You might be quite accustomed to your cat’s feeding rituals and you probably know which foods to feed your kitty and which ones to avoid. Sometimes, despite knowing exactly which kind of food fits perfectly your picky cat’s taste, it can happen that your cat might however ignore that full bowl of food.
Your cat might be an elegant eater and will not devour immediately what you feed her, but if the food you filled her bowl with is still untouched after a couple of hours, then you might start having doubts and questions running around your head. “Why is my cat not eating? Is this food good? She ate everything yesterday, what could happen today for her to stop eating her favorite food all of a sudden?”.
Even if your first instinct after realizing your cat is lacking appetite would be to panic; don’t! Cats are known to be among the pickiest eaters in the animal world and there are multiple reasons that could be behind your cat avoiding her favorite food.
Let’s dig deeper and discover what could be causing your cat not to eat.
A lot of things may be affecting your cat’s will to eat, the same way plenty of things could affect your appetite. But as we know, the reasons that may lead to appetite loss could be very benign, but they can also be very serious.
Let’s list out all the things that can cause loss of appetite in cats.
Causes Of Appetite Loss In Cats
As you will see, there are a lot of things that could make your cat to stop eating. However, if your cat doesn’t eat for more than a day, you should bring her to the vet. So, let’s start!
Introduction to a New Type of Food
The most obvious reason behind your cat’s loss of appetite is the introduction of new type of food. If you just changed the type of food you usually give to your kitten, then avoiding the new type of food can be a pretty normal reaction. The new flavors could seem strange to your kitty cat and make her suspicious of the new choice you just brought.
Try mixing the old type of food with the new one, and gradually increase the new one until your cat gets used to it.
Well, well. If you fed your cat a certain type of food that she doesn’t like, then she is trying to tell you: “Give me something else! I don’t like this!”. Your cat will try to show you she’s the real boss, but she should still be listening to you, and not the other way around, right?
Don’t give her other food too easy. If the food your feeding her with bothers her stomach or makes her sick, then you should definitely changes. But if your kitten is just being the “picky eater” of the family, leave the bowl with the food and don’t change it right away.
Vaccinations prevent serious illnesses and are very important in order to maintain your cat’s health in peak. But, they often come with different adverse events.
In fact, one of the most common vaccination side effect is loss of appetite, but it is usually temporary and mild. So, if your kitten just had a vaccination recently, avoiding the food bowl is a completely normal reaction. There’s no need to panic, just make sure your cat gets some rest, a fairly good amount of fresh water and it should all pass by tomorrow.
Change In The Environment
Most cats love their own habits, so it is not surprising that they have different reactions to when their routines change. This could mean that you simply started to feed your cat at the different hour, but it can also mean that something changed in their environment that makes them uncomfortable.
Have you traveled with your cat recently? Or is someone catsitting your cat while you’re away? Then, refusing to eat is your cat’s way of saying “I’m not enjoying this change”. However, this shouldn’t last for too long, as she will still feel hungry at some point and should adapt to the new circumstances.
Psychological Needs – Anxiety
Some cats are more emotional and can’t get over big changes in their households just like that. So, if your cat is too sensitive, a simple change in the environment might cause her to develop anxiety or depression that can also result in loss of appetite. If this is your cat’s case, the loss of appetite might also be accompanied with hiding and being excessively shy.
If this is the case, you will have to pay more attention to your cat. Make sure your kitty cat gets a good amount of affection and daily cuddles.
Another Food Source
If you have an outdoor cat, not eating the food you’re serving might mean that your cat found another source of food by her own. That’s right, that might easily mean your cat has been chasing some mice or birds outside and caught her own preys for the day!
Check well if you can find any traces of such behavior.
Just like with any other living creature, appetite loss could also be a big indicator of an illness. It could mean something temporary and benign, but it could also be a sign of a serious condition you shouldn’t neglect.
If the cause behind “your cat not eating” is an illness, you will probably notice some other symptoms too. Your cat might become lethargic, can start throwing up, or you might simply notice some changes in her behavior.
Let’s see what are the diseases and health issues that could be ruining food for your cat.
If you notice that your cat is avoiding food, or that she’s eating only on one side of her teeth, than a cause behind appetite loss might be a dental problem. An oral injury or a teeth infection could be making your cat’s chewing quite difficult and painful, which would, naturally, lead your cat to avoiding food.
There are different things that could be causing a dental problem in felines and most common ones would be: abscess, inflamed gums, mouth injuries, broken tooth.
This might be among the most obvious health-related reasons that could be causing your cat not to eat. Just like humans, cats will avoid food when they experience gastrointestinal problems. When it comes to GI tract issues, there are various things that can be blamed for appetite loss: parasites, colitis, pancreatitis, ingestion of foreign bodies, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and various inflammations and infections of the GI tract.
In this case, the problem won’t disappear after a day, and a visit to the vet might be necessary. Only your veterinarian will be able to do a complete diagnosis and determine whether a GI issue is causing the loss of appetite or not.
Another thing that could be behind your cat’s loss of appetite is a kidney disease. This is more likely to occur in older dogs, and barely never affects younger cats.
A kidney disease will look similar to a GI problem because it will likely produce a nausea that will result in a cat that avoid eating. However, only your vet will be able to diagnose correctly a kidney disease, which is why it’s crucial to bring your kitten to the vet if the non-eating persists for more than a day. Only this way will you be able to provide your cat with the proper cure.
Now that we have listed and described all possible culprits for your cat’s lack of appetite, what can you do next? Naturally, you will want to know how to get your cat eating again, right? So let’s see what are some of the tips you can use in order to make your cat get all the daily nutrients she needs.
How Can I Get My Cat’s Appetite Back?
After realizing what could be the potential cause of your cat not eating, you will probably want your kitty cat to regain her appetite. This is also very important because cats are very sensitive to not eating enough. Unlike humans or dogs, cats can get sick easily if they are not eating.
Cat that’s not eating for more than a day might quickly lose weight which could lead to developing new health issues. Rapid weight loss causes protein supplies to disappear which can overwhelm the liver and eventually lead to liver failure.
That’s why it’s important to never leave your cat starving even if you have to introduce a new medically prescribed diet. As we just mentioned, cat not eating could end up in some really serious consequences.
Depending on the cause of your cat’s lack of appetite, you will be able to do different things.
What can I do if my cat is not eating?
1. Medical Treatment
If what’s causing your cat to avoid eating is a medical condition that needs vet assistance, then medications will be likely prescribed in order to stimulate your cat’s appetite.
Sometimes, when a cat is very sick, your vet might recommend feeding a liquid diet via syringe in order to ensure your kitten is getting the adequate amount of daily nutrients.
2. Change Food
If you just introduced a new cat food, or you have to give your cat a doctor-prescribed diet, and your cat is strictly avoiding it, then go back to the old food your cat is used to. Try mixing the two until you see improvement in your cat’s acceptance of new food.
If that still doesn’t work, try feeding canned food. This specialty is usually enjoyed by all cats, and should get your kitty in the mood for eating quite easily.
3. Show Affection and Stay Calm
Sometimes the reason behind your cat not eating can be stress, a change in the environment or a modification of feeding schedule. Your cat might pick up on your mood too, so if you’re being stressed out lately, you might have influenced your cat into feeling the same way.
Same as stress can cause your cat not to eat, affection and calmness can also get her tummy craving her favorite food too. Provide your cat with more cuddles and make sure you are calm and the change might occur.
4. Figure Out Your Cat’s Eating Habits
Your cat might be alright actually, but she just isn’t enjoying the company while eating. Or, on the contrary, your cat doesn’t want to eat alone! This is definitely weird, but sometimes simple changes like these might do all the difference.
As a cat parent, your job is to figure out the way your cat prefers to eat.
5. Check The Food Bowl
Some cats prefer bowls that are narrow and whose walls don’t touch their whiskers. So if you have a fussy kitten it might be that the type of bowl she’s having her food from is bothering her.
Also check if the food bowl is clean enough. Cats like having everything clean around them, especially when it comes to food. If she doubts that there might be some putrid smell around the bowl, she might stop eating. Clean the food bowl regularly!
Cat not eating can be a completely normal reaction to changes in your cat’s environment and diet, but it could still be very dangerous if the appetite loss lasts for more than 24 hours. That’s why it is very important to observe your cat in order to see any other symptoms like lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea or unusual behavior in order to diagnose a potential underlying medical issue that is causing your cat not to eat.
However, not every appetite loss is a reason for panicking. So, run through the list of the potential causes, try some of these easy to fix remedies in order to get your cat to eat, and if nothing works, bring your cat to the vet. Just remember that you shouldn’t leave your cat starving for more than 1 day, as cats need food much more than we do.