Study: Cats That Beg For Food Suffer From Mental Illness

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File photo of a man feeding his cat.  (credit: ADEM ALTAN/GettyImages)

File photo of a man feeding his cat. (credit: ADEM ALTAN/GettyImages)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — A new study put out by a group of veterinarians finds that a cat begging for food suffers from an eating disorder caused by a mental illness.

The study, which was done by veterinarians at the University of Padua in Italy on an 8-month-old cat, concluded that felines suffer from “psychogenic abnormal feeding behavior” if it rubs against its owner’s legs during a time they usually eat. The cat also showed signs of jumping on the owner’s table and eating from other cat bowls, indicating a type of eating disorder.

Veterinarians treated the cat by reducing exposure to stress and modifying its behavior through desensitization of food, according to the study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior.

“The cat did not show any abnormal behavior at the sight of food and it remained relaxed when present at the owners’ meals,” the researchers said.

Researchers concluded that it was a psychological problem which can be corrected in about five months.

“If you feed them from the table, just once in a while, the cat will think it is like a slot machine – if they always ask, every so often they will get what they want,” lead researcher Paolo Mongillo told The Daily Mail.

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