Why Won’t My Cat Eat?


Cats have a reputation for being picky eaters because they have a strong preference for having their preferred meals presented to them in a certain way and at a particular time.

However, according to Dr. Marla J. McGeorge, a veterinarian who practises only on felines in Portland, Oregon, prompt action on your part is essential if you notice that your cat has stopped eating. She recommends taking your cat to the veterinarian if it hasn’t eaten for more than a day, since this indicates an underlying health issue. When cats go without food for an extended period of time, they run the risk of developing liver disease. The accumulation of fat in the liver as a result of a deficiency in protein may lead to liver failure.

Common Problems

The first step in safeguarding and assisting your feline friend is to get familiar with the common causes behind why cats stop eating. It’s possible that one of these problems is to blame for your cat’s lack of appetite:

  • Infection of the respiratory system According to McGeorge, the capacity to smell is a motivating factor for your cat to eat. It’s likely that your cat won’t exhibit much excitement for its meal if it’s coughing, sneezing, or has watery eyes in addition to sounding congested.
  • Nausea According to McGeorge, your cat is most likely sick if it licks its lips often, approaches the food dish, and then backs away from the dish. It might be tough to determine whether or not your cat is experiencing nausea because of liver disease or other ailments since it is impossible to detect whether or not it has eaten anything that has disturbed its stomach. According to McGeorge, your veterinarian may decide to conduct laboratory testing in attempt to shed some light on the situation.
  • Pain or trauma According to Dr. Josie Thompson, a veterinarian who works at a clinic in Walnut Creek, California that is exclusively for cats, it is a good idea to check your cat for any wounds or injuries. It is reasonable to assume that your cat would eat less as a consequence of the discomfort or sickness it is experiencing.
  • Accidental consumption of foreign substances or toxins Plants, twine, ribbon, and bits of toys may all create obstacles for your cat to navigate, and they may even be toxic to them.
  • problems associated with old age According to Thompson, “kidney difficulties, intestinal diseases, heart disease, and cancer are more likely to affect older cats because of their advanced age.” It’s possible that older cats may develop arthritis, which will hinder their ability to reach food bowls that are placed on the floor. Eating may become excruciatingly unpleasant for older cats due to dental issues such as abscessed teeth and bleeding gums.
  • Adapt your diet or move to a new place. According to Pam Johnson-Bennett, a cat behaviourist based in Nashville, making a sudden change in your feline friend’s diet might result in a lack of hunger on their part. It’s possible that the issue was caused by you moving the food dish that your cat uses. For instance, if a cat’s dish is situated too near to its litter box, it will refuse to eat there. If there are other pets in your home, your cat may also delay eating if it feels threatened by one of the other animals.
  • Alterations in the family unit It is possible for your cat’s appetite to change if you get a new pet, send your son or daughter off to college, or relocate. During these kinds of transitions, you should pay extra attention to the amount of food that your cat consumes.

What You Can Do

You may attempt to persuade your cat to eat by following these four steps if it isn’t doing so already:

  1. Put the meal in the oven. Your feline friend can be enticed by the scent of heated canned food for cats. McGeorge advises that you should instead simply add some warm water rather than heating it up in the microwave. Because microwaves produce heat in an inconsistent manner, there is a chance that you may scald your cat’s mouth.
  2. Make the food available by hand. A difference may be made by the amount of attention you provide to your cat when you are hand-feeding it a few bites of food.
  3. Adjust for age. If your senior cat has teeth problems, you may want to feed it soft food. If your cat suffers from arthritis, the feeding dish should be raised.
  4. Provide a secure, peaceful area. Ensure that your feline friend is familiar with the surroundings of its food dish before feeding it. In a home with more than one cat, you should establish several feeding stations.

When your cat stops eating, your veterinarian is still the most reliable resource you have. Some owners are hesitant to make the contact because they believe their cat’s appetite may return, or they are concerned that they will make an unnecessary trip to the veterinarian. McGeorge adds, “The most important thing I can tell you is to get your cat inside.” “The good news that your cat is healthy is the finest news you could get right now.”

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