Why is my cat always hungry but skinny?


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We all want our furry friends to be happy and healthy as pet owners. So if you’re wondering why your cat is always hungry but remains skinny, this article will provide you with what you need to know and the actions you can take to care of your cat. 

Essentially, there’s a sweet spot when it comes to a cat’s weight. This weight is around 10 pounds. Being overweight can lead to health problems like feline diabetes, arthritis, and pancreatitis. On the other hand, being underweight can result from kidney disease, diabetes, or just old age. 

If your cat is eating the recommended amount of food and does not have any underlying health issues, you should easily maintain its weight in that sweet spot. However, if your cat eats regular meals, is always hungry, and remains on the skinnier side, there could be something amiss. 

Fortunately, there are ways to treat most underlying health issues that result in unnecessary weight loss in cats. You can visit your cat’s veterinarian and get the prescription medicine or treatment plan they need to resolve any health issues. You can also switch up their diet to better suit their needs or make lifestyle changes to make them more comfortable.

best Products discussed in the article:


Hill’s Science Diet Senior 7+ Wet Cat Food Pouch

Made for Senior Cats

Purina Beyond Grain Free, Natural Dry Cat Food

High-quality cat food

Tiki Cat After Dark Grain-Free, Low-Carbohydrate Wet

2nd High-quality cat food

Hill’s Prescription Diet y/d Thyroid Care Dry Cat Food,

Thyroid Issues

Blue Buffalo Blissful Belly Digestive Care

Made for Digestive Issues

Why Is My Cat Eating So Much but Not Gaining Weight? 

If your cat is always hungry, there are a few reasons your cat may be eating plenty but not gaining weight. 

There are common factors that can inhibit weight gain in cats, and there are health problems that can cause weight loss. These common factors could be breed, type of food, or aging. More worrisome factors like worms, feline diabetes, or digestive diseases could be the culprit too. 

Please keep reading to learn what factors could be at large when it comes to your cat’s weight and how to handle them. 

Normal Factors that Inhibit Weight Gain in Cats 


Some cat breeds, by nature, are more active than others (i.e., Bengal, Abbysinian, or Savannah, to name a few). These breeds of cats are naturally more active and agile and typically have leaner slender bodies. This particular body type is partially due to their breeding, making it easier to maintain healthy, slim, sleek weights. 

On the other hand, fluffier, rounder breeds like Persian or Maine Coons can often have a more challenging time maintaining a low enough body weight. These breeds of cats are best known for being docile and lounge cats. Because of this, they may overindulge and pack on the pounds.

If you have a more active cat breed and they’re underweight, feed them more and encourage more periods of rest into their day. If you have a cat breed that tends to be larger, make an effort to engage them in playful activities more often. 

You may also consider a lower carb food for weight management, like one included in our article about the best cat foods for diabetic cats. Your cat doesn’t have to be diabetic to benefit from weight management food. This could be the difference between them developing diabetes mellitus if they’re teetering on that line.


Cat’s get lonely and depressed, just like people. When left alone to entertain themselves, without any form of companionship, they may become listless and bored. This can result in a loss of appetite, leading to weight loss. 

If your cat shows up for mealtimes but isn’t interested in eating, they may be sad or bored with their food. Having a cat is a big responsibility, and they need your time and attention. So take time to play with your cat, cuddle up with them, integrate them into whatever you’re doing. 

Eventually, your cat may come out of its depressive slump and start eating and playing more frequently. But unfortunately, something else cats do when they have a healthy, secure relationship with their owner is mirroring. They quite literally become copycats trying to reproduce your habits and behavior. 

Getting Older 

As cats reach their more senior years, it’s perfectly natural for things to slow down and for cats to lose weight. This is primarily because as cats age, so do their digestive processes. The digestive system may not function like it did when they were young, spry kittens. It could be that your cat is having a challenging time absorbing everything they’re eating as they mature. It’s just in and out. This won’t likely be a significant concern if your cat is otherwise healthy and comfortable.

The best course of action is to feed them regular meals and a few treats. As long as they eat and drink usually and do not present any concerning symptoms, it’s probably just old age catching them.

As your cat matures, it’s essential to give them nutritionally beneficial food to older cats. Try feeding them Hill’s Science Diet Senior 7+ Wet Cat Food Pouches and see if it results in a bit of thickening around their tummies. 


Hill’s Science Diet Senior 7+ Wet Cat Food Pouch, Variety Pack Chicken and Tuna, 2.8 oz, 12 pk

Ideal for Older Cats
Easily Digestible Natural Ingredients
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This wet cat food is typically more accessible for older cats to eat and digest as it’s made specifically for their aging bodies. If your senior cat has sensitive teeth, this will be especially nice for them as it won’t cause discomfort while chewing. It comes in two tasty flavors that cats love, chicken and tuna, and is packed with high-quality protein to promote lean muscle mass. Having food to support your cat as they age can help them stay in that sweet spot when it comes to their weight.

Not Enough or Low-Quality Food

Cat’s should generally have high protein, low carbohydrate food as their primary diet. Whether or not they have health issues to work around, this balance of protein and carbs works best for almost any cat. In addition, this balance mimics what cats would eat in the wild and what their bodies can naturally handle best. 

If your cat is always hungry, begging for more, and remaining skinny, it could be a good idea to give them an extra treat or another portion of food. Then, you’ll be able to notice pretty quickly if the excess food is ending up on them or not. 

If your cat is picking at their food and remaining skinny, they may not be interested in what you’re feeding them. Try gradually switching to a different wet or dry food, or combine the two for a one-of-a-kind meal. I’d recommend either of these foods or a combination of the two. Purina Beyond Grain-Free Natural Dry Cat Food and Tiki Cat After Dark Grain-Free, Low-Carbohydrate Wet Food

Purina Beyond Grain Free, Natural Dry Cat Food, Grain Free White Meat Chicken & Egg Recipe

Natural Dry Cat Food
High-protein Cat food
Gluten Free and Grain Free

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This dry cat food checks all the boxes for nutritionally sound and delicious cat food. It’s grain, corn, wheat, and soy-free, making it great for cats with food allergies. It’s packed with probiotics, minerals, and vitamins like vitamin B, zinc sulfate, vitamin A, and vitamin E. With the flavor of chicken and eggs, cats will get excited about this food and be getting the nutrition they need if they need to gain weight. 

This canned wet cat food variety pack features multiple flavors including chicken & quail egg, chicken recipe in broth, chicken & duck recipe in broth, dark chicken & lamb recipe in broth, and chicken & beef recipe in broth. These combinations is tasty for cats and easy on their teeth and digestive systems. It’s a great natural choice because it’s formulated without GMOs, by-product meals, or questionable dyes and preservatives. In addition, it contains the vitamins and nutrients a cat needs to maintain a healthy weight. 

Tiki Cat After Dark Grain-Free, Low-Carbohydrate Wet Food with Real Shredded Meat for Cats & Kittens 12pk Variety

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How active your cat is will also affect their number on the scale. If your cat is eating regular meals and spends their extra time romping around the house or outdoors, hunting, prowling, and playing-they’re probably going to lose weight and remain relatively thin. 

If your cat is relatively sedentary and doesn’t move much besides going between the couch and the food dish, it’s understandable they may gain a few pounds. However, this becomes a concern when your cat continues to eat, snooze, and shed weight. 

Weight gain for cats is the same strategy for weight gain in humans. It’s the ol’ calorie in, calorie out system. If the number of calories your cat is eating is less than the number of calories they are exerting while playing, they won’t gain weight. If you have a relatively healthy and active cat, they may not gain weight and remain skinny because they burn it off throughout their play days. 

If your cat is eating regular amounts of food, isn’t incredibly active, and is losing weight or remaining skinny, it could be that something else is using up those calories within your cat. This could be a parasite, like a worm sucking up the nutrients that should be going to your cat’s bodily systems. It could also be a disease setting or a more concerning health problem. Lucky for cat owners everywhere, a vet can prescribe medicine to treat worms and most diseases.

Health Problems that Cause Weight Loss in Cats 

Diabetes Mellitus 

Feline diabetes affects cats of any age and breed. Diabetes Mellitus is when a cat cannot produce insulin or utilize insulin naturally to balance its blood sugar levels. This diagnosis can lead to weight loss, amongst other troubling symptoms, if left untreated. It can also cause vomiting, dehydration, and loss of motor control. 

If you suspect your cat may be diabetic or presenting concerning symptoms, take them to the vet right away. While they may not love you for it at the moment, they’ll be better cared for and more comfortable after getting the treatment they need. In addition, a vet can quickly determine through blood tests if diabetes mellitus is what’s causing your cat to lose weight. 

When considering treatments and ongoing care for your diabetic cat, try a food that’s for their condition. To learn more about feline diabetes and the best foods to feed a diabetic cat, you can check out our article here


This ailment, which is the increased production of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland in the body like T3 and T4, typically occurs in cats middle-aged and older. When left untreated, this can commonly result in steady weight loss. Fortunately, there are remedies available to ease your cat’s discomfort and allow them to live a happy, still, fulfilling life as your furry friend. A vet can determine if hyperthyroidism is the cause for concern in your cat and treat them appropriately. 

Hill’s Prescription Diet y/d Thyroid Care Dry Cat Food, Veterinary Diet

Made for thyroid health
High in Taurine, L-carnitine (heart health)
Vet Recommended

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In addition, thyroid health-specific food like Hill’s Prescription Diet y/d Thyroid Care Dry Cat Food can be a good idea to implement. This food is specially designed and clinically tested to improve thyroid gland health in as little as three weeks. Its formula helps decrease the production of T4 and helps support bodily functions and systems like the immune system, heart health, and kidneys. It’s low iodine and rich in omega-3 fatty acids and L-carnitine, which benefits your cat’s thyroid. 

Veterinarians may also instruct you to treat your cat with a medication that includes methimazole. This FDA-approved treatment can be administered as a life-long treatment or a temporary fix until your cat can undergo more severe treatment like radioactive iodine therapy or surgery. This medication is only available when prescribed by a vet, so a trip is for this treatment plan. 

Inflammatory Bowel Disease 

This disease occurs when a cat’s gastrointestinal tract becomes inflamed and irritated regularly. This inflammation makes it difficult for a cat to digest food properly, leading to discomfort, vomiting, or weight loss. If left untreated, symptoms can become painful for cats and lead to more severe diseases like lymphoma. 

Inflammatory Bowel Disease is often in conjunction with other health issues like parasites, a food allergy, or a traumatic experience. So yes, cats can get PTSD, too, and their bodies react to it in the form of debilitating diseases.

Suppose your cat’s inflammatory bowel disease is caused by something curable, like a parasite or food allergy. In that case, you can solve those issues reasonably quickly. By visiting the vet and getting a prescribed medication to treat the parasites or switching up your cat’s food to something they’re not allergic to, you can make your cat happy and healthy again. 

The downside is that if this disease presents with other more severe diseases, like cancer, it could be a long haul to manage symptoms and make your cat comfortable. Typically this sort of scenario happens in older cats. But, in this case, you know you’ve given them a good life, and it’s going to be essential to make them as comfortable as you can in their older, final years. 

Pancreatic Disease  

This sounds scarier than it is. Inflammation of the pancreas. While a concerning health issue to tackle, some cats can still live relatively healthy and normal lives while experiencing a pancreatic disease. Some symptoms may come and go, like vomiting or diarrhea. Pancreatic disease, also known as pancreatitis, does require a change of diet in most cases. Feeding your cat something like Blue Buffalo Blissful Belly Digestive Care Formula Dry Cat Food can be a big help in making your cat comfortable and healthy while they live with this disease. 

Blue Buffalo True Solutions Blissful Belly Digestive Care Formula Dry Cat Food

Ideal for Sensitive Stomachs
Great Source of Fiber
Vitamin C and E

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Since the pancreas is part of the digestive system, feeding your cat a digestive system-friendly food will benefit them. This dry cat food includes a prebiotic fiber that promotes a smooth digestive process from beginning to end. It’s also full of vital nutrients and vitamins like vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids to support a healthy immune system.

The good news is that this disease is treatable, and if treated promptly and appropriately, your cat can have a thriving life. In some cases, the pancreatic disease is another symptom associated with inflammatory bowel disease. If the pancreatic disease is a secondary symptom, treating the initial health concern should remedy the secondary one. 

Intestinal Parasites 

Just thinking about intestinal worms is making me squirm. Imagine how your cat feels having them if you have the same reaction. While they’re unpleasant to think about, the proper medication can treat them. A vet can prescribe or treat your cat with just the right one.

Some cat care clinics will even allow a stool sample to be analyzed.This can be a great way to go if your cat panics at every mention of the word “Vet.” 

If you suspect worms are causing your cat to remain skinny and hungry, give your vet a call. They can instruct you on what the next steps are for ridding the intestinal parasites from your cat. 

What is the Ideal Weight for Cats? 

This number may fluctuate depending on the age and breed of your cat, but most cats should weigh in at around 10 pounds. Like people, each cat is built a little differently, and when the number on the scale is more or less than 10 pounds, they can still be perfectly happy and healthy. 

Siamese or Bengal cats, for example, maybe closer to 5-7 pounds. As we mentioned above, some breeds are naturally more slender and trim. Other species of cat, like Maine Coon, maybe closer to 12-15 pounds. Yet, they’re both still perfectly healthy cats.


Why is My Cat Begging for Food? 

There are a handful of reasons, some harmful and some not, that could be why your cat is begging for food. 

If your cat is a lean, mean, playful machine, they may just be burning off whatever they eat and begging for more to replenish their energy levels. This isn’t a concerning or harmful reason for them to pray. If they’re healthy otherwise and not on a special diet or meal plan, try giving them a little extra food to curb their increased appetite.

If your cat is begging for food, presenting other concerning symptoms, and remaining skinny despite their couch-potato lifestyle, there may be cause for concern. When in doubt, take them to a vet. A professional can diagnose and treat far faster and easier than most pet owners can. Unfortunately, the longer you wait, the longer your cat is uncomfortable.

What Can I Feed My Cat to Help Them Gain Weight? 

Similar to humans, the more fatty and carbohydrate-dense foods a cat consumes, the more likely they are to gain weight. This is especially true when paired with a more sedentary lifestyle.

When buying cat food, something to look for is to check out the nutritional facts label on the bag. Often, cat food brands will include the percentage of fats, carbs, and protein so you can pick a hefty load of food for your feline. 

How Can I Tell If My Cat Has Worms? 

There are a few obvious signs you’ll notice right away if your cat has worms. 

Another sure sign of worms is checking your cat’s stool after using the litter box. While it can be a little gross, be sure to wear gloves and separate the stool in the litter box while it’s still fresh. Then, if worms are present, you’ll be able to see them there. 

The first is that you will physically see the worms. These usually appear around a cat’s anus or tail. These typically look like little white seed-shaped things that occasionally move or wriggle. You can’t miss em’. 

The last sign that’s the most obvious in determining if worms are present in your cat is the state of their belly. If the sides are bloated and complicated to the touch while the rest of their frame remains small, this could be a warning sign that your cat has worms.

Final Thoughts 

It can be tricky sometimes to determine if there is a medical issue present in your cat, causing them to be skinny and hungry all the time. But, sometimes, they’re just hungry and want an extra snack-plain and simple.

If you’re asking yourself, “Why is my cat always hungry but skinny?” Use your best judgment and if you’re not sure, take them to the vet. In the long run, it’s worth it to get your cat the care they need so they can live a longer, healthier life with you.

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Katy Duncan

Katy Duncan is a writer/content creator based in the Pacific North West. When she's not busy writing captivating content for clients, she's working on her novel or spending time with her feline friend, Merlin Magoo, and her many prospering houseplants.