Cat Compulsive Eating
by Diane Prentice
(Summerland, BC, Canada)
I recently took in a young cat, (vet's best guess is around 2 years old) who I believe may have had a home at one time, but has been living as a feral for well over a year. She'd had 3 batches of kittens before she was finally trapped, spayed immediately, and I brought her home. She appears to think she is starving all the time, to the point where she will jump in my lap, when I am eating dinner, to try to eat off my plate. She will eat almost anything, including vegetables, wolfing her food down. I have 4 other cats, and all are adapting to one another. But I have to limit the amount of food available, or she would eat until she became ill. I'm sure this has something to do with the fact that she has actually been starving, while trying to survive in the streets, and care for kittens, at the same time. If I knew it was likely to lessen, over time, I would be prepared to just be patient with her. But I am very concerned that it might be a serious disorder, and I just feel so sorry for her, as she spends hours searching for food, jumping on tables, countertops, anyplace she feels food might be. Have you heard of this problem before, and if so, what would your advice be. / Diane Prentice
Sorry, I have no picture yet, but she is a full grown calico cat.
Answer by KAte
Hi yes I think you are absolutely right about this. I have seen this before a few times.
On the street food is very scarce and so cats can become obsessive about food when they return to a domestic scene. even though food is available they think they have to eat as much as they can before it all runs out.
this should decrease in time but what you need to do is to create routine feeding times for her and to stick to it. Over time she will get used to this routine and will become less highly strung about food.
If she finds it hard to relax about food you may want to consider giving her something to help her relax and calm down in the meantime. Please see my webpage about anxious cats etc here
Although their are condition which cause cats to be hungry all the time such as thyroid condition i think she is probably too young to be suffering from those.
best wishes Kate