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Why Your Cat's Appetite has Increased

 by simone on 28 Jul 2014 |
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Cats are like us in many ways – they enjoy a stretch, a nap in the sun and some peace and quiet. They can also experience an increased appetite. Cold weather, greater activity, growth periods, pregnancy and lactation are all possible, and normal, causes of increased appetite.
 
Polyphagia is the term used for an increased consumption of food. Your vet should investigate any change in appetite that results in a change in your cat’s weight as it could be related to a medical condition. You should always consult your vet if your cat loses their appetite, whether accompanied by any weight change or not.
 
Often older cats will experience polyphagia and this is a normal part of the aging process.

Your cat could beg constantly for food due to learned behaviour or overfeeding.
 
Food that is of poor quality will mean that your cat needs to consume larger amounts to meet nutritional and dietary requirements. Always give your cat quality food that has the right nutritional value. Your vet will be able to provide brand suggestions. 
 
Some medications, such as those containing steroids, may lead to increased appetite. Your vet and the information on the medication’s packaging will indicate if this is expected. If it is not an expected side effect then consult your vet.
 
Medical conditions
Some diseases or conditions are associated with increases in appetite and will result in weight gain or loss.
  • Intestinal parasites or worms 
  • Hyperadrenocorticism or Cushing’s disease – more common in middle-aged or older cats and is caused by the excessive production of cortisol by the adrenal gland. Often associated with increased thirst and urination.
  • Hyperthyroidism – usually occurs in older cats and results from a tumour of the thyroid gland. Other symptoms include weight loss, vomiting, increased heart rate and increased activity. 
  • Acromegaly – the overproduction of growth hormone by the pituitary gland usually as a result of a tumour.
  • Diabetes mellitus – due to an insufficient production of insulin in the body or when cells don’t respond to insulin.  Usually also accompanied by excessive thirst and urination. 
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis – caused when the body can’t utilise glucose and instead begins to break down fat for energy.
  • Insulin producing tumors (insulinomas, liver tumors) – these cause a lowering of blood sugar levels. 
  • Conditions associated with malabsorption or maldigestion such as inflammatory bowel disorders, intestinal cancers and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency where there is insufficient pancreatic enzymes for complete digestion.
Accompanying symptoms to look out for :
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Change in body shape
  • Muscle weakness or degeneration
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Changes in behaviour
 
 

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