Cat Eating Disorders

Cat eating habits vary by individuals, and many cats often appear finicky because they don't need to eat as much as others. However, there are serious cat eating disorders that may need medical treatment to solve.

Normal Cat Eating Habits

To determine if your cat's eating habits are abnormal, you must know what's normal for your cat. In their natural environment, cats hunt for their 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. A mix of protein sources is important to your cat's dietary needs.

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

Feline Anorexia

Cats can develop anorexia, where they lose interest in eating and then continue to refuse food. Cats can also starve themselves to death. However, many times feline anorexia is not the primary problem.

Many illnesses, such as kidney failure, liver failure, dental diseases or tumors, can cause a cat to lose interest in food. If your cat suddenly stops eating, consult your veterinarian. There's no way to treat the anorexia without treating the underlying illness.

If your cat is allowed outdoors, he may be receiving his meals other ways. He may be hunting, eating a neighbor's higher quality food or even eating out of your trash. If your cat isn't eating or losing weight, try to determine where else he might be finding his meals.

If there is no underlying medical disorder, your cat's anorexia may be caused by spoiled food. Try switching brands or protein sources to see if your cat becomes more interested in eating.

If there's nothing wrong with the food, your cat's anorexia may be caused by stress. If you've recently changed jobs or homes, or added or lost a family member, your cat may be depressed. Provide enticements for your cat's food and be sure to provide quality time for your cat. Provide him with a safe room and add a DAP diffuser, which adds calming pheremones into the air. Your veterinarian may also recommend medication to restore your cat's emotional health.

Feline Pica

Another cat eating disorder is pica, which consists of eating inappropriate food items. This can be anything from plastic and string, to metal and rocks.

This can be caused by a dietary deficiency or mental distress. Switch to a high quality diet that consists largely of quality protein sources, rather than meat byproducts, corn or wheat. Add fiber to your cat's diet, such as a spoonful of canned pumpkin.

If that doesn't help, try reducing your cat's stress as you would an anorexic cat. Your vet may also recommend medication designed for treating obsessive-compulsive disorders.

There are many potential causes for cat eating disorders. Try to determine what's causing the problem so it can be properly treated.