All cats let their owners know that they are hungry from time to time. A hungry cat might vocalise loudly, purr, or rub up against its human owner. However, sometimes cats can become excessively or constantly hungry. An increased appetite in a cat can be a symptom of a health or nutritional problem, especially if it is accompanied by weight loss.
Hyperthyroidism is a hormone disorder caused when the body produces too much thyroid hormone. It is most often caused by a tumour on the thyroid gland. The symptoms of hyperthyroidism in cats are a voracious appetite in combination with weight loss. The animal might also drink more water or need to urinate more frequently. This disorder usually occurs in cats that are middle-aged or elderly.
A veterinarian can diagnose the disorder by feeling for enlargement in the thyroid glands. He can also take a blood test to check for high levels of thyroid hormones or perform a urinalysis to look for the presence of any other diseases.
Hyperthyroidism is treatable by surgically removing the thyroid gland, by giving the cat an anti-thyroid medication such as methimazole, or by using radioactive iodine.
According to the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, diabetes mellitus is a condition that happens when the cat's pancreas does not produce enough insulin. Cats that are overweight or middle-aged are at high risk of developing this type of diabetes.
The symptoms of diabetes mellitus are excessive hunger accompanied by weight loss, chronic bladder infections, cataracts, and constant thirst, as well as frequent urination. A veterinarian can diagnose the disease by performing a blood test to check for excessive amounts of sugar in the cat's bloodstream.
Diabetes mellitus is often accompanied by ketoacidosis, a disorder where the kidneys are unable to remove all of the waste products in the body. The veterinarian may perform a urinalysis to check for symptoms of this secondary disorder. Feline diabetes can be controlled through oral medications or regular insulin injections.
According to the Vet Info website, excessive hunger in cats can be caused from tapeworms. Tapeworms absorb all of the nutrients that the cat takes in, so the cat is left feeling constantly hungry no matter how much it eats. The cat may even lose weight because it is not getting enough nutrition.
Tapeworms are easily diagnosed by the owner. The worms are segmented, and they often break off segments called proglottids that are passed out through the cat's anus or in its stool. Proglottids are small, flat, white objects that look like grains of rice. They are filled with tapeworm eggs. Tapeworms are easily treated with a prescription deworming medication.