Panic Eating - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 05:03 AM Thread Starter
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Panic Eating

I fostered 2 "failure to thrive, orphaned, special needs" kittens that were refered to as the Incredible Shrinking kittens. No matter what they did these kittens remained sick and were loosing weight rather than gaining. By the time I got them, they were 3 or 4 months old, one was just under 8 oz, the other barely over 1 lbs. Long story short, I ended up adopting these two. Because of their malnutrition and difficulty putting on weight, my vet and I had an eating schedule that accomodated weight gain. Well, now my little girl, the one that was nearly 8 oz when I got her, is fine with weight. When the vet saw where she was at she recommended an appropriate amount for her to eat. Problem is, she is now a panic eater. She eats her food really quickly and then goes and tries to push her way in to all the other animal's food dish, including the dog! Not only does she try to eat the other animal's food but she tries to eat ours as well. She knows better than to get on the table or bug us if we are sitting at the table, but occasionally we do sit in the living room with our dinner and eat in there and she very persistantly attempts to climb onto the stands and go after our food, water, coffee, ANYTHING! And she's very anxious about it...you see the panic in her face of, "I gotta eat, I gotta eat, I gotta eat". So my question is, does anyone have any tricks that can have her settle down, not be so panicky about food? She is starting to get this soft fatty pudge and extra skin on the sides and because she had nourishment issues at the beginning of her life, she is still quite small in stature, which makes the fat look even more prominent. I just want my kitty to be healthy. Her brother didn't make it due to other health complications and I am worried that too much weight for her small frame may flare up any hidden viruses she may have dormant and I loose her too.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 08:15 AM
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Hmmm. Our Missy was tiny (small stature, not young) when we adopted her. She had been living in a home with dogs and she was miserable so they kept her in a laundry room for quite some time before putting her up for adoption. They told us that she had been found eating out of a dumpster and barely surviving. She was a panic eater when we brought her home and she had run of the house here. She would gulp down food then barf every time. We got so we would give her tiny portions (a tablespoon or less) and let that settle, then give a bit more in 10 or 15 minutes. The slow controlled eating made her feel satisfied sooner as her belly got used to food. This may not work for you and it just may be that time will take care of your problem with the panic eating. After some months or years more of realizing that food WILL come next time it is time to eat, she may settle down. Thanks for adopting that kitty! She certainly has a chance at a good life because of you!

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks. I had hoped that the 7 months that I have had her, and had food down for her, she would have moved past it. I have an appointment with my vet on Saturday for another cat, and though I don't like asking about one animal when I am there with another, I might just ask her about it.I might try the multiple portions of tablespoons and see what that does. Thanks for the suggestion
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 01:24 PM
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I was in Petco and saw a portion control plate that is supposed to control scarfing down the food so quickly. Probably available on line from lots of sources. Google "portion controled cat bowl".


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Last edited by marie73; 02-05-2013 at 12:24 AM.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-04-2013, 01:24 PM
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Maisie used to panic eat. He was abandoned and lived as a stray in his early life. I adopted him when he was two years old.

It took him about two and a half years after adoption to get over his food panic, and we still occasionally have some reverting when he gets especially stressed. I think sometimes what happens to cats when they're very little makes a strong impression. Not to say they can never get over it, but it can take a lot longer than you would expect.

Aside from being very routine about mealtimes and making the overall environment as stress-free as possible, I would say that the answer may simply be that seven months haven't been enough, and you need to continue to be patient and understanding about it.

You sound like a very compassionate cat parent. I'm sure she's very happy to have you.


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-05-2013, 02:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you Blakeney, for the comment of being compassionate and caring and for responding!

She turns one this March and I am hoping with that with her getting a little older and having lived with me most of her life she will settle down. I can't blame her or condemn her, I had for many years eating problems and even after learning about what I was doing and acknowledging it, it still takes time to move past it. Shoot, it's something I am STILL working on! LOL!! I just want to make sure she stays healthy and because her little body was so odd when I first got her, her legs seemed a little bowed and "elbows" turned out plus her front paws were deformed where her "knuckles" were collapsed in instead of rounding out, I don't want these joints to have additional issue from weight. I get concerned about how her joints and bones will be as an adult as it is. I have talked to my vet about her previous joint and bowing but because both had been resolved and she had never heard or seen the clubbing that I was explaining, she had no answer for future complications. She's good now, doesn't seem to experience pain or tenderness and may not have future issues.

I know she's very happy with me, she has claimed me as hers and a cat! LOL!! She tries to groom me!
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-05-2013, 03:10 PM
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I would also suggest distracting her when she is in a panic mode of eating, pulling out her favorite toy.
I have an eating disorder (anorexia). Ritz was rescued after living on the streets for around four to six months; she has food issues. Likes everything, wants more. (Who says a cat doesn't chose the right owner!) I am learning that not every MEOW means 'feed me'.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-06-2013, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
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Ritzpg-

I completely hear ya! I am a compulsive overeater who shares similarities of Binge eating without the laxatives or the purging. I too have dealt with the feeling of panic when it came to eating. So for me to get a kitty that is a panic eater seems quite fitting. I also have a cat that is very picky, she'll only eat a little bit and then go do other things and later on come back to nibble some more, I consider her my mindful eater, she is what I am striving to be, so the fact that they both have come to me is no coincidence.

I do try to distract her when she's trying to devour everyone elses food and sometimes I can, but sometimes nothing diverts her focus from food. However, I was watching her the other day and I noticed that she is slowing down on the food that she is eating, so I see that as a positive start.

Thanks for the recommendation, I will keep working with her on distraction.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-06-2013, 11:44 AM
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Do you feed everyone together? Perhaps you can try putting her in a separate room with the slow feeder, and feed the other animals in a separate room. The smell of the other animals' food and seeing them eating could be a trigger for her panic.

I'd put her in the bathroom or laundry room with a teaspoon of her food. Then go feed everyone else. Once that's done (several minutes later) you can come back and give her the second teaspoon. And so on....
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-06-2013, 11:50 AM
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Venusworld has good ideas; not sure how feeding the panic eater one teaspoon at a time would work. Might make her worry more about getting 'enough' food. Try it and see how she reacts. Could also put the food in a bowl that makes her slow down; like this one.


An alternative to buying a slow feed bowl is to put some ping pong balls or golf balls in the food bowl so she has to kind of hunt for the food. Haven't tried this yet, but thinking about it.
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