Having a kitty chattering away while it's eating might seem adorable, but it could be masking a potential problem. If your cat has started to meow or growl while it's eating, it might not be a good sign. Here's what you need to know about your cat's chattiness with its food.
Do you have other cats, dogs, or members of the family that the cat doesn't like? If so, that may be one potential cause.
Some cats feel possessive of their food. It's a natural instinct to protect the resources they have available to them. This is especially true of cats who haven't been spayed or neutered. In these instances, a cat might growl to ward away what it considers to be a threat to its food.
To avoid this problem, you could try feeding your cat privately where it won't be bothered. If it keeps growling, though, it may indicate something else.
Another potential cause for your cat's chatty nature could be its teeth. Some cats growl and make noises while they're eating if their teeth are in bad shape.
This usually happens because a cat is in pain while it's eating. After all, crunching through hard kibble with teeth that have cavities or other problems would be quite uncomfortable.
How to Tell
You already have the tools you need to determine if your cat is being possessive or not, so take a look at what you can do to determine if your cat's oral health isn't up to snuff.
First off, check their breath. Cats who haven't eaten recently but still have rank breath may have a tooth or gum problem.
Secondly, if you can, try pulling up their lip and looking at the teeth. If you see any spots, holes, or if the gums appear red or swollen, that likely indicates that they have a cavity and gum disease, respectively.
Third, try feeding your cat a broth cat food for a day with no chunks in it. If they don't growl, that's a likely indicator that their teeth are the problem.
Once you've established that your cat has a dental problem, it's time to head to the vet's office or 24-hour animal hospital, should the problem be urgent. Your vet will take care of your cat's oral health and pull any bad teeth that need to go so your kitty can get back to enjoying their food and not being hurt by it. And if you haven't spayed or neutered your cat yet and want them to stop growling, consider doing that.