Wolfie ran away for a week. After getting back he's become obsessed with food, water, and getting out the door. Normal?

EveAndHerThieves

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I've had cats run away before. They've never been this weird when they get back. After living in a hotel for a month and changing rooms every few days I let him stay with me for stability. He was cooped up for a week until I was sure he knew this was home. Then I began letting him out a little with the other cats. With every other cat this wasn't a problem. I checked in on him often. One day he just took off. I found him five days later two blocks away at my old house. He couldn't have been there more than a day since I was up there a lot.
I had to haul him home in my arms as I wasn't expecting to find him. The second I let him down inside he tried to go back out the door. Since then he's obsessed with the door. He's always trying to run out. He's also weirdly obsessed with food. Like I said, I've found missing cats before. They've never eaten an entire bowl of food, drank an entire bowl of water and eat a can of tuna in the span of about two hours. He's now always running around meowing and jumping on things to look for food. I took a bath and he came in to lick water droplets off the floor. He's been eating my salad to get to the dressing. I've found him licking the dirty dishes in the sink. If he's not guarding his cat tree or trying to get out the door, he's after food/water.

I'm very confused. No other cat I've found has been this weird with doors/water. We're on day two and the fourth bowl of cat food. He hasn't barfed any of it. He's still frantically trying to go outside for some reason. Usually after being missing a cat wants to stay IN for a bit.

Anyone have their cat suddenly go nuts after being found? Granted he's had a VERY stressful month in a hotel, but he wasn't this weird before he ran away. Can I do anything to help with his newfound food cravings? Maybe settle them so the other cats can eat? Why on earth would he be so obsessed with going out? He knew the room and settled right back in here.
I've tried calming music, he's too busy porking down food and guarding his cat tree to notice. If I ration the food the other cats end up hungry. It's all very perplexing to me, and I've owned cats my entire life. Kira settled in fine after I rescued him, and Socks got over it after running away twice. They settled down the moment they came back. Wolfie seems to be stubborn.
 

Furballsmom

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Hi! From what I've read, this is relatively normal. I'm just so glad you found him!!
Maybe try containing him so everyone else cann eat, try a calming product, and hopefully his food cravings slow down soon.
 
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EveAndHerThieves

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Hi! From what I've read, this is relatively normal. I'm just so glad you found him!!
Maybe try containing him so everyone else cann eat, try a calming product, and hopefully his food cravings slow down soon.
I'm glad to know it's normal! I feel like I'm always losing an animal or six (although I'm reality it's only once every few years) non of them have gone this weird before. He DID lose a bit of weight in the hotel, but he doesn't need to gain back ten pounds. I'm going to go broke just feeding HIM.
I put out a ton of chicken leftovers so everyone can eat tonight. He's so busy porking down an entire chicken that he hasn't been at the food dish. He's lucky I botched my first attempt to use a pressure cooker.
I'm sure it varies, but any idea when he might begin sharing food again? He has one more rough move on the 10th to get shots and move into his permanent home. Ideally I'd like to give him time to settle before he gets all freaked out again. I'm tired of bathing him every single time he goes in a kitty carrier.
 

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Well, some animals that have experienced food insecurity will never get around the urge to wolf down anything and everything they can. My aunt rescued a dog who had been a stray for a while and he was always ravenous - given the chance he'd eat until he puked it all up, and then he'd eat some more. He never did outgrow it.

Have you looked into feeding him with a slow feeder bowl? That makes your fast eater need to work harder to finish their meal, meanwhile the slower eaters can finish their food (from normal bowls).
 

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He was probably really hungry and thirsty on the road and it didn't occur to him he could come back to the new place. So its natural that bad experience has left a bit of a mark that will need to heal.

Not getting enough to eat as an outdoor cat is not unusual. The stray I rescued was so hungry she ate wet food from my hand on day 1 even though she was very scared of me, and she accidentally drew blood she was eating so fast. I thought she was a kitten because of her size, but she was just undernourished and like doubled in size in a few months -- vet said she was 3! She was very food focused for a long while, and who can blame her?

I mean, most of us have never known true hunger as humans, but I think people that know true hunger carry scars as well. That thing that always happens in movies where the formerly starving person puts extra bread from the restaurant in their pockets is probably something that really happens. So it only makes sense that a house cat that never had to rely on outside food would be having some trouble with it as well.
 
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EveAndHerThieves

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Should I limit his food or anything? I'm still inbetween places so I can't afford a fancy feeder sadly. He's still gobbling things down like he's dying. Water especially. I'm worried he's going to make himself sick with all the intake he's getting. I don't know that I've seen him at the litterbox either. But he could be going at night when I'm asleep.
For a cat that's 99% outdoors anyway he seems to be taking this hard. :( Any idea why a cat would want to get out as soon as he was safe? Panic?
 

Furballsmom

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He's lucky I botched my first attempt to use a pressure cooker.
Oh goodness lol

Gosh, I so hope he's peeing/pooping, --I don't know about limiting him yet.

I personally think he found something out there that got his interest to the max, and he wants to find it again.

I'm sure it varies, but any idea when he might begin sharing food again?
The slow feeder suggestion mentioned above could help him even mentally, I think to help get him a bit more comfortable with the idea that food will be there. There may be a diy option here?
From a TCS article;
If your cat gulps down food, putting it in a melamine egg tray or in the hollows of a deviled egg serving dish will force him to eat slower.

An upside down egg cup in the food bowl can slow down eating dry food. Like in this setup –



Try spreading canned/wet food onto a dinner plate (think putting butter or peanut butter on bread). That way kitty has to lick the food rather than gulp it. Works best for paté style foods.
 

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Any idea why a cat would want to get out as soon as he was safe?
I knows is "Home" is close enough to get to so that might be part of it.

For dry food you can cut a hole toilet paper roll and fold the ends shut. It would slow down his eating and tossing it around might use up some nervous energy. Can you leave the faucet drip for him?
 
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EveAndHerThieves

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I hadn't thought of that. You'd think once he saw it wasn't his anymore he'd figure it out. He still wants out, but not as badly. I'm buying a harness for him. He's not allowed out unsupervised again.

He's settled down on food finally. But he's OBSESSED with water. Not the water dish either. If I'm brushing my teeth he comes to meow for a fresh dish. If I have a cup on the floor he's in it. If I'm showering he's licking the floor. I've shown him the dish a dozen times without luck. When I give him fresh he inhales the entire thing.

He's on I think Nature's... Something. It's a green food bag? It's supposed to be a good diet food. I need to buy more so I'm going to get a bulkier food (more calories) for him. Between the hotel and everything he's lost a lot of weight. I'd like to see him pack on a pound. He's probably a bit underweight now.
He still just hides on his car tree all day. :( When I'm awake he will pace around the room a bit before snuggling on either his tree or my bed. The good news is my cats accepted him back into the herd without problems. Even Socks. Kira misses sleeping in his tree, poor thing. Wolfie just sits and looks out the window all day.

I'm hoping he's settling finally. I feel terrible that once again he's going to have to move. And go to the vet for shots. This was his first move since he was a kitten, and it was very traumatic. My other cats have moved twice now so they're okay.

In typical cat fashion, now that he's settling (ish) my other cat is acting up. *Rolls eyes.* She has constipation really badly. Probably from her liver meds. I only own three cats now, and they've NEVER been a problem until my husband got sick. *Scratches head*
 

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I'm sorry, it sounds like "when it rains it pours" for you and your crew :hugs:
Are you able to talk to your vet about laxatives for her?
 
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EveAndHerThieves

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I'm sorry, it sounds like "when it rains it pours" for you and your crew :hugs:
Are you able to talk to your vet about laxatives for her?

You know it. It's been a rough year! The vet suggested a few things for my other kitty to try luckily. They're all crazy cats.

Speaking of crazy, will Wolf ever settle down ever? I bought new food yesterday and set it on the counter. Overnight he knocked it off the counter and clawed his way through the thick plastic bag to the food. I swear he's eaten half the bag. He also emptied the two water dishes I sat out. I know they're not spilled since they were on cement. He's now off pooping so at least I know it's passing. If I get creative with the dishes (I googled DIY slow feeders for cats) he spends hours after it. I put the new food away and he's pulled it right back. He's also licking drains for water. He's definitely not sick, just freaky.
 
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EveAndHerThieves

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He just spent 30 minutes pawing at the bag again (I gave up) and is now meowing at my feet wondering if he can have MY food. After I finished it he frantically ran to the plate to lick it. Now he's sitting there staring at me zoning out.

Wolfie has always had a screw or six loose in his head, but this is nuts. I don't dare haul him to the vet in case it makes this worse. I can't afford to feed him even more. He's always FRANTIC for any new food/water he sees. Including the cup I'm drinking out of. Even if there's tons of it in the dishes. Maybe he's after a connection to me? I've no idea.
 

Furballsmom

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What does he weigh, is his body condition ok? If he's not fat/not skinny, I think he'll have to deal with the situation as it is. Geez, I hope he's not overweight, I can't even imagine what he'd be like if you had to put him on a diet! He might start eating cardboard lol
 
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EveAndHerThieves

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He's actually on the skinnier side because he likes prowling outside a lot. Right now if say he ought to put on maybe a pound to be back to his "normal" weight. I'm dreading the cardboard eating. :p
 
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EveAndHerThieves

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I took him outside on a leash and he immediately tried to run away. :( Now he's been at the water for two full minutes. I pet him for 20 minutes earlier to see if he needs comfort. No dice. Back to the water.

Is it possible he picked something up that's making him this way? Or maybe he's just super freaky?
 

Hellenww

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Stress can cause OCD type eating and drinking but there are also medical issues that can. I've had both emotional drinkers and eaters.

Here are a few articles:
.


If your able to it would be a good idea to get some basic blood work.
 
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