Cat Not Eating: Stress Or Environment Change
Your cat may not be sick, but if hes been impacted by some significant change, his response might manifest in a decreased appetite. Have you moved into a new home? Gotten a new pet? Suddenly started staying home a lot moreor started going out again after months of being home all the time? These external factors can contribute to your cats appetite suddenly being a little wonky. Here are some things that could be making your cat anxious.
If there has been a recent change in your household that could alter your cats daily life, and there are no other concerning behaviors or symptoms, some time to adjust may be all they need, Rotman says. If this is the case, your cat might start eating again once he gets used to the change. To help Kitty better adjust to the changes, you can try providing comfort and patience, like making sure they have access to familiar objects or giving them positive attention near their food bowl, Rotman suggests.
Elderly Cat Wont Eat Heres What To Do
Dr. Joanna Woodnutt, MRCVS
It is worrying when your elderly cat suddenly becomes disinterested in her food. A reduction in appetite can be a symptom of illness and may require a trip to your veterinarian. If your elderly cat has completely stopped eating for more than 24 hours or is losing weight, you should book an emergency appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. If you notice that your cat is still eating but is less interested in her food, there are some steps you can take at home to try to solve the issue on your own first.
What Is The Difference Between Vomiting And Regurgitation
Vomiting is not always vomiting sometimes it is actually regurgitation, and knowing the difference can be helpful information for your veterinarian to help diagnose the cause. Regurgitation is often mistaken for vomiting, but unlike vomited food, regurgitated food has not yet been digested by stomach acids.
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Your Cat Is Eating Too Fast
Some cats may eat too quickly and this can cause them to regurgitate undigested food. Feeding your cat out of a food puzzle toy can help to slow them down. Food puzzles are a great source of both play and enrichment for your cat. There are more and more manufactured food puzzles available on the market that stimulate both your cat’s predatory and foraging instincts. The added benefit of food puzzles for a cat that chronically vomits its food, though, is that it slows down the chow time so that a cat can’t eat too quickly and then get sick from it. If your cat routinely eats out of puzzle feeders and is still vomiting up its food, talk to your veterinarian.
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
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Reasons Why Your Cat Is Not Eating
Alycia Washington is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with nearly a decade of experience as a small animal emergency veterinarian. She currently works as a relief veterinarian for various emergency and specialty hospitals. Dr. Washington recognizes the importance of education and also works as a freelance veterinary writer.
The Spruce / Ana Cadena
A cat that suddenly decides to stop eating is often a sign of a more serious problem. It’s not usually because a cat just doesn’t want a certain treat anymore. If your cat isn’t eating and has skipped several meals, or gone a few days without food, you should take action. There may be things you can do at home to help your cat regain its appetite, but sometimes veterinary intervention is necessary.
They Dont Have A Routine
Kittens need to eat regularly to support their growth and energy needs! And while some owners may want to leave food out for their cats all the time, having food to graze on wont help your pet develop a clear routine – or could cause your kitten to under or over eat.
To ensure your kitty is only hungry at the right times, create a feeding schedule and keep to this routine. Kittens of around 8 weeks old should be fed three to four times a day, reducing this at 12 weeks to three times a day – in the morning, middle of the day, and again at night just before bed time.
Keep in mind that kittens will often want to use the litter tray straight after eating so this is a great time to reinforce some litter tray training!
How To Know Whether Your Cat Ate Already
Outdoor cats are excellent at finding extra food if they spend much energy during the day. If your furry friend had lunch outside, they will often skip the meal you offer when they come back home. Keep in mind that skipping more than one meal indicates another cause behind the loss of appetite.
Indoor cats dont spend as much energy as outdoor felines, so their daily food intake is slightly lower. Unlike dogs , cats dont feel the need to eat as long as theres food in sight. If your kitty already got a meal from one of your housemates, they will probably skip the one you offer.
To keep track of how much your cat eats, create a feeding schedule and plan meals with your housemates or family members to avoid wasting food.
What do you mean dad fed me already? Moooooom?
Cats Are Known For Being Proud And Particular Pets And That Doesnt Stop When It Comes To What They Eat Like Us Each Cat Will Have Their Own Favourite Food And Flavours So Fussy Eating Cats Might Turn Their Nose Up At Something That Doesnt Tantalise Their Taste Buds
If you find that your feline is being especially fussy, or that your cat is not eating at all, there are certain things you can try to get them gobbling up their dinner. However, if your cat is off their food for more than a day this can lead to serious complications including hepatic lipidosis . Contact a vet for advice if the following tips dont improve your cats appetite.
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The Top 10 Reasons Your Cat Isnt Eating
If your cat suddenly stops eating, you shouldnt automatically chalk it up to stubbornness it could actually be a symptom of a serious medical problem. There are other reasons why a cat might lose his appetite as well, so dont start worrying right away. Here is a list of the top ten reasons why a cat might stop eating:
Offer Their Favorite Foods
Zazie Todd, the author of the upcoming book PURR: The Science of Making Your Cat Happy, told Newsweek: “When cats aren’t eating much, there are a few things you can do to try to make their food more palatable to them,” such as some of their favorite foods.
You can add the water from a can of tuna or some low-salt unseasoned chicken broth to their food.
Todd said even simply adding just a little plain water to the food can make it more mushy and potentially more appetizing since cats tend to prefer wet foods like canned tuna.
But every cat is a unique individual, so it’s worth trying different types of food. For example, kibble instead of canned food or canned food instead of kibble, chunks in gravy instead of pate, Todd said.
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How To Identify That Your Cat Not Eating Much But Acting Normal Is Related To Loss Of Appetite
According to Dr. Linda A. Ross, DVM, associate professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at Tufts Universitys Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, it may not easy to differentiate your cats loss of appetite easily.
Since the cat is not showing any physical symptom or activeness, the appetite problem may not be visible at first.
Especially when you have more than one cat in your house.
- Reduced enthusiastic feeling towards its favourite treats or cat foods
- Even she reject foods, no sign of frequent vomiting or diarrhoea.
If you feel your cat going under above mentioned observations, then probably, it is an early stage of warning of some possible medical cases.
Now lets look into our three major reasons that cause this kind of behaviour and solutions to follow.
Causes Treatment And Prevention
Andrei Spirache / Getty Images
Fatty liver disease or syndrome, more properly known as hepatic lipidosis, is a disease that affects a cat’s liver. It is one of the most common acquired liver disease in cats, and it can be life threatening if not treated promptly. Symptoms can include lethargy, loss of appetite, jaundice, weight loss, weakness, and vomiting.
The majority of cats that develop fatty liver disease are middle-aged, overweight or obese cats that suddenly develop anorexia, or a refusal to eat, due to an underlying illness or extreme stress. The condition can quickly lead to liver failure and death without treatment. With treatment, however, which can be a lengthy process, most cats will recover from the condition.
Knowing how to recognize the signs of this serious disease, as well as how to prevent it, can help save your cat’s life.
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Cat Not Eating: More Serious Health Problems
Of course, this is the possibility that youre especially worried about if you notice your cat not eating. Your cat may not feel like eating because hes sick. If this is the case, youll probably notice other behavioral changes besides just not eating, but if hes shunning the food bowl, thats a pretty telltale sign. As Rotman says, Ceasing to eat, referred to as anorexia, can be a direct symptom of underlying disease or a side effect caused by pain or distress. If the issue persists and/or you notice any other signs your healthy cat is sick, you could have a bigger problem on your paws.
As for the illness in particular, it could be any number of health conditions, some more serious than others. But Rotman says there are a couple of likely candidates. It could be as simple as a toothache or sore gums: Dental or gum disease would make chewing on dry food quite painful. But it could be a host of other issues, too. Many types of health issues including gastrointestinal issues, respiratory disease, and viral infections could be the culprit of a reduced appetite, Rotman says. Make sure you know which common foods are toxic to cats before you feed them.
What To Do If Your Cats Fussiness Continues
If nothing seems to work and your cat is not eating, you could consider changing their food. Stick with their previous preference of wet or dry food, and introduce them to the new formula over a period of 7-10 days by gradually adding more of the new food to each meal. Sudden changes in diet can lead to diarrhoea and vomiting. Sometimes a simple change in recipe is all it will take to appeal to their taste buds.
If your cat seems keen, but is struggling to eat, they may have dental problems making it difficult or painful. If you think your cats gums look red or swollen you should book an appointment with the vet. Take a look at our handy guide on how to look after your cats teeth to avoid dental problems, and be sure to follow veterinary advice.
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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.
What Is The Treatment For A Cat Whos Not Eating Or Drinking
Treatment for a kitty whos refusing their food consists of two components: treating the underlying cause and providing supportive care.
Directly addressing the underlying cause is important to ensure the loss of appetite is truly resolved . Without treating the underlying cause, anorexia could return after supportive care is discontinued.
To determine why a cat stopped eating, a veterinarian will take a detailed history and perform a physical exam to check your pets overall health and look for any abnormalities that could explain the loss of appetite .
Diagnostic tests are commonly needed to reach a diagnosis, since these tests give your vet more information about whats going on inside your pets body. Common tests include:
- A fecal check .
- Bloodwork and a urinalysis.
- X-rays or ultrasound.
- Tests for infectious diseases.
- Depending on your cats history and symptoms, additional testing may be recommended, such as biopsies or a food trial on a prescription diet.
Once a diagnosis is reached, targeted treatment is prescribed. For example, a cat with a bad tooth will be scheduled for a dental procedure to remove it, and a kitty whos stressed about a change in the home may be prescribed calming supplements.
Regardless of cause, supportive care is important to help a sick cat feel better, prevent complications of not eating, and promote healing.
Supportive care varies depending on a cats needs and symptoms, but common treatments include:
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Is It Normal For A Cat To Be Lethargic
Technically, lethargy in cats is never normal, but it is sometimes expected. For example, cats that have just been vaccinated are often lethargic. This happens because the immune response generated by a vaccine can make cats feel tired, achy, and generally unwell.
Many illnesses will also make a cat lethargic, so its quite likely that a sick or recently vaccinated cat will be lethargic.
In comparison, healthy kittens are never lethargic. They tend to be either fully onrunning around like maniacsor fully offresting up for another round. Contact your veterinarian if you have a lethargic kitten.
As cats age, they often spend more time quietly observing the world around them , but this isnt lethargy its growing up. Senior cats may slow down a bit more, but extreme or sudden changes are usually a sign of a health problem.
What Should You Do To Get Your Cat To Eat
Regardless of the reason behind your cats loss of appetite, you need to get your cat eating again. One or two days without food is okay, but a cat not eating or drinking for 3 days is life-threatening. At this point, they need prompt medical care to get nutrients back into their body.
Thankfully, there are many ways you can get your cat to eat so that it doesnt get to this point. Below I share my top tips. These have encouraged my cat to eat time and time again! Before you implement any of these though, I would recommend taking your cat to the vet. A cat not eating but acting normal will usually be healthy, but it is better to get a professional opinion to be sure.
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They Have Already Eaten Too Much
Knowing how much to feed your kitten at each meal is important to make sure youre not underfeeding or overfeeding them! If your kitten is still too full from their breakfast, they may turn their nose up at their lunchtime meal. To figure out whats best for your pet, look at the instructions on your kittens food label. There should be a quantity range, dependent on your kittens size. Start by feeding in the middle of this rage. If your kitten finishes their food quickly, and easily eats more at the next sitting, it may be time to increase their serving size. But, if your pet hasnt finished their food after 15-20 minutes, or struggles to eat again at the next mealtime, you may be feeding them too much and you should cut down on portion sizes.
Feeding the right amount is important to help your pet stay a healthy weight. Overfeeding treats and meals can create a chubby, unhealthy cat so make sure you keep an eye on your pets food intake. Regarding treats, if you do want to feed treats to your pet, try to balance the volume of treats and food rations – feeding less food if your pet has had a few treats. While kittens are young, try not to feed them human food to avoid bad habits, and avoid feeding raw foods as this can lead to upset kitty tummys.