Ways To More Closely Monitor Your Cats Eating Habits
Depending on your cats feeding schedule, you may not actually notice how much or how little your cat is eating every day. This can make it very difficult to identify changes in appetite.
This is particularly true if your cat free feeds on dry food throughout the day. If youre concerned about how much food your cat is actually eating, switch from free feeding to feeding it only at specified times of the day. This allows you to supervise the eating and note exactly how much food is given and eaten.
You can do this for both wet and dry food. Wet food usually needs to be taken away shortly after it is provided , which makes it much easier to keep track of your cats appetite. However, the same system can work with dry food.
Has Your Cat Been In The Hospital Or Cattery Recently
Cats can easily develop food aversions if they associate a particular food with a time when they felt unwell or had a scary experience. Suppose your cat has recently been in hospital or a cattery. In that case, they may be associating their food with this experience, and understandably theyve lost their appetite.
If you think its likely your cat is just being a bit fussy, try switching their cat food for something else and see how they react. Ideally, this transition would be done gradually by mixing it with their old diet, but cats with an aversion to their old food may need to swap to a new food right away. You could also try offering a small amount of something particularly tasty or strong smelling to try to encourage their appetite.
Why My Cat Is Not Eating Or Drinking
You may have to play detective to find out why your cat isn’t eating. If you live in the country, Kitty may have found an old barn infested with mice and her predatory instincts kicked in.
If she’s getting food somewhere else, whether from hunting, begging or raiding trash cans, she may be too full to eat what you offer. If she’s just been vaccinated, she may have temporarily lost her appetite but will get it back soon.
If you’re on the move, she could have a touch of motion sickness. If she lost someone close to her, be it another feline friend or a favored human, she might not be in the mood to eat.
It could be she simply likes her food served hot. A minute or so in the microwave will solve that.
There may be a more serious reason your cat isn’t eating. Kidney failure, intestinal problems, pancreatitis and several types of cancer and infections can lead to a loss of appetite.
It may be something less worrisome like a toothache or tongue or mouth injury. Has Kitty gotten into something poisonous? If you wouldn’t want a toddler drinking or eating it, neither should your cat. Some plants, insects and frogs are poisonous.
One overlooked poison is opossum urine. Gnawing on something an opossum urinated on can cause necrosis of the tongue.
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What You Can Do
Whether your cat is sick, anxious, or just plain picky, remember that a complete refusal of food can have devastating consequences. So, even if youâre trying to make your cat eat a doctor-prescribed diet, never starve your cat into eating a certain type of food.
If illness is the reason your cat wonât eat, work with your veterinarian to design the best regimen for you and your pet. This may include a change in food type or consistency some cats may be enticed to eat by offering canned foods when they are unwell. In more extreme cases, veterinarians may prescribe medicines that act as appetite stimulants or recommend syringe-feeding your cat a liquid diet. Or the vet may recommend placement of a feeding tube to ensure adequate nutrition.
When illness is not the culprit, there are things you can try to encourage your cat to eat.
You may have discovered that certain foods, such as liver or canned tuna, can act as appetite stimulants for certain cats. Remember to only offer these foods in small amounts. Large quantities may harm your pet by causing deficiencies or an overabundance of certain vitamins.
If your cat has been eating human food exclusively, be sure to transition your pet over several weeks by mixing together your petâs favorite people food with cat food. Over time, you should be able to change the ratio until your pet is eating only cat food.
How Long Can Cats Survive Without Food & Water
Most healthy cats with no underlying medical conditions can survive without food for up to two weeks. They will get progressively sicker as the days pass until they are no longer able to survive. At this point, the situation becomes life-threatening and your cats body will start to shut down.
However, when a cat does not eat any food OR drink any water, the body and internal organs shut down at a much more rapid rate. On average, completely healthy felines will pass away within three days with no food and water. They will die from a combination of starvation and dehydration.
If the cat is already sick when they stop eating and drinking, the length they can survive is cut even shorter. This is because the lack of water and nutrients makes any underlying health condition worse. There have been cases where sick cats have died within 48 hours of not eating or drinking due to organ shutdown and internal damage.
Because of the rapid rate that a cats health can deteriorate without access to food and drink, you should never let your cat go more than 24 hours without consuming something. They need the right fluids and nutrition to survive.
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What Happens When A Cat Does Not Eat
A cats small body will not retain nutrients for long. If a cat is not eating, it is not getting protein. The amino acids in protein are the building blocks to countless essential functions and reactions in the feline body.
A cat with diarrhea is most at risk as they shed taurine through their waste. Taurine is not created organically in the feline body, so it must be derived from food. If a cat is not eating, it will experience a taurine deficiency.
Most importantly, food provides a cat with energy. If a cat is sick, it will be weak and lethargic.
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You Should Keep The Cat Away From Other Cats To Discourage Jumping
Socializing in the post-operative period might not be the best idea for your cat.
When in the presence of other cats, your recovering feline friend is more likely to jump about the house to keep up with them.
If you own multiple cats, consider keeping them separate for a brief period while one is recovering from surgery.
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How Long Can Cats Go Without Food
On average, your cat can survive for one to two weeks without food.
However, if they do survive that long they are likely to be seriously ill and in need of immediate veterinary attention.
Cats organs shut down very quickly if they dont eat.
Unlike dogs and humans, their livers are not made to support their bodies for long living off their bodies energy stores alone.
In some cases cats can die in three or four days without any protein intake, even if they are hydrated.
There are very harmful consequences the longer your cat doesnt eat.
Your Cat May Be Finding Other Food Sources
Yep, your cat may be getting meals elsewhere.
Its worth investigating:
- Has your cat gotten into a spare bag of cat food or dog food without you knowing it?
- If your cat spends time outside, could your cat be catching mice or having a neighbor feed your cat?
- Do you have a guest staying in your home or a child home from college who may be feeding your cat in-between normal mealtimes without you knowing it?
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Are Cats Just Fussy Eaters
Just as in people, some cats are more food orientated than others. There are cats who are very fussy eaters, and it is not abnormal for them to turn their noses up at food or to miss a meal. For others, the rustle of the food packaging brings them running and the bowl is licked clean in minutes. You know your own cat best, and can therefore judge if a poor appetite is a concern. However, not eating at all is of course always a concern!
How To Encourage Your Cat To Eat
Encouraging a finicky eater requires patience and resourcefulness. The following tips may help:
Offer foods that have a strong scent Sprinkle freeze dried chicken or salmon on top. Drizzle a little bit of tuna or clam juice drizzled over the food Add small pieces of cooked cooked meat Spread a spoonful of meat-based baby food on top of the meal Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the food Sprinkle nutritional yeast over the food
This article was previously published on Answers.com and is republished with permission.
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Tips To Get A Cat To Eat
There are a number of things you can do to try to tempt your cat to eat again, such as:
- feed them directly
- try a different flavor or brand of cat food
- give them treats
- make sure the cat food has not passed its expiration date
- mix in other tasty treats, such as canned tuna water or low-sodium chicken broth
- spread meals out over several hours
- play with them and give them affection
- switch back to the feeding bowl, or food, they were used to one before a change
Also, you may choose to provide your cat with easily digestible, lukewarm food such as boiled chicken or a mixture of lean poultry and rice in small portions. When served warm, food smells and tastes better for cats and is easier on the stomach than cold dishes. Do not feed your cat human food, or anything with onions, chives, or garlic.
If you cannot get your cat to eat using these tips, or if your cat skips more than two meals, it is time to seek veterinary support.
Prognosis For A Cat Not Eating
A cat not eating in the short term is likely not a cause for panic but if your cat does not eat for 12-24 hours, its important to monitor their behavior closely and take them to a vet in case you suspect an illness. Try the tips above to ensure your cat will always eat and remain a healthy kitty!
In case you want to monitor your cat more closely, we recommend to use the new Tractive GPS Cat Tracker, now with Activity Monitoring which lets you track active time, rest and calories burned. Find out if a neighbor has been feeding your cat, or if theyve been busy hunting prey in a nearby field. With a GPS tracker, youll always know where your kitty is and can even monitor their calories burned!
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Your Kitten’s Dish Is Dirty
Cats are extremely clean creatures. If a kitten isnât eating their meal, sometimes it is because theyâre protesting a dish that they donât feel has been washed correctly. Every time you clean the dish, be sure to use detergent and rinse it extremely well with water.
This should be completed after every meal. You can also pick up a ceramic bowl for your cat â this will help ensure that your catâs bowl doesnât hold scent the same way a plastic one might.
How Long Is Too Long For A Reduced Appetite
Since appetites can sometimes wax and wane, you shouldnt worry too much if your cat doesnt seem interested in its food for a short period of time. However, if more time has passed and your cat still hasnt eaten, it may be cause for concern.
It can be normal for cats to not want to eat much over the course of a few hours. It might be stressed or not feeling well, or, it might just not feel like eating right away.
If your cat still hasnt eaten any food after 24 hours, then you should make an appointment with the vet. Longer periods of reduced appetite can indicate health problems in cats, and they can cause them, as well. Hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver disease, can occur in cats after just a few days of inappetence. Weight loss is also a major concern.
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What To Do If Your Cats Not Eating
Since cats as a species are quite good at hiding when they are in pain or not feeling well, its important to pay attention to any changes in your cats habits, especially when it comes to eating.
Contact your veterinarian if your kitten has not eaten for one to two days or if your adult cat has not eaten in two days.
If your cat stops eating and also has these symptoms, take them to the vet immediately:
Hospitalization and fluid therapy
Medication to treat nausea or to stimulate the appetite
If your vet determines that your cat is healthy, but is just a picky eater, follow these tips:
Try feeding your cat foods with different textures, flavors, or shapes, and make sure to warm up wet foods if they have been refrigerated.
Buy only as much dry food as your cat will eat in a month, as some foods will go stale or become rancid if the package has been open for more than a month.
Its always best to know what is normal for your cat and to watch for signs that your cat is not eating so you know when to seek help.
Symptoms Of Loss Of Appetite In Cats
Although the clearest sign that your cat is not eating is to observe them refusing food each time it’s given to them, there are other symptoms that can be present that can help narrow down what may be causing the food avoidance. Keep a lookout for any of the following signs, as they can indicate an underlying disease:
- Signs of infection
- Bad breath
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When Should We Start Worrying About A Loss Of Appetite For Food
Anorexia is described in medical terms as a lack or loss of appetite for food. It can be the first sign something is wrong with your dogs health. Dogs can stop eating when theyre painful, hot, nauseous, overfed, nervous, if they have difficulty smelling, chewing, picking up or swallowing food or a preference for different food.
A few of the above mentioned reasons are behavioural. Although addressing them is still necessary, they do not require emergency treatment. However, there are several life-threatening and chronic diseases that lead to nausea or pain. For example kidney disease, several forms of cancer, bowel obstruction and diabetes mellitus, to name a few. For this reason, if your dog stops eating for two days you should always seek veterinary help to investigate these conditions.
Your Kitten Might Have Eaten Something They Shouldnt Have
The natural curiosity of kittens sometimes gets them into trouble. Kittens have been known to eat string, tinsel, hair ties, and other objects that can get stuck in their stomach or small intestines. Never let your kitten play with string, balloon ribbons, hair ties, plastic grass used in Easter baskets, tinsel, or other objects they could eat.
Surgery is sometimes needed to remove the offending item, so call your veterinarian right away if you suspect that your kitten has eaten something they shouldnt have or if their decreased appetite is also accompanied by vomiting.
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Cat Not Peeing But Acting Normal
Is your cat not peeing but acting normal? Are you worried that your cat my be under a threat or something? Okay, lets deal with it.
A cat may not pee and still act normal for up to 48 hours, even if its drunk enough fluids and eaten adequate meal. However, if a cat doesnt pee for 72 hours, the problem might be related to cats bladder malfunctioning you need to see a vet to save the cat from serious injury or death.
Cat peeing is natural. You dont even get surprised when you see your lovely feline peeing.
For cats, peeing is an indication of how they feels inside, and if it feels anything more, it will only continue to urinate.
To understand the state of your cat when its not peeing, first, you need to understand its body language and what you should do when its acting strange.
Create A Nurturing Loving Space For Your Cat
To help your purrfect cat feel more confident and happy, consider using a FELIWAY Diffuser. A FELIWAY Diffuser is a clinically proven solution to comfort cats at home by providing happy messages it helps to decrease hiding, for a more confident, content cat. As well as helping nurture your relationship with your cat, FELIWAY will help your cat feel more at home in their surroundings and reduce any stress they may be feeling.
If your kitty has developed a love of hiding and has become extremely picky about their food, try the steps above to help them return to their usual, furry selves. Once youve ruled out any medical issues, focus on making the environment as safe and as comfortable as possible. Once your kitty feels more at ease, your stress-free friend should start to get their appetite back, grow in confidence and not want to hide away.
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