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Pet Eating Problems - Why Won't My Cat Eat?

Pet Eating Problems - Why Won't My Cat Eat?

Your cat is normally a good eater but today they barely touched their food leading you to wonder, 'Why won't my cat eat?'. Today, our Southern Wisconsin vets talk about the reasons why your cat is not eating and what you should do about it.

My Cat is Not Eating, Why?

Cats can be tempermental at times which can lead us to believe that they are just in a mood when they don't go rushing for their dinner. However, your cat may actually be experiencing some type of discomfort that is leading them to avoid 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 for 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 start to feel better.

Reasons Why Your Cat Won't Eat

Change of Food: If you change the brand or type of food that you feed your cat they may avoid eating it. If you need to change your cat's diet you should introduce the new food slowly. 

Change in Home Routine: Cats have a difficult time with change and if you change their home or routine it could result in a decreased appetite.

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: If your cat is experiencing indigestion due to diet she/he will find eating unpleasant and will refuse to consume food or water. Another cause for indigestion could be foreign bodies (tumors or a swallowed object) which could lead 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: 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:

  • 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 Encourage Munching When My Cat Won't Eat

There are a number of ways that you could try to get your cat to eat again. Some of which 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.

What should I do if my cat is not eating?

Cats, unlike dogs or humans, can get sick very quickly if they are not eating. A cat’s choice not to eat is medically significant, therefore it is important that you reach out to your vet to determine the underlying reason your cat is not eating for more than 24 hours. 

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

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 has not eaten in more than a day or is showing other concerning symptoms, please contact our vets in Southern Wisconsin to book an appointment, or visit your nearest urgent care veterinary clinic.

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Badger Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients. Our team is passionate about the health of animals from across Southern Wisconsin. Contact our closest location to book your first appointment today!

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