Is your kitten begging for food all the time? While it may be annoying, these are the possible reasons for it.
- Habitual behaviour when they learn to recognise the signs of mealtime.
- The time between meals may too long, they need small but frequent meals
- A way of getting more of your attention.
- Eating as a comfort or boredom solution.
- An adult cat or dog may be sneaking the kitten’s food!
- A sign of a medical issue such as worms, hyperthyroidism, or diabetes to name just a few
Kittens are little furballs of energy, and all they want to do is eat, sleep and race around attacking everything they find.
It makes sense then that they will need an adequate diet to replace the energy they burn off. If their diet is inadequate, then you will have the cutest little kitten begging for more food, and it is hard to resist such a cute request.
But Before You Cave into your Kitten’s Plea, Read on to Find Out Why Your Kitten May be Acting This Way.
It is better to learn WHY your kitten wants more and solve the issue, rather than default to training your young cat to become a habitual beggar by giving into them.
Here are some handy guidelines.
- Depending on the age of your kitten, the feeding schedule will vary in content and amount depending on their age.
- Rule of thumb for an 8 to 10-week old kitten is that they will require to be fed about four small meals a day.
- Both canned and dry foods are okay, but dry foods may need to be mixed with a little water until your kitten is used to the taste and texture.
- You can warm the wet food up for your kitten as they have been used to mum’s warm milk.
From birth to six months will be a time of change in meal size and frequency of meals for your kitten.
If you are in doubt of what to feed your growing kitten, and to ensure your young cat has adequate food and doesn’t need to resort to begging, talk to your veterinarian as they will be happy to talk to you about what your kitten requires.
The Time Between Meals May Be Too Long
Kittens need a surprising amount of food per day due to the energy they burn off during their awake time. They are always exploring, getting into mischief, chasing, and pouncing.
If your kitten isn’t being fed enough or the meals are too far apart, they will get hungry quickly and will start to beg you for food. To avoid this becoming a habit, break up their total daily allowance of food into smaller meals that you can give them more often.
Keeping that little belly full will help your kitten develop good eating habits. They will be happier and content, and you won’t be tripping over the little furball every time you go to the kitchen.
But it is a balancing act, you don’t want to overfeed them either as it is not good for their health. Here are some tips about what, when, and how much to feed your kitten.
Kittens Soon Learn the Signs that a Meal is on its Way!
Kittens are savvy little creatures, and soon learn that the kitchen is where the food comes from. The little rascal can hear a can or a bag of food being opened a mile away, and in they will come running and meowing.
But the food is not always for them, so you have to train your little kitten to have a few manners.
- Keep them calm and don’t allow them to try and climb up to get close to the food.
- Stand firm and ignore the begging
- Stick to your chosen meal times for the kitten, so they become used to small regular meals throughout the day.
- Distract them by offering them some attention and a cuddle.
Remember that your kitten has been fed on demand by their mum, and that they are going through a time of adjustment. Be patient and kind, and your young kitten will soon learn the new rules about feeding.
Begging for Attention – Not to Be Confused with Hunger.
Kittens love attention, after all, they are born with many siblings, and once they all go to new homes, a little kitten can be lonely and may need constant reassuring.
The attention they get when they beg for a treat only encourages them to use food as an attention-getting ploy.
Take the time to give your kitten your full attention. If you are working from home, invite them into your office and have a selection of toys for them to play with, and offer snug beds to sleep in when they burn off their energy.
Your lap will be a welcome haven to a newly rehomed kitten, offering warmth and security while they adjust to their new home.
Do not weaken and use food as a ploy to control them as it doesn’t work. The extra time getting your kitten settled into a routine feeding pattern is well worth the effort.
Your Cat Is Bored
Believe it or not, kittens can get bored without any environmental enrichment. Food is nice, but they can only have so much before eating habits become a problem. A bored kitten will beg for food to fill up the emptiness inside them.
Rather than feed their stomachs, feed their curiosity and sense of adventure.
In other words, do not leave it up to your kitten to find something to do, instead provide plenty of creative ways to provide them with fun. You can do this by following some of the suggestions below.
- Boxes and paper bags are a ton of fun for a kitten (but not plastic bags which can be dangerous). They can play hide and seek, and felines love the sound of the paper.
- Cat climbing frames or trees are exciting for them, just make sure they are the appropriate height for a small kitten.
- Cat water fountains will mesmerize a curious kitten, an exercise wheel will keep them busy, and a ton of cat toys and rolling balls will enchant them.
- Loose packing paper makes a cool sound to rip and tear.
Use your imagination to entertain your kitten and keep their mind off food. Best of all, spend some time with your kitten playing or cuddling so they feel secure.
Looking after their diet is only one aspect of successful pet care. Providing them with an environment that satisfies their natural instinct and which promotes physical, psychological, and emotional well being is very important.
An Older Cat or Dog Maybe Stealing Your Kittens Meal.
If you have other pets within your household, make sure you watch over your kitten while they feed. Older cats or dogs are not beyond trying to steal some of the small cat’s food.
If your kitten is begging for food all the time, it may be that they only get a small portion of their food before the other pets push them away and cobble it all up.
In this case, your kitten is genuinely hungry and is missing out on vital nutrition.
Make sure you supervise meal times for pets. Older pets don’t do it out of spite, it is just that an extra meal is hard to ignore.
Until your kitten gets bigger and can fight for themselves, you are their champion and must defend their meal so that they get enough food!
Begging for Food may be a Medical Issue.
Don’t ignore any constant nagging for food from your kitten as they may have a medical condition that is causing them severe hunger.
Parasites (such as worms, which come in many varieties – none of them good), hyperthyroidism, and diabetes are just a few of the reasons causing your kitten to beg for food.
If your young feline is always begging for food, take them to visit the vet for a health check-up to see what it is that is causing your kitten to act so ravenously.
- Be aware that all food is not created equal. Some pet foods are better quality than others, so if your little beggar is demanding food all the time, they may just need a better source of cat food than you are giving them.
- Kittens without strong teeth cannot eat dry foods properly, they need canned food until their new teeth become stronger.
- Any behaviour that seems excessive needs to be taken seriously, as young kittens can pick up health issues firstly from their mother, then other diseases from the environment.
Within 24 -48 hours of adopting a kitten, take them to the vet to have a health check to ensure they are don’t have dehydration or hypoglycemia, which is low blood sugar. It only takes a few minutes, and then you can be confident that your kitten is healthy.
Final Word on Kittens Who Beg For Food.
Allowing your cat to beg for food is a slippery slope to get onto, as breaking this habit once it has formed is an uphill battle.
By all means, take the first signs of this behavior seriously, and try to determine what is driving your kitten to beg. Is it genuine hunger (get your vet to check your kitten’s health) or is it boredom, loneliness, too long between meals, or another environmental issue.
Kittens are adorable – they are full of mischief and like to live life to the fullest. Their main occupation seems to be eating, playing, and of course, sleeping.
Being aware of kitten behavior will avert any behavior quirks that start to form.
Remember, you are now this kittens parent, you are responsible for their health, and you are obliged to keep this little ball of fur and energy topped up with quality fuel, but you also must resist those bright eyes and pleading request for more food than is healthy.
Writer: Jean Brewer