and thyroid conditions can all cause an animal to act like they are ravenous all the time.If your cats behavior around food changes suddenly, it is definitely worth arranging an appointment with your veterinarian who can run tests to determine if there is a medical reason for your kittys voracious hunger.

Lunch Is Served Again And Again

Daniele needs to adjust Bikinis feeding schedule. Instead of free feeding or feeding her only a couple of times a day, she should divide the cats food into smaller portions and feed her six to seven meals a day. Keeping to a schedule is important. A schedule will help the little one adjust to having regular meals every day. She will soon realize that she does not have to be on high alert for food. Timed auto feeders for canned and dry food work well. Daniele can time them to deliver food on a set schedule.

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What Can I Do If My Cat Won’t Eat Or Drink

The most important thing you can do is speak to your vet as early as possible and follow their advice on providing nourishment for your cat. Outside of that, there are also some simple short-term steps you can take such as feeding your cat something that stimulates their appetite such as canned sardines or liver. Just remember these foods should only ever be given in moderation.

When Cravings Become A Problem

Eating Disorders in Cats

If a cat simply sucks on wool or other soft and fuzzy items, thats usually not a problem, say the experts.

And although nibbling on a bit of paper or occasionally chewing on a plastic bag — some of which contain gelatin, which cats can sense — could simply be a harmless little quirk, “Its hard to know,” Plotnick says. “If your cat is eating something odd, it should first be seen by a vet.”

Not every cat will progress from sucking wool to eating rubber bands, but some do. Moon-Fanelli says, “It is a concern” once they start ingesting inedible materials. Thats because indigestible items could lead to intestinal blockages, which. Moon-Fanelli says, could be extremely costly and even deadly.

What about grass? While many people think cats eat grass to stimulate vomiting and relieve hairballs, for some cats, grass-eating may eventually progress to chewing on houseplants. This habit can be dangerous because many houseplants, such as lilies, tulips, chrysanthemums, and English ivy, are poisonous to cats or can cause gastrointestinal upset.

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Their Food Isnt Meeting Their Nutritional Needs

Cats may also overeat if their food does not provide enough nutrients. Low-quality kibble will leave your cat unsatiated and hungry again shortly after they finish their meal. Their age may also come into play. As cats get older, they become less able to digest proteins and fats. At the same time, they need more energy. To get the calories their body needs, your senior cat may begin eating more.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder In Cats

This is a behavioral disorder where a cat will engage in repetitive, exaggerated behaviors that are seemingly without purpose. For example, grooming to the extent that fur is rubbed off compulsive pacing repetitive vocalizations and eating, sucking, or chewing on fabric. If it continues over a long period of time, it may become fixed behavior that no longer requires the situation or environmental trigger that started the behavior in the first place. The behaviors may reinforce themselves due to the release of pain-relieving chemicals in the brain. The behavior may become a mechanism for coping when the cat is confronted with conditions that conflict with its needs, and owners may be unintentionally reinforcing the behavior by giving the cat attention or food when it behaves compulsively.

Age and gender do not seem to be factors in compulsive behavior. Some breeds or family lines may be predisposed to behavioral compulsions, with Siamese and other Asian breeds overrepresented as commonly exhibiting repetitive meowing and fabric-chewing behavior.

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Normal Cat Eating Habits

To determine if your cat’s eating habits are abnormal, you must knowwhat’s normal for your cat. In their natural environment, cats hunt fortheir food and may go some time between meals. When living with humans,however, they often have a bowl of food available to them at all times.This food is filled with enticements, causing them to overeat.

Cats are also designed to mix up their diets from time to time,since they wouldn’t always eat the same prey every day in the wild. Amix of protein sources is important to your cat’s dietary needs.

No two cats will have the same eating habits, so be aware of whenand how much your cat normally eats. This is easier if your cat is fedmeals on a regular schedule, rather than picking at food throughout theday. Then you’ll know if something is wrong.

Your Cat Might Be Bored Lonely Or Depressed

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Just as humans overeat during heightened emotional states, cats can use food as a self-soothing tool. Cats may become obsessed with food if they are depressed, stressed, or simply bored.

Some cats have even been diagnosed with psychogenic abnormal eating disorder, a psychological condition that boosts their drive for food.

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Why Has My Cat Stopped Eating

There are many causes for a reduced appetite, including:

  • Dental disease tooth and gum disease is painful and can put cats off eating.
  • Stress e.g. a change in routine, moving home of fighting with another cat.
  • Kidney disease often causes vomiting, increased thirst and a reduced appetite.
  • Pain pain often causes a reduced appetite.
  • High temperature a high temperature usually decreases the appetite.
  • Change of food or feeding location changing your cat’s food suddenly or moving their bowl from its usual place may stop them eating. Read our guide on how to safely change your cat’s diet.
  • Other diseases many other problems such as heart disease, pancreatitis, liver disease and cancer will reduce appetite

What Should I Expect When I Visit The Vet

Your vet will ask you about your cats recent medical history and whether you have noticed any other signs, such as weight loss or vomiting. It is important to try to work out if your cat is hungry but not managing to eat for some reason or if they have no interest in food.Your vet will check your cat over by performing a clinical examination and also ask questions about you have observed at home. Since there are many possible reasons for cats not eating, your vet may also need to perform some tests to work out what is going on, such as blood tests, urine tests, x-rays or ultrasound.

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Need Pet Health Advice Ask A Vet

Ask a Vet

Has Symptoms

my 6 month old orange tabby hasnt been eating properly for about 2-3 days. he ate a can of food today, because I switched to something softer for him. his behavior hasnt changed whatsoever. he doesnt seem to be in any pain. in the mornings he runs to the bowl because he knows im going to feed him but he doesnt eat the food I lay out for him.

Dr. Michele K. DVM

5 Recommendations

Thank you for your question.I’m a little confused by your question, in the symptoms you say he is vomiting and having diarrhea, but I’m not sure that you mention that in your actual question? If he is vomiting and having diarrhea, and has lost appetite, then it would be best to have him seen by your veterinarian, as kittens can be affected by parasites and infectious diseases, and he may need treatment. If he is bright and happy, and not having any diarrhea or vomiting and seems to be hungry, you may just need to try a different food for him until you find one that he likes. Kittens don’t tend to be as picky as older cats, but there may be something that he likes better.I hope that all goes well for him.

Has Symptoms

Eating Food Too Quickly

5 Eating Disorders That Affect Cats

Many cat owners notice that their cats eat too quickly. Often, eating too quickly is a problem that also affects cats that overeat. However, it is also something that some cats will do even if they only eat a normal amount of food. If a cat eats too quickly, they do not have time to chew their food properly, impacting the digestion process. Other potential problems for cats that eat too quickly are choking and vomiting. Furthermore, they can develop gastritis, which is a condition where the lining of the stomach becomes inflamed, causing pain for the cat. Cats that overeat often develop additional behavior problems relating to food. For example, some guard their food and become aggressive if someone comes near them while they are eating. One of the most common causes of eating too quickly is competition for food, and this is a problem that begins while the cat is a kitten. It is common in cats that have come from a larger litter, as they must often compete for milk from their mother. The behavior then continues into adulthood.

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Other Reasons Why Your Cat Wont Eat Its Food

  • An abundance of mice or other small animals in the area may be supplementing your cats diet, which means that he may be full when you give him his usual food.
  • Friendly neighbours feeding your cats. A common problem.
  • Mating season female cats that are coming into season will go off their food.
  • Weather conditions Cats will reduce their food intake in particularly hot or humid weather.
  • Change of circumstances has the feeding bowl been recently moved, or has the feeding area become unusually busy or noisy. Cats like to eat and digest their food privately and in quiet. So a busy kitchen may be putting him off his food and you may find that he starts to beg for food from your plates later on.
  • Your Food Obsessed Cat May Have A Medical Condition

    An underlying medical condition such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, parasites, or worms could be the culprit behind your cats ravenous appetite.

    While an increase in appetite may be a simple response to boredom or stress, there are accompanying symptoms to look for that signify a more serious medical issue, such as:

    • Increased thirst
    • Dramatic Weight Gain

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    What Causes Anorexia And Pseudo

    There are many potential explanations for decreased food consumption, and the first, most important step is to determine whether the cat has true or pseudo-anorexia. Does she want to eat but is unable to, or is she truly not interested in eating?

    “There are many potential explanations for decreased food consumption, and the first, most important step is to determine whether the cat has true or pseudo-anorexia.”

    Your veterinarian will want to take a detailed history to begin to differentiate between the two conditions. Next, your cat will have a thorough physical examination to try to determine the presence of an obvious physical explanation for decreased food consumption. Finally, diagnostic tests will be used to aid in uncovering a reason for decreased appetite. These may include laboratory tests such as a complete blood count and a serum chemistry profile, electrolytes , radiographs of the chest and abdomen, ultrasound studies, and, depending on other findings, more invasive diagnostics like endoscopy or biopsies.

    Potential explanations for pseudo-anorexia in which a cat wants to eat but does not or has difficulty eating include:

    True anorexia can also have various causes:

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    In many cases, owners misinterpret a cat’s attempts to elicit social interaction, through vocalisation or rubbing, as a demand for food and when they realise that food treats can be elicited in this way they will quickly learn to develop this food soliciting behaviour. You can prevent this by increasing the frequency of feeding by spreading your cat’s daily food intake between multiple small meals rather than two main sittings.

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    Why Is My Cat Not Eating

    Loss of appetite in cats, also known as anorexia, can be a sign of a serious underlying disease. The list of potential causes for cats not eating is long and diverse and includes kidney disease, cat flu, diabetes, fever, hyperthyroidism and pancreatitis. Dental problems, pain and internal obstructions may also result in your cat not eating. There may be a behavioural reason, such as stress, anxiety or depression, perhaps caused by a change in surroundings.

    How Are Anorexia And Pseudo

    Treatment will depend completely on what the diagnosis is. Associated or additional treatment will focus on treating/managing related symptoms. For instance, if your cat is dehydrated, then intravenous fluids may be needed. Any nausea must be eliminated. If it is appropriate, your veterinarian may prescribe a short-term appetite stimulant such as cyproheptadine or mirtazapine . If there is a mineral imbalance like low potassium, which can interfere with normal appetite, then a potassium supplement will be added. It may be useful to enhance the palatability of the cat’s food. Your veterinarian can help you with specific recommendations, but simple steps to try include:

    • Adding a canned formulation to the diet.
    • Heating food to approximately body temperature **If heating in the microwave, stir the food to ensure no hot pockets are left.
    • Adding a bit of low-sodium chicken, vegetable, or beef broth for flavor enhancement.
    • Temporarily preparing a home cooked diet with guidance from your veterinarian as to appropriate recipes.

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    A Cat Eating Disorder Known As Pica

    Pica is the name given to a group cat eating disorders where cats become almost addicted to eating non-food substances. Reported cases of Pica have ranged from cats eating rubber, fabric, electrical cables and wool.

    The cause is not yet known and the main way of treating these cases is to make the substance they are trying to eat very unpleasant by adding a strong smelling substance like lemon or eucalyptus to it.

    Indoor cats more often display these strange cat eating disorders and so it is thought that it might be that the cats are under stimulated or have remained mentally as kittens because they have not been able to develop all their natural hunting skills etc.

    n these cases providing more things for the cat to do may help to distract them from this strange and also dangerous occupation. Cat climbing frames and trees and various toys and dens may help to make their environment more appealing to their hide and seek temperament.

    What Causes Eating Disorders In Cats

    Pica in Cats: Tips for Managing This Eating Disorder

    Eating disorders in cats often have different causes from eating disorders in humans. In some cases, feline eating disorders are a behavioral issue. On the other hand, an eating disorder in cats is potentially caused by a medical condition or a nutritional deficiency, says Pawesome Cats. Therefore, a vet will look at the cats medical history when diagnosing an eating disorder, as this can indicate the root cause. For example, a cat that suffers from gastrointestinal problems, diabetes, or hypothyroidism may suffer from an eating disorder that is linked to its existing condition. Eating disorders are also sometimes associated with psychological problems, such as stress and anxiety.

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    How Adopting A Cat Helped Me Recover From My Eating Disorder

    All my life Ive always been obsessed with something. In middle school, it was Hanson. In high school it was swimming, boys, the Internet, and writing. And, sadly, in college, it was controlling my food. Ive always had a Type A personality and been a perfectionist. Heaven forbid someone call me up to go on a late night burger run any ounce of spontaneity in my life was unheard of.

    Thats partially why my eating disorder came to be it was something else I could control, but it was also more than that. It was my best friend, my confidant, my security, and my life. I lived and breathed calorie counts, fat content, and restriction. I studied cereal boxes, read recipe books, and memorized diet fads online to try to subdue my desires for food even more.

    I remember only bits and snippets from these days, likely due to malnourishment. I ended up taking medical leave from college eventually, I could barely walk, because my feet were too bony, my hips cracked at every step, and I was out of breath after one block. I moved back home and accompanied my mom to work. At the time, she was a teachers aid in a special ed classroom.

    On our way home one day, we were walking through the parking lot. I walked past the janitors room and heard a soft crying noise. Curious, I peaked in. There was a box full of kittens, all either white, tabby, or orange.

    Did you want him? said a voice behind me. I turned around to see the janitor standing there in his blue uniform.

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