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My Cat is Chowing Down on Everything in Sight

Your dainty cat Molly has an appetite that matches her small body. Rather than eating her food in one sitting, Molly picks at her kibbles, although she generally empties her bowl by evening. Lately, though, little Molly has been gorging herself, gobbling up her food with lightning speed, and then begging for more. Molly has even scarfed a bit of your dog Toby’s food. Something has gone haywire with Molly’s eating habits, and you don’t want your little feline princess to pack on the pounds. You’re also concerned about a hidden medical problem. You’ve asked your Poulsbo veterinarian to pinpoint the cause of Molly’s change in eating habits.

Feline Eating Disorder

Yes, cats can have eating disorders too; and in this case, it’s a medical condition called polyphagia that causes Molly to radically increase her food intake. If this behavior has gone on for awhile, Molly might be a bit rounder through the middle. She might also be drinking more water and urinating more. However, in a strange twist of fate, Molly could instead be dropping weight even while she crams more food down her throat.

What’s Behind the Gorging Behavior

Perhaps Molly’s gastrointestinal system is out of whack, and she has problems absorbing her food properly. Or, Molly could have developed diabetes or another metabolic disease. While Molly’s eating everything in sight, she’s growing thinner, and she really can’t afford to lose any body weight. Taking a different tack, Molly’s appetite might have increased because of a medication side effect; or perhaps Molly’s just growing into a senior feline lady with a noticeably bigger appetite.

Diagnostic Detective Work

First, your vet will give Molly a thorough physical exam; and he’ll likely add blood work, a urinalysis, and X-rays. If he suspects a kidney- or liver-related problem, he’ll probably test Molly’s internal organ functions. Finally, your vet can perform a stomach endoscopy, obtaining tissue samples that provide additional clues.

Targeted Treatment

If Molly’s GI system is the culprit, oral medications or dietary changes might solve the problem. If Molly’s healthy but can’t stop gorging herself, your vet will likely revamp her diet and ask you to control her food intake. More-frequent smaller meals might work; or perhaps Molly needs a special fiber-rich diet.

While Molly might express her displeasure with her new food and/or meal schedule, follow your Poulsbo vet’s recommendations to the letter. If necessary, your vet can tweak Molly’s feeding program until her appetite returns to normal.

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