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Cat is really hungry.

Species: Cat
Breed: Tortie (Calico)
Age: 5-8 years
Maya has feline asthma and has been on inhaled corticosteroids for a year (Ciclosenide). She already had a big appetite (she's 10 lbs./3 0z. - a good weight), but now being on the corticosteroid she's hungry and crying to eat almost all the time.

Is there any kind of food/substance she could ingest to make her feel more full? An herb to curb her appetite? I'm getting a ceramic water fountain with the hopes that she'll drink more water (that could help a little). I already mix her food with water.

It's painful to see her feel so hungry all the time and not be able to help her.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for an interesting question.

I don't know that I have ever seen a cat have this side effect from steroids. With dogs we will often see an increase in thirst and appetite on steroids, but cats don't usually get these side effects.

After typing that I did do some research in some veterinary resources I have and there are some cats that can get an increased appetite on oral or injected steroids. But I couldn't find any reference to cats on inhaled steroids having an increase in appetite.

Has she had blood and fecal tests done recently? It's not a bad idea to have your vet do this just to make sure there is no other medical reason for her to have an increase in appetite.

With all that being said, there is a new food on the market that may help with her ravenous appetite. It is called "Satiety" and it is a prescription food made by Royal Canin. Cats on this food will feel much more full than on a regular food.

One other thing that may help is if she likes any fruits or vegetables (other than grapes, onions or garlic) she can have these to help her feel full as well!

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Dr. Marie,

Thanks for your reply. Some facts you should know about Maya.

For 5.5 years she was a near 13 lb cat eating dry food in an amount appropriate for a 13 lb cat (she was a rescue at two yrs old). When diagnosed with FA, the doc here at The Animal Medical Center said she was way overweight for her size and should be closer, if not under ten pounds. He was also concerned with turning her diabetic through long term use of steroids. As well, one month before the diagnosis, she had her teeth cleaned for the first time ever and they found twelve teeth that were rotten (I'm told it happens sometimes)and they were pulled (all in the back).

So, since fall of 2009 her diet was gradually reduced to almost 25% of what she was eating (she's now close to 10 lbs.), we switched from dry food to wet food, she lost half her teeth and has been on an inhaler (160mcg) twice a day. She's gone through a lot. She's also, admittedly, spoiled. :) She had a full physical last August that was fine and had an abdomen x-ray at AMC this past fall (she was throwing up as a reaction to an anti-biotic she was on for an upper respiratory infection most likely caused by her first inhaler Fluticasone which activates in the nasal cavities - we've since switched to one that doesn't). Her abdomen was clear.

Does any of the above above info add to the picture of a very hungry cat?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Poor really does sound like she has been through a lot!

I think the best thing you can do about her being hungry all of the time is to consult with your vet. The reason I say this is because there are a lot of factors here and your vet knows a lot more about what is best for Maya than I do!

You may want to ask them about the satiety food though. It is meant to help keep cats at a healthy weight and yet help them to feel full.

One other thought...does she drink a lot of water? Your vet is right that repeated steroid use can induce diabetes in some cats. Diabetes can cause significant weight loss. Many cats will be constantly hungry. The reason for this is that the cat's muscle is not metabolizing glucose properly.

Customer reply:

Dr. Marie,

Thanks for the advice. I hope you're not implying that she may have diabetes now?? She's only been on inhaled steroids for a year? Her physical last August was fine.

No, she doesn't drink a lot of water. She drank more on the dry food. I also add a bit of water to her wet food to fill it out. I'm getting her a ceramic water fountain with the hope that she'll drink more.

I'll check out that food and give her some more bananas. She likes them...and olives!


P.S. I'm going to send a bonus. :) p.

Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

If she's not drinking lots of water, then she doesn't have diabetes. It was just a thought, but I really didn't think this was what is going on.

Thanks so much for the bonus! It's greatly appreciated!

If you do try the satiety food I'd love to hear how it works for you.

Dr. Marie.

Customer reply:

What variety of Satiety would I consider giving her? There seem to be many different types?

That's the last question. :)


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm pretty sure there's only one type of is the food I am talking about here:

Royal Canin Feline Satiety food.

Customer reply:

Unfortunately, it looks like Satiety Support (with the high soluble and insoluble fibers) only comes as dry food.

She can't chew - no back teeth.

Good try though. :)


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Yes, you're looks like they haven't come out with a canned satiety yet. This is often the case when a new food comes out. We will often see the dry formulation is available first and then later the canned comes out.

Many cats will still eat dry food quite willingly even without teeth. Or, you can add some warm water to the food and within 20 minutes it will make nice soft kibbles for her.

Customer reply:

Thanks for the advice. I'll run it by Maya's main vet (the asthma guy is at AMC). When the weather is warmer in a few weeks I'll investigate her hunger thing. She crys just as loud for food ten minutes after a full feeding so either she has a tapeworm or she just may be a bit spoiled and bratty.


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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.