My adult cat is about 5 years old and is constantly crying for food. He sounds panicked, as if he hasn't had anything to eat in days. This happens whenever I am home, even through the night. I typically get up around 3 or 4 a.m. to feed him. When I do feed him, I give him small portions because he'll eat too fast and end up throwing it back up. I have another cat who is about 2, and can eat a normal amount and be ok until the next feeding. I've tried different cat food brands but nothing seems to be different. Is there something I can do?Thanks!Colleen
Hello Colleen, I am sorry to hear about your fellow and concerned that there may be a medical problem behind his behavior.
Is he losing weight?
Are his stools large and/or soft and greasy?
Are you feeding him dry food only or canned or both?
Cats that have a thyroid gland tumor will have a very high metabolism and thus have a hard time eating enough to feel satisfied.
Cats with pancreatic disease may have a hard time digesting their food or abdominal pain will feel abdominal pain which may make them think they are hungry.
Cats with intestinal diseases, either inflammatory bowel disease or a malabsorption or maldigestion problem will have a hard time digesting and absorbing food and always feel hungry.
Cats with dietary allergies may have difficulty absorbing and digesting their food.
Cats witk an overwhelming parasite load will have a hard time eating enough.
And cats that vomit frequently will likely have painful acidic esophageal reflux which feels better when they have food to absorb the acid in their stomach.
Some cats that overeat dry food have it absorb fluids in the stomach and overexpand leading to vomiting and painful gastroesophgeal reflux.
So you can see there are lots of possible reasons for his behavior.
Ideally he would see his veterinarian for an examination, fecal check to look for parasites as well as blood tests to looks for pancreatitis (fel spec PL) and pancreatic insufficiency (TLI) as well as a complete blood count and profile to make sure his organs are functioning normally and a T-4 to check his thyroid gland.
In the meantime try feeding a bland diet that is canned or mixed with warm water.
I recommend canned Hills Prescription i/d or Purina Veterinary Diets EN, or for a short time a homemade diet of 2/3 boiled and minced white, skinless chicken and 1/3 boiled white rice. Add low salt chicken broth to increase his fluid intake. This is not a balanced diet and shouldn't be fed for more than a week as it lacks essential nutrients but it will allow you to see if a bland diet helps.
To help with reflux you can give you can try giving him an acid reducer to see if that helps. You can try either:
1) Pepcid ac (famotodine) at 1/4 of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pound cat every 12 to 24 hours
2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at 1/4 of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pound cat every 24 hours.Let me know if you have any further questions.