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Pet Eating Problems: Why won't my cat eat?

Sometimes, your cat may go through periods of time where they aren't as hungry as they usually are. This could be for many reasons, from boredom to illness. Today, our Fairhaven vets share some reasons your cat won't eat and when you should seek veterinary care.

My Cat Won't Eat

Cats can sometimes be temperamental, leading us to believe that they are just in a mood when they don't rush for dinner. However, your cat may be experiencing some discomfort leading them to avoid eating. Read on to learn more about one of the questions we are often asked, 'Why won't my cat eat?'

How long might my cat go without eating?

A cat's loss of appetite often indicates illness and is a medically significant symptom. Therefore, it is important to monitor your cat, and if the behavior lasts more than a day, you should call your vet immediately. The sooner the reason is identified, the sooner treatment can begin so your cat can feel better.

Reasons Why Your Cat is Not Eating

Change of Food: Changing food brands is enough to make some cats turn their nose up at their food. If you need to change your cat's diet, introduce the new food slowly. 

Change in Home Routine: Cats love following a routine and having structure. If there are sudden changes in their routine or environment, it could lead to them not eating as much as usual.

Pain or Discomfort: 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: Indigestion is one of the commonly seen causes of a cat not eating or drinking. Food and water can cause discomfort, so cats may avoid them until the discomfort passes. One cause of indigestion could be foreign bodies (tumors or a swallowed object), leading to 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: If your cat has gastrointestinal issues, they could avoid eating due to discomfort. This could be a result of a variety of underlying health issues that could be happening in your cat’s gastrointestinal tract:

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

How to Help Your Cat When They Are Not Eating

Some of the things you could do to help jumpstart your cat's appetite include:

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

Steps to Take if Your Cat Won't Eat

If your cat is not eating, they can quickly become quite sick. A cat’s choice not to eat is medically significant. Therefore, you must contact your vet to determine why your cat is not eating for more than 24 hours. 

It's also extremely important to monitor and contact your vet if your dog is not drinking or is displaying other symptoms or behavioral changes. Your vet can help determine the cause and best treatment plan.

If they are exhibiting other concerning symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, or panting, along with a decreased appetite, you should bring them to your nearest emergency vet right away.

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 doesn't seem to be eating or drinking or is showing any signs of illness, please contact our vets in Fairhaven to schedule an examination.

Veterinary Care in Fairhaven

Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Fairhaven cats and dogs. Get in touch today to request an appointment for your pet.

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