Your cat has stopped eating? Then you are probably worried about her. This is a good instinct, because the lack of appetite can be caused not only by harmless reasons, but also by diseases. You can tell what to do by watching your cat closely and paying attention to her behavior.
If your cat is suddenly no longer interested in its food, this can have quite harmless reasons. But it can also be a disease.
The Most Important Things In A Nutshell
- You should observe cats without appetite well. Especially young or previously ill animals should be brought to the doctor sooner rather than later.
- Reasons for loss of appetite can be diseases, stress, but also the age or the heat of the cat.
- You can stimulate your cat’s appetite with treats, hunting games or warmed up food.
Help, My Cat Does Not Eat: Do I Have To Go To The Doctor?
The cat does not eat any more – this frightens every owner. Medically, the phenomenon is called inappetence and is not so harmless. The longer a cat does not eat, the more it loses the feeling of hunger. This leads to a vicious circle.
If the cat does not eat for more than 24 hours, the fat reserves are activated, which in the worst case can lead to fatty liver. To avoid this problem, you should take good care of her when she shows signs of lack of appetite and go to the vet in time. When exactly this becomes necessary, you can recognize mainly by accompanying symptoms and the general condition of your cat.
A Full Cat Does Not Eat: The Harmless Reasons
A cat that does not eat its food does not necessarily have to be ill. It can also be that she is simply full – especially outdoor cats often catch themselves a mouse or a bird. It is also possible that she is being fed by another family. And even house cats sometimes steal treats from the table – when they are fed, they are full later.
Sometimes the cat also rejects the food because, unlike you, it has already noticed that it is no longer good. For example, especially wet food spoils quickly if it has been exposed to light or heat for too long in the summer. And even if it hasn’t spoiled yet, cats quickly lose interest if food has been in the bowl too long and therefore no longer smells and tastes as attractive.
However, it is also possible that your cat suffers from an acute digestive problem, just as you sometimes feel queasy in your stomach. Just like you, she refuses to eat for a while to rest her digestive system until she feels better. This is a natural and healthy protective mechanism.
A Cat Will Not Eat When It Is Stressed
Mental Changes: Cats Are Creatures Of Habit
Just like humans, cats are creatures of habit. Changes that affect feeding are confusing for your house cat – the cat will then stop eating. For example, she may not reject the food itself, but the bowl it is served in or the place it is placed. Often this happens when the feeding place has been cleaned with harsh chemicals or the material of the bowl is unpleasant to the cat.
Food changes can also cause loss of appetite. Some cats will not eat wet food if they have only been used to dry food, or they simply refuse unfamiliar types of food. If you want to change the food, this should always happen as slowly as possible, for example by gradually mixing the two types.
Tip: Check where the food is stored. Especially canned food can quickly take on foreign odors in the refrigerator, which then irritates the cat.
Your cat no longer eats, although it already knows the food well? Then it may be that she is bored. After all, you would not want to eat only the same food all your life. So you also have to keep a difficult balance between variety and habit with your cat.
Lastly, it may not only be due to change, but also stress. Almost every cat does not like to eat in the center of domestic activity. Therefore, always choose a place for the bowl that is as quiet and protected as possible. If you have several cats, each of them should have its own bowl. Also, your cat may become stressed by loneliness, grief, moving or a new family member.
Physical Changes: From Being In Heat To Old Age
In addition to psychological stress, physical changes can also cause a difficulty for your cat. These include age, neutering, or being in heat. For example, cats often eat less than usual during mating season because the hormonal imbalance upsets them.
If your cat is slowly getting older, on the one hand it needs less energy because it moves less often. Then she may not eat her food anymore because she gets too much of it. But it can also be that she needs a special food that supports the organs in their function. You can find such senior food in every specialized shop.
Important: Older animals and kittens that are in the process of changing their teeth should be fed with softer food that is easy to chew. This means above all: wet food, no dry food.
Cat Does Not Eat: Possible Diseases As A Cause
If the reasons mentioned so far do not apply to your cat, you have to consider that he might be ill. There are some symptoms that, in combination with a lack of appetite, indicate that your cat is sick.
- You can recognize a fever in your cat by a fast pulse and sluggish behavior. It indicates infections or gastrointestinal diseases.
- Often cats do not eat because of inflammations in the mouth, tartar or a change of teeth. You can recognize this by bad breath, swelling, increased salivation and loud noises when eating.
- If your cat has diarrhea, constipation or vomiting, it may also be due to infection or parasite infestation.
- Older cats often have kidney or liver problems. They first show up as yellowish eyes and increased salivation.
- Vomiting, tremors and convulsions indicate poisoning.
- There are also food allergies that logically cause your cat to stop eating.
- Has your cat just been vaccinated or had surgery or is taking antibiotics? This can also spoil the appetite.
- Lastly, diseases such as FIP, FeLV or FIV can also cause loss of appetite.
Be sure to take your cat to the veterinarian if it shows any of the symptoms just mentioned in addition to loss of appetite. Increased thirst, weight loss or behavioral changes such as aggression or withdrawal are also bad signs.
Important: The greatest danger is for kittens and in cats with pre-existing conditions or overweight. Here you should always call the doctor sooner rather than later, because the animals are very sensitive.
My Cat Does Not Eat: Seven Tips For More Appetite
Some cats just don’t eat because they are bored or because they don’t like the way the food is offered. You can try to remedy this with the following tips.
- Treats such as cooked chicken or tuna in some juice will improve the smell and taste of the food.
- There are also supplements such as salmon oil or catnip that can increase the acceptance of the food.
- Your cat doesn’t eat wet food? Warm it slightly. This will help the food digest better and make it more attractive to your cat due to the increased smell.
- Search games, rewards and snack toys can trigger your cat’s hunting instinct. She will then likely want to eat the prey she has earned.
- In the summer, move your cat’s feeding to early morning or late evening. Then it won’t be too hot to eat.
- An old cat won’t eat? It may help to place the food bowl in an elevated position to allow your cat to maintain a posture that is easy on the joints while eating.
FAQ – The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Cats That Do Not Eat
How Long Can A Cat Go Without Food?
While cats can certainly survive several weeks without food, they should not. Just 24 hours is enough to cause serious health problems. Therefore, visit the vet sooner rather than later.
My Cat Is Not Eating And Not Drinking, What Can I Do?
If your cat does not drink, you should offer the water at several different places, because many animals do not like to drink directly next to the food. A small sip of lactose-free milk in the water also helps. If the condition persists, you should consult a veterinarian.
How Can I Make Food Palatable For My Cat?
To stimulate your cat’s appetite, you can use small treats such as salmon oil or catnip as a flavor booster. Small games stimulate the hunting instinct, which is also supportive. Your cat does not eat wet food? Then you can warm it up a bit to enhance the smell and make it more appetizing.
What Do Cats Like Best?
Many cats love poultry like chicken and turkey, but also beef or fish. You’ll find out what your cat likes best by trying it. Your cat doesn’t eat wet food? Maybe that’s just not her style. By the way, tuna or liver sausage also stimulate the appetite, but these foods should not be given too often.
What Diseases Can Cause Loss Of Appetite?
A refusal of food can have the most different reasons. The most common are dental problems, digestive disorders or gastrointestinal diseases. Metabolic diseases, infections or food allergies are also possible conditions.
What Does The Vet Do When The Cat Stops Eating?
First, the veterinarian will examine your cat, for example by palpating the abdomen and looking into the mouth and throat. If necessary, examinations such as an MRI, blood work or an X-ray may follow. Matching the cause, treatment is then determined. There are also injections that stimulate your cat’s appetite in the first few days.