Why The Hunger Strike
A change in your cats eating habits are typically impacted by two things: their health or the food itself. While there are several health factors that might cause your cat to stop eating gradually or suddenly, dont jump to any conclusions about sickness or injury without consulting a veterinarian.
Cats only have a few ways that they tend to show illness, including not eating and vomiting, but the problem is that you have no idea what illnesses because there are a bunch of different things that can cause both of those situations, said Cailin Heinze, VMD, MS, DACVN, Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist.
Tips To Tempt Your Cat To Eat
- Warm the food up
- Offer strong smelling foods such as sardines
- Try different brands of pet food
- Try hand-feeding your cat and check their nose is clean .
- Heat up your cat’s food to their body temperature
Your cat will be diagnosed with anorexia if they change their eating habits and consistently refuse to eat. If your cat is showing signs of anorexia, or their appetite has suddenly increased or decreased, you should consult your vet or, if you feel its an emergency situation, your nearest Vets Now. Food avoidance can have a serious impact on an adult cats health if it persists for 24 hours or more.
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.
Adult cats, especially those that are overweight, can develop a serious disease called hepatic lipidosis if they stop eating, so prompt action is important.
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.
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Your Kitten May Be Intimidated By Your Dog Or Other Cats
While many kittens are outgoing and resilient, some shy kittens may be intimidated by other furry family members when it comes to mealtime.
Give your kitten a safe place to eat where they wont be chased or bothered by other cats or dogs in the family.
If your kitten wont eat for more than a day or two, call your veterinarian to schedule an exam. The sooner you determine the cause, the sooner your little one will be back to normal.
Could Your Cat Be Getting Food From Elsewhere
Some cats are better at self-regulating their intake than others. While some will continue to eat any and all food offered to them, others will stop when they are full.
If you have an outdoor cat that isn’t eating, and you and your vet can’t find any other cause, it might be worth considering whether they are eating elsewhere. This is most likely if your cat is maintaining their weight despite their apparent reduced diet. You can try attaching a note to their collar asking people not to feed them or shutting them in for a few days and seeing if they regain their appetite.
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What Should You Do If Your Cat Is Vomiting Undigested Food
Some cat owners may describe their cat as ‘puke-y’, but it should be noted that frequent vomiting is never normal for a cat. Vomiting more than once a week is definitely a sign of a problem. If your cat is vomiting up undigested food, begin to feed with puzzle toys and/or feed them smaller amounts more frequently. If you continue to notice your cat is vomiting undigested several times and/or in conjunction with other symptoms such as lack of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, or diarrhea, you should make an appointment with your vet right away.
Your vet will want to start with a physical exam, checking your cat’s vital signs, and palpating your cat’s abdomen. After a thorough examination, your vet may also want to run some tests, including blood work and X-rays. Blood work will check your cat’s organ function, making sure that there are no signs of liver disease or kidney disease, as well as your cat’s red blood cell and platelet levels. An X-ray study will check for any fluid in the abdomen that could potentially be blood and it may also show intestinal gas patterns that could be indicative of a blockage.
Ive Tried All That And My Cat Still Wont Eat
If your cat doesnt have a medical issue, and theres nothing in their life that could be causing stress, there are a few things you can do to please your fussy eater!
- Try different brands of food even though your pet may have eaten one brand of food for their entire life, it might be time for a change!
- Try different flavours just like humans, cats can get bored of the same meal. Try to mix it up a little bit, whilst also ensuring it is healthy for your cat.
- Keep your dishes clean cats are notoriously fussy, especially when it comes to cleanliness. If they can smell old food on their bowl theyre likely to turn their nose up.
- Heat up the food getting the food to room temperature or warmer can help to release aromas. Cats eat with their nose as much as their mouths!
Hopefully this guide will help you figure out why your cat isnt eating, but just remember to always consult your vet if youre concerned for your pets health.
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What Causes A Cat To Stop Eating
A loss of appetite is referred to as anorexia, whereas Hyporexia or inappetence means a pet is eating less than normal .
There are many possible reasons why a kitty may refuse their food. Here are some of the most common causes:
- An upset stomach for any reason .
- Finicky eating habits.
- Stress or emotional causes .
- Dental problems that make it difficult to chew food.
- Pain anywhere in the body.
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Something Off With Your Cat’s Appetite Here Are Some Reasons For A Cat Not Eatingand What You Should Do To Get Your Kitty Happily Chowing Down Again
We generally think of dogs as much more voracious pets than their feline counterparts. In fact, in pop culture, youre probably more likely to see a fictional cat lapping up a bowl of milk than eating from a food bowl. But make no mistakeyour kitty should be eating her food, and if you suddenly notice your cat not eating, you should pay attention and try to figure out why.
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Teach Your Cat Good Eating Habits
Help your cat develop healthy eating habits from the start by setting up a routine. Whether you let your cat have free access to food or serve the food at certain times, it is important to stick to the routine. Otherwise you risk having a cat that refuses food or doesnt eat enough. If you have a cat that doesnt eat its not a good idea to try and tempt them with delicious food or treats. That will teach it to be picky. Allow the cat to go hungry for a few hours and they will hopefully learn to eat what you provide.
Reasons Why Your Cat Is Vomiting
Cats can eat too much food or too fast, especially if they face competition for a meal from another pet. However, a cat that vomits and has no interest in eating or drinking for more than 24 hours is far more concerning.
Constipated cats will vomit and lose their appetite. Allergic reactions, toxin consumption, gastritis, and kidney disease can also lead to a loss of appetite and cause vomiting. Other medical explanations include pancreatitis, respiratory infections, or tumors. Your cat could also be experiencing adverse side effects from vaccines, medicine, or surgery.
Vomiting isnt always a sign of ill health. If the cat behaves normally and does not vomit again within 24 hours, it may have a hairball, have consumed soiled food, or have eaten its meal too quickly.
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Was Your Cat Ravenously Hungry Before They Stopped Eating
Diabetes and hyperthyroidism both cause extreme hunger in most cats at first. Pet parents are often pleased as older cats look like they’re having a ‘second wind’ with a good appetite. However, these cats usually lose weight despite their increased appetite, and in some cases, they then lose their appetite entirely as the diseases progress. In diabetes particularly, this is a pretty bad sign.
If your cat is middle-aged or older and previously had an excellent appetite, it’s worth considering whether diabetes or hyperthyroidism could be to blame. Your vet will be able to diagnose these issues through an examination and some tests before discussing the best management plan with you.
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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Keep Your Cats Dishes And Bowls Clean
This is especially important if your cat eats canned or raw food because germs can start growing in scraps of leftover food and cause illness. A cat not eating might hate the smell of her dishes or food. Cats are instinctively driven to avoid consuming putrid-smelling meat. If you use plastic dishes, replace them with metal or ceramic because theyre easier to keep clean.
What Is Whisker Fatigue And Is It Real
You may have heard either from your veterinarian, news reports, or pet product manufacturers about something called whisker fatigue.
Theres actually a lot we still dont fully understand about cats whiskers .
While the thought of tired whiskers sounds kinda silly, it is something that maybe you should put a little thought into if you have a feline that tends to be very sensitive. Why? Because it is a problem that can potentially make your cat act completely different.
Some of the issues it can cause are poor appetite, mood changes, and changes in behavior. All of these things cause additional stress to your cat.
Generally, people think of whiskers as a physical trait of cats. We often relate to it as we do facial hair or beards. But they are so much more complex than a beard!
Whiskers, or vibrissae, are specialized touch organs that help mammals in a number of ways. Cats, for example, have 100200 nerve cells per whisker. As the whisker comes into contact with an object, the cat translates that sensory information to help build a description of their environment, like whether a space is too narrow for them to safely pass through.
Simply put, whisker fatigue occurs when these highly sensitive vibrissae are repeatedly over-stimulated. This can happen with repeated hits to the sides of a food or water bowl, causing discomfort, desensitization, and stress.
Over enough time, this can cause the following:
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Cat Not Eating 9 Reasons Why And How To Help
Is your cat not eating? There may be several reasons for this behavior, which can be especially concerning if it happens quite suddenly.
Food avoidance can have a serious implications for your cat’s health if it continues for 48 hours or more, which means it needs to be noticed and dealt with promptly.
Here, experts explain some reasons why your cat may not be eating and how to help reignite their appetite.
How To Get Your Cat To Eat
If your cat has stopped eating its normal food, check to see if there’s a recall on that particular food. It’s another good reason why you should consider keeping your cat’s dry food in its original bag so you can check the bar code. Sometimes a cat can sense that something is wrong with their food and won’t eat it.
Depending on the reason why your cat has stopped eating, you may be able to coax your kitty to start eating again. However, its not normal for a cat to stop eating if their food has not changed, so a trip to your veterinarian is recommended to rule out medical reasons.
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What Is Fatty Liver Disease
The liver is a vital part of the digestive system. This organ performs a variety of critical functions related to digestion, including processing fats and carbohydrates to make energy, synthesizing proteins and vitamins that are crucial to healthy cellular function, serving as a storage space for vitamins and iron, producing several different hormones, and breaking down toxins in the bloodstream so they can be eliminated from the body.
When a cat, especially an overweight or obese cat, develops anorexia, or a refusal to eat, for more than three or four days, the stage is set for the development of hepatic lipidosis. The cat’s liver turns to the rapid breakdown of stored fats to serve as a source of energy, but if the liver is unable to process fats as quickly as they are broken down, the liver cells become engorged with fat. This causes the cells to swell and impairs liver function. If fatty liver disease is left untreated, it can progress to complete liver failure, which is often fatal.
What Happens When A Cat Does Not Drink
Water is even more time-critical to a sick cat than food.
If a cat becomes dehydrated, its internal organs will start to falter. Water is essential for flushing toxins from the body, resulting in kidney problems.
If your cat already has diabetes or renal failure, itll urinate more frequently. Consequently, the effects of not drinking water will manifest sooner and have more dire consequences.
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Diagnosing Fatty Liver Disease In Cats
If you suspect your cat has fatty liver disease or it has stopped eating for more than a day or two, it should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. A veterinarian will perform a full physical examination, take a full history, and obtain a blood sample to perform a complete blood count and check organ function, as well as look for signs of underlying illnesses.
Specific enzymes in the blood can provide information that helps the veterinarian determine whether or not the liver is functioning well. These enzymes may provide an indication that your cat has fatty liver disease or another problem causing the same symptoms. Your vet might also want to do an ultrasound of the liver, which can reveal swelling due to hepatic lipidosis.
In order to definitively diagnose a cat with fatty liver disease, however, a biopsy of the liver is required. This is usually performed by inserting a long needle through the cat’s skin and into the liver to retrieve a small sample. If the cat has hepatic lipidosis, microscopic examination of the liver sample will reveal excessive fat in and around the cells.
What Should I Expect When I Visit The Vet
Your vet will ask you about your cats recent medical history and whether you have noticed any other signs, such as weight loss or vomiting. It is important to try to work out if your cat is hungry but not managing to eat for some reason or if they have no interest in food.Your vet will check your cat over by performing a clinical examination and also ask questions about you have observed at home. Since there are many possible reasons for cats not eating, your vet may also need to perform some tests to work out what is going on, such as blood tests, urine tests, x-rays or ultrasound.
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What If Your Cat Is Not Eating Or Drinking
Approved By: Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM
Certified Content. This article has been fact checked and verified by our veterinary adviser.
Loss of appetite can be cause for concern for any pet parent. After all, cats seem to live to eat, so a cat that suddenly doesn’t want to eat can feel like a reason to worry. If you know what can be causing your cat’s sudden hunger strike and how to handle it, your worries will be eased.
It may be something serious that requires veterinary intervention, or it could be just a case of the picky-pickies. Know your cat, and you’ll know what to do.