How to tell if your cat is eating enough

Making sure our cats are eating enough is one of the most important elements of being a pet parent. And it’s normal to look for advice, particularly around diet and what is an appropriate amount of food for your furry family member.

That’s why it’s vital we are able to tell when they’re hungry.

One of the biggest telltale signs a feline’s feeling famished is when you hear them meowing.

While it’s perfectly normal for a cat to cry if they want feeding – and nothing to be concerned about – we do need to be sure hunger is the reason for any sudden vocalizations.

Is your cat actually hungry?

Cats do love their food, but working out whether they’re hungry or not isn’t always the easiest of tasks.

Felines can be greedy little eaters, and will sometimes demand food even when they’re full. Others will meow around a scheduled mealtime simply because they know food is on its way.

Perfecting a cat’s diet can take time. As well as ensuring they’re receiving the right balance of nutrients, you need to be sure you’re serving up the correct amount.

Too little in their bowls will inevitably lead to empty stomachs. Alternatively, if they’re wolfing down their food in a matter of seconds this may be because they’re not getting enough, or there’s too big of a gap between mealtimes.

Also, are they struggling to keep food down? This isn’t just a sign of overeating, it could be a sign of a poor-quality diet, which means their body won’t be getting all the vital nutrients it needs, leaving your feline hungry and unhappy.

Begging for food

If your cat is begging for food it may be because they’re simply not being fed enough, or that the food you’re serving them isn’t providing the sufficient nutrition.

As we’ve already mentioned though, some food-obsessed felines can carry on demanding food even when they’re full. We need to be careful we’re not encouraging this type of behavior.

If a feline begins relating begging to being rewarded, it can be a difficult habit to break. And if we’re constantly giving into their demands, overfeeding – and all the health problems that come with it – becomes a real risk.

Potential medical issues

A cat with an insatiable appetite may actually be a clue pointing towards underlying health issues.

In fact, there are a number of medical conditions that can actually lead to increased hunger in our pets. Some of these include:

  • Worms. Intestinal parasites, such as worms, can leave our cats in a constant state of hunger. This is because rather than your cat’s body absorbing all the healthy nutrients they ingest through their diet, these little parasitic creatures are gobbling them up instead. Deworming medication is often used to bring the problem under control.
  • Early indications of diabetes. Increased hunger can often be an early indication of diabetes. As a cat’s body struggles to break down the amount of glucose it needs for energy, this can lead to them wanting more food. Other signs of diabetes include increased urination, thirst, weight loss and sickness. Diabetes is diagnosed with urine/blood tests and treated with insulin injections.
  • Hyperthyroidism. An overactive thyroid(s) can cause your cat’s body to use up more energy, leading to them crying out for food, or water, more often. Other symptoms include weight loss, difficulty sleeping, a rapid heart rate and fatigue. When checking for hyperthyroidism, a vet will perform a physical exam on your cat. Treatment can include medication, radioactive iodine therapy or surgery.

Whenever your cat’s eating habits suddenly change, it’s often a good idea to book an appointment with a vet. There may well be a simple explanation, but if there is an underlying medical condition, early diagnosis and treatment is always better.


Much like us, different cats have different appetites, and so how much you feed your feline will depend on a number of factors including age, breed, and weight.

The best way to tell whether your cat is eating enough is by monitoring their intake, tracking how much they’re eating and leaving.

Feeding your feline a high-quality diet – one that meets all their nutritional requirements – will not only keep them fighting fit, it should also stop them begging.

Read our What Is The Best Diet Food For Cats? article for a closer look on what you should be feeding them.

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