Cats are well-known picky eater, however, you shouldn't assume that this is the only reason they aren't eating. Here, our Pico Rivera vets provide common reasons why your cat won't be able to eat and what to do to help them.

What does it mean if my cat won't eat?

Cats are known for their stubbornness and picky eating habits. Because of this, it's probably quite easy to assume that your cat isn't eating because of a bad attitude. When cats are not feeling well, they often lose their appetites and avoid eating.

When a cat loses its appetite, it's usually a sign of illness and should be taken seriously from a medical standpoint. It is crucial to keep a close eye on your cat's behavior and contact your vet right away if it persists for more than a day. Identifying the reason as soon as possible will allow for prompt treatment, enabling your cat to experience relief sooner.

Common Reasons Why Your Cat May Not be Eating

Changes in food or routine: Your cat may have stopped eating because of recent changes in their diet. You may need to slowly change your kitty's diet by introducing their new food a bit at a time. On top of this, a change in your cat's routine at home may cause stress, anxiety, or depression in your cat and they may stop eating as a result.

Pain while eating: Cats with dental tooth pain such as; infections or injuries, an abscess, a broken tooth, oral tumors, or other inflammatory issues, will avoid eating due to the pain experienced while eating.

Indigestion: If your cat is having indigestion because of their diet or having eaten something they shouldn't, they will refuse food or water. Other causes of indigestion may be foreign bodies like tumors or swallowed objects that may cause vomiting or diarrhea. 

Kidney Disease: Kidney disease is one of the most common ailments in cats, particularly in older cats, and will cause your cat extreme nausea.

Gastrointestinal Problem: Symptoms related to gastrointestinal issues can make cats it difficult for your cat to eat. This could be a result of a variety of underlying health issues that could be happening in your cat’s gastrointestinal tract:

  • Cancer (e.g. intestinal lymphoma)
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation or infection of the pancreas)
  • Parasites
  • Gastroenteritis (inflammation or infection of the GI tract)
  • Colitis (acute or chronic inflammation of the membrane lining the colon)

How can I encourage my cat to eat?

There are several things you can try to see if your cat will begin eating again.

  • Give them canned or wet food - strong-smelling food such as seafood is a good option.
  • Keep your cat’s food and water bowls clean. Stainless steel bowls are easy to clean and disinfect.
  • Try drenching their solid food with the juice from a tuna can.
  • Give your cat nutritional supplements as recommended by a vet.
  • Gently warm the food in the microwave or with warm water. 
  • Considering stress can be a cause, ensure your cat’s environment is safe and that the food dish is located in a quiet area.

What should I do if my cat is not eating?

Cats can become sick rapidly if they stop eating, unlike humans or dogs. If your cat refuses food for more than 24 hours, it is crucial to consult your vet to determine the underlying reason for their loss of appetite. This can have significant medical implications for your feline companion.

Monitoring and contacting your vet is crucial if your pet is not drinking or showing any other symptoms or behavioral changes. Consulting with your vet will assist in identifying the cause and devising an optimal treatment plan.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your cat is refusing food and not eating for an extended period of time, contact Pico Rivera Animal Hospital today to book an appointment or visit your nearest emergency veterinary clinic for an urgent examination.