Cats That Beg Aggressively for Food May Not Be Hungry, Just Psychologically Disturbed

Illustration for article titled Cats That Beg Aggressively for Food May Not Be Hungry, Just Psychologically Disturbed

A study that presumably involved some degree of science has found that cats aren't just hungry when they rub up against your legs and meow for food — they could be psychologically disturbed, afflicted, says a histrionic Telegraph, with an "obsession with food has driven [them] to the edge of insanity." In other words, strap in, cat owners because your Sunday morning is about to get real.
Researchers say, without any apparent irony, that cats that show too much eagerness for food — cats that beg for food by being really friendly and solicitous — might actually be suffering from a psychological condition called "psychogenic abnormal feeding behavior," or what less erudite observers used to call "very hungry." The main symptom researchers have identified is "excessive solicitation of interspecific interactions," but others falling under the umbrella of "food-related aggression," i.e. jumping onto the table and trying to eat from a plate or eating from another cat's dish, are also red flags that a cat has an abnormal preoccupation with food.


An eight-year-old Siamese cat named Otto that stole food from another cat and interposed itself when its master was preparing its food from a tin can served as the researchers' initial subject. Since they could find no physical explanation for the Otto's behavior, the researchers decided that the cause for Otto's relentless food-seeking was psychological, which is sort of sad because if there's any credence to this vague and limited (did vets only study Otto? maybe Otto's just a dick about being fed) study, it means that cats might not be as crafty as we've always given them credit for being — they might just be little headcases that know where we sleep and have knives for fingers.

Cats that pester for food could be suffering from a psychological condition [Telegraph]


Image via Linn Currie/Shutterstock.

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My family's late cat, who died at 19, was super anxious ever since he escaped our house when we moved when he was 4, and came back a day later dirty, bedraggled and a little beat up (we joke that squirrels got to him.) Ever since, he was the epitome of a 'fraidy-cat, and would bolt down his food so quickly he would vomit it back up 10 minutes later. He was our 'bulimic' cat. Our other cat is our 'overeating' cat who literally only sleeps and eats and occasionally climbs the stairs to sleep in her favorite person's bed. Our latest cat is 2, so he's active and as far as we know burning off his food; he's been loved since the day he was brought home (which I know because I was his mom for the first 2 weeks) but he still cries for food just like every other cat my family has owned.

The thing about cats is that they can be conditioned into expecting food at an irregular time, but you can't ever condition them out of it. We've never fed them more than 3 times a day except when we're out of town, but they always prowl around expecting someone to take pity on them. It's weird.