While interest in food is to be expected from your kitten, an obsession with eating is another matter.
KIttens can go crazy for food because:
- Kittens use up a lot of energy playing and may not be getting enough food to compensate.
- Another pet in the house may be pushing the kitten out the way and eating their food. The cause could be that
- Your kitten may have a behavioral or medical condition that creates an obsession with food.
An obsessive interest or even aggression when it comes to food needs to be paid attention to.
Kittens have a well-deserved reputation for their playfulness, but they also hold the record for snoozing up to 20 hours a day!
It is their awake time that they devote their hours to play, exploring, cuddling, and general mischief; this activity takes a lot of energy, which needs to be replenished by food.
Kittens need less meals as they get older
As a general rule – the following guidelines can be relied upon.
- From the fourth week of life, some solid food can be soaked in water until it is mushy and the consistency of a puree. Let the kitten get used to this new taste while they are still feeding off mum, or taking a bottle.
- After eight weeks: (after weaning) to around four months old, they can be given 5 servings of food a day. A mix of 5 grams of dry or moist food per serve. After a kitten is weaned, it doesn’t drink a lot of water, so get the fluids into them by alternating 2 serves of dry food to 3 moist.
- As their little tummies expand they can take in more food, slowly increase their portions by 10 grams.
- After 6 -8 months depending on your kitten’s growth, slowly decrease the number of times your kitten is fed. They should end up with approx. 20 -30 gms per serve.
- Then from 8 -12 months, the meals should drop to two meals per day.
This is a general guideline, but it will depend on how active your kitten is, and their health, and the weight.
They Need Quality Food Designed for Kittens
What you have to understand, is that all food is not created equal. The kitten food manufacturers are a business, therefore their number one goal is to make a profit.
While most are ethical, some don’t deserve your money! Their product is low energy, low quality, and not worth shelling out the dollars for.
- Do your homework to ensure your kitten is getting enough from their food. Check online sources for the top products listed.
- Ask your veterinarian what products are best for your kitty and what they recommend. Some products are made to be slightly acidic (as it is in nature), which will help prevent urinary tract problems. They also have the benefit of killing bad bacteria in their mouth! No more stinky breath!
- Products that are designed for adult cats are too strong for a kitten; you need something easily digestible, tasty, and growth-promoting. What you need is a kitten formulation food designed with them in mind.
A quality kitten food will deliver nourishment to your kitten, which will stop them from acting like a crazy feline around food.
Does Your Home Harbour a Food Thief?
No one wants to admit that one of their family members (of the fur variety) is a thief! But if you have other animals such as adult cats or a dog or two, they are not above picking up an extra meal from your kitten if they can.
- The reason your kitten is going crazy for food may be caused by a more mature cat or dog pushing them out of the way and then wolfing down their food.
- Your kitten’s obsession for food may stem from genuine hunger – they are missing a meal or two!!
- If you discover this is the cause, shut the kitten into an area where the other pets cannot get into, so your kitten has time to relax and eat their food. Once they grow to full size, they should be able to push back on would-be thieves.
- You can get a feeding bowl that only opens to the kitten or cat that has the right microchip. This could be a help, although once it is open, the thief could still steal the meal.
Your Kitten Could Have a Behavioural Problem
Does your kitten greet you with leg rubbing, meowing, or seek your attention when you walk in the door? Many people confuse this greeting as a request for a meal.
The correct way to respond to this greeting is by rewarding the behavior with some attention, such as petting or play. That is what your kitten is asking for – they are saying ‘hi’ not ‘feed me.’
Leave the feeding of your kitten to a little later on, otherwise you will end up teaching them to beg or demand food every time you come inside.
The following habits then become a problem:
- Trying to get onto the benchtop where you are preparing food.
- Climbing up you, to get at the food you are preparing! Discourage this quickly as it can turn into a painful behavioral problem. Tiny claws can still rip flesh!
- If they get given treats and food on demand, your kitten will usually end up demanding more. Why wouldn’t they try to get as much as they can?
- Getting addicted to the taste of food, or certain products. This is where having a routine feeding pattern can help overcome the temptation to feed them on demand.
- Eating too quickly without taking their time to chew or digest food. This behavioral problem can cause choking or vomiting. Try to slow them down by putting food in a container that is designed to slow eating with groves in the bottom of the dish.
Some simple guidelines to feeding include each kitten having their separate food and water station. A quiet area is preferable. Keep everything clean as kittens are very fastidious about their bowls.
An interesting study found that many cats that werefed on a cooked food diet versus those fed raw food, showed that the cats on the cooked diet showed more aggressive behavior towards their handlers.
This behavior was easily reversed when the cats were put back on a raw meat diet. Something to think about if your kitten is acting crazy – it could be their source of food?
There Are Medical Conditions That Can Be Causes ?
If your crazy kitten’s antics are not caused by other pets pinching their food, or the quality of the food.
If they are not addicted to food, and you are giving regular meals as suggested by your vet.
Your kitten may have a medical problem causing them to become obsessed with food.
Medical conditions that make your kitten want more food.
- Diabetes and insulin-related tumors can affect blood sugar and cause hunger.
- An inability to absorb nutrients due to a gastrointestinal disease can affect appetite.
Medical conditions that can cause a loss of appetite
- Stress and anxiety – providing more physical and mental stimulation will help.
- Pancreatitis, gastrointestinal issues, and cancer.
- Toxic substances (such as chocolate or common house plants.)
- Kidney disease or an immune disease.
Loss of or excess appetite can be caused by many medical conditions. You need to have your kitten checked by a veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.
Pica Is if Your Cat Starts to Eat Non Food Items.
Pica is a condition where your kitten may start eating things that are not food.
- These items may be plastic, rocks, plants, and more.
- Kittens who are weaned too early can start a habit of sucking on things, which can lead to pica.
This habit can be dangerous and cause gastrointestinal blockages, choking, poisoning, etc. Talk with your vet if this becomes a problem.
All kittens and cats can get a little crazy around food. Cats are natural opportunistic eaters in the wild, and this habit can carry through to the modern pampered pussycat.
Begging can become persistent behavior if you give into them all the time. Try to detract them from food with fun activities.
If you are clever enough to keep stalling them until their next meal is ready, you will have the edge over your crazy-for-food kitten!
Writer: Jean Brewer