Is It Dangerous For My Cat To Stop Eating
In a word, yes.
Cats are built to consume food on a daily basis. Once calories stop coming in, the liver begins to process the cats fat reserves. Unfortunately, cats only do this for a short while. When too much fat reaches the liver, it begins to pile up in there, in essence causing liver inflammation. This condition is called hepatic lipidosis, or fatty liver, and in cats, it can be very serious and even fatal. Their liver simply isnt built to deal with burning fat into energy for long periods of time.
The symptoms of hepatic lipidosis include fatigue, jaundice and depression. It can soon turn into a vicious circle, as the cats simply not feeling well enough to eat. Without intervention, the cat will die within a few weeks.
Your Cat May Be Suffering From Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure can result in fatigue and difficulty breathing, both of which can make your cat less interested in eating.
In addition, medications or a new food thats prescribed for heart disease may affect your cats appetite, especially if the new food is less palatable than what your cat is accustomed to eating.1
Have You Changed Your Cat’s Food
Cats are creatures of habit and they very quickly develop preferences for certain types of food. Whether its food in gravy, pate-style;wet cat food, or dry biscuits, cats that are used to eating the same thing will often go on strike if their food has been changed.
If this sounds like your cat, try offering a bit of their old food, or something as similar to it as you can find. If your cat starts eating again, you know youve got a diva on your hands who doesnt agree with your opinion on what;the best dry cat food might be!;
Always remember, when changing your cat over to a new diet, its best to slowly transition them onto the new food over a couple of weeks.;
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Relocate The Litter Box To Limit Access
Instead of buying a new litter box, you can always relocate the one you have so that your dog cannot access it anymore. You’ll need to find a place that your cat can still reach, so one of the best places is in a garage, as long as your door to the garage has a cat door installed. No matter where you put it, limiting the access to a litter box will make it so your dog cannot eat it.;
Cat Not Eating = Emergency
Alright calm down. No need to hit the panic button just yet. A cat not eating for a day is not a big deal. Sometimes cats wont eat if they are too warm or too stressed. If a cat misses a meal or doesnt eat for one day, 9 times out of 10 it isnt a medical emergency. If you put the food down and your cat puts up his nose and walks away, then monitor the situation. If your cat is back to normal later in the day or eats normally the next day, then treatment is likely not necessary. If the behavior persists for more than one day, then you need to take your cat to the veterinarian, and here are some reasons why:
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Reasons Why Cats Lose Their Appetite
There are many causes of inappetence in cats. A loss of appetite is considered a symptom of a larger issue. However, it can also be due to a cats natural fussiness, a stress response, or a dental issue.
A loss in appetite, be it an inability to eat, disinterest in eating, or a complete refusal to eat, needs to be addressed quickly. Cats may not starve as quickly as other pets, like birds. However, appetite loss is often an indicator of health complications.
How Can I Get My Cat To Eat
There are several things you can try to see if your cat will begin eating again.
- Considering stress can be a cause, ensure their dish is in a quiet area.
- Check to make sure both their food and water bowls are clean.
- Give them canned or “wet” food, or meat baby food.
- Try drenching their solid food with the juice from a tuna can.
- Cat’s don’t like cold food, so you can try heating it .
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Does Your Cat Have Vomiting Or Diarrhea
As with most animals, an upset stomach is a common cause of inappetence in cats. Cats that are vomiting or have diarrhea will often stop eating due to nausea. Check your cats litter tray for signs of diarrhea or observe them when they go outside.;
If your cat is vomiting or has diarrhea, its a good idea to talk to your vet. They might ask you to monitor them for a couple of days, start probiotics at home, or bring them in for a check over.;
Vomiting and diarrhea can also be signs of an underlying disease such as feline pancreatitis, so your vet may also recommend performing diagnostic testing such as bloodwork or an abdominal ultrasound to get to the bottom of the problem.;
How Long Can My Cat Go Without Eating
Like people, cats can go longer without food than water. Cats can survive for about two weeks without eating but only three days without drinking. The longer your cat goes without proper nutrition, however, the weaker they become, so it’s important to contact your vet if you suspect they haven’t eaten in a day or more. They will be able to diagnose the cause and hopefully get your cat back on track to eating regularly.
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Beyond Being A Picky Eater
Before you rush Fluffy off to the vet, consider all of the easy-to-fix options first. For example, some cats are simply picky eaters.
While some cats drool at the sound of a wet-food can being opened, others will turn their cute little noses up at the wet stuff and demand dry kibble. Some love fish-flavored food, while others will only eat the highest quality bits of bison.
Meanwhile, other cats have issues with the size of their food bowls. If your cats bowl is too small, for instance, it may touch her whiskers when she goes in for a bite, which can be irritating to some cats.
Still others refuse to eat unless theyre home alone, or their human is in the room, or its morning, or its nighttime. Cats are odd little beasts which is why we love them ;and part of your job as a pet parent;is to figure out the puzzle of your cats eating habits.
How Long Can A Cat Not Eat
If you have a cat that is not eating you may be wondering how long they can go without eating before you need to worry, right?
A cat can live for two weeks without food. However, it will need to drink some water or it will not last long at all. In particular, a cat without water will only last a few days. However, it is advisable to consult a vet as soon as you notice your cat is not eating within 24 hours to avoid any problems.
So, you have learned how long a cat can last without food. But, should you mix wet and dry cat food?
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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.
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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When To Be Concerned
If cat doesnt eat one meal and then returns to normal eating habits, this usually isnt a concern.
But if your cat is not eating for days, its important to reach out to a veterinarian.
Dogs can go much longer than cats without eating. When cats stop eating, they start introducing the risk of different diseases.
Soon, you may find yourself needing to address multiple issues, rather than just the original reason your cat wasnt eating!
Not to mention, your cat is likely is not feeling well and may be in some discomfort.
Help your cat feel better
If your cat isnt eating as much as usual and you live near Castle Rock, Colorado, we welcome your call. Reach out to our cat veterinarians at 303-688-3757 or:
Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.
This article is intended to provide general guidance on why your cat may not be eating as much as usual. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian.
Ensure Your Kitty Has All The Resources They Need
Does your cat have all the correct resources and are they easily accessible? Your kitty likes to play, scratch their scratching post, have their own space to sleep, own food and water, and a clean litter tray. Keep food and water bowls separate and away from litter trays or any perceived threats and loud noises.
We all like to eat in peace. Ideally, you should put food up high so that your pet feels safe while eating – make sure food is always accessible by leaving doors open. Try to feed your cat little but often; cats are snackers and like to eat frequent small portions – as many as six small meals a day. You should also make sure that there is an exit available so that your kitty can move away and have some quiet time if needed.
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How Long Can Cats Go Without Food
The average cat is lean with little extra fat. A cat that refuses to eat full-stop will typically survive for up to 2 weeks without food. If the cat can manage small morsels of food, it may last a bit longer. If the cat refuses to drink, that time is severed to roughly 3 days.
There is also the issue of hepatic lipidosis developing. As noted by Veterinary Clinics, this is the most common form of liver disease in cats in North America. It is a condition that develops in overweight cats with fatty livers.
However, a cat deprived of dietary protein and must rely on its fat reserves instead. It falls to the liver to process these reserves and convert it into energy for the body to function. Eventually, the liver becomes overwhelmed by the amount of fat it has to deal with. Loss of appetite is a symptom of hepatic lipidosis, alongside:
- Offer wet or dry food, especially those with strong aromas.
- If that fails, try different brands or different types of those foods.
- Offer it cooked chicken or ground beef as few cats will turn their nose up at a strip of roasted chicken.
- Ensure the cat has plenty of water available.
If the cat continues to refuse food despite these efforts, monitor it for a 24-48 hour period. Be sure to consult a vet if the cat eats little to nothing during this time. If necessary, your vet may provide hunger stimulants.
Should I Call The Vet
If youve tried several of the options to get your cat to start eating again but they dont seem to be working, youll want to call your vet. If your cat refuses to eat, her body will begin relying on her fat stores. This puts additional strain on her kidneys, and if this goes on for too long can cause a dangerous condition called hepatic lipidosis, which can lead to liver failure.;
Reaching out to your vet when you notice a change in eating habits is always a wise choice. The sooner you pinpoint the problem, the sooner your kitty will be back on track. Your vet can help treat your cat and also help formulate a feeding plan that will provide the nutrients your cat needs. If your cat has gone without eating for too long more extreme measuressuch as appetite stimulants, syringe-feedings or even placement of a feeding tubemay be necessary.
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How Long Can A Cat Go Without Eating
When cats dont eat, their body mobilizes fat from their body, processing it in the liver to produce energy. When too much fat is mobilized in a short time, the liver becomes overloaded and toxic.;
Overweight cats are at higher risk for developing a fatty liver. In some cases, this sort of liver disease can start after 48 hours without food.;
An otherwise healthy cat who is not overweight might be able to go for 2-3 weeks and experience up to 25% weight loss before the liver is adversely affected .
How Can I Encourage My Cat To Eat
If you have figured out with the help of your veterinarian that it is not a health issue that is affecting your cats eating habits, you might try a few tricks to make meal time more enticing.
Human food is often alluring, but if you are going to use it to tempt your cat into eating again be sure to do so sparingly. Liver and canned tuna, for instance, may coax your cat into taking some bites, but large quantities of people food can be harmful to your pet. Commercial canned cat foods are a better alternative.;
If human food does get your cat eating again, youll need to reintroduce the kibble or wet cat food by slowly incorporating it into mealtimes.
Dont leave canned food out in kittys bowl too long as it will become stale and your cat may continue to avoid it. Try again later with fresh food if the first attempt is ignored.;
To potentially avoid feeding issues in the future, experts recommend alternating your cats food among different brands and types of foods a couple of times a year so they are less likely to become finicky eaters. Since food aversion can be attributed to a number of factorsincluding disease or illnessits best to speak with your vet to rule out any health conditions that might be causing the loss of appetite. Theyll be able to recommend diet changes or a feeding plan that can help your cat get the nutrients they need.
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How To Tell If Your Cat Isnt Eating
Since many pet owners free-feed their cats and also have multiple cats eating from the same food bowl, sometimes its difficult to tell whether or not a cat is eating.;
If you only have one cat, the easiest way to monitor their food intake is to count out the number of kibbles you put in the food bowl at the beginning and end of the day. Alternatively, you can weigh wet food or dry cat food on a gram scale.;
Compare the amount to their previous healthy food intake or if youre not sure what it was, check the label on the cat food container to see how much they should be eating. But remember, the recommended amounts are often more than a sedentary house cat would eat.;
Get your vet to help you calculate how many calories your pet should be eating if youre really confused.;;
If there are multiple cats in the home, try offering an extra delicious meal to the sick cat in question while she is cordoned off from the other cats. Measure the amount of cat food you put in the food bowl and check it again after she is finished eating.;
A longer-term solution is to use a baby scale to monitor your cats weight weekly. For cats who have trouble keeping weight on or have a chronic disease, this is a critical aspect of being a good pet parent.;
Baby scales are relatively inexpensive. You can pick one up at a baby supply store or order one online like this one that Ive used:;