Could Your Cat Be Getting Food From Elsewhere
Some cats are better at self-regulating their intake than others. Whilst 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 isnt eating, and you and your vet cant find any other cause, consider whether they might be eating elsewhere. 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.
What Do You Do When Your Cat Wont Eat
If your kitty at any age stops eating, do you need to take them to the vet right away? Or, is it okay to wait until morning or even to monitor for a few days if your kitty is acting normal otherwise?
With cats, dont wait to see if appetite will improve. Cats who dont eat for more than a day or two are at risk for a condition called fatty liver, which can cause liver failure. Fatty liver, or hepatic lipidosis, happens when the body moves stored fat to use for energy during anorexia. The process overwhelms the liver, which is involved in processing the stored fat. Obese or overweight kitties are at the highest risk, but fatty liver can happen to any cat.
Other potential complications of not eating include dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, weight loss, and delayed healing and recoveries.
If your vet has ruled out a medical condition and has determined your kittys loss of appetite is due to picky eating habits, they can discuss techniques to establish a healthy eating schedule. Your vet may also recommend trying a new food or try switching from dry food to canned food. Some cat owners have also had success with mixing in fish oil or a small amount of canned tuna into their cat’s meal. Just remember, you don’t want to rely on feeding you cat human foods as your pet won’t get all of the nutrients they need .
Prompt care will also help your kitty feel like their normal self again as soon as possible.
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.
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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.
Why It’s A Problem If Your Cat Stops Eating
If your cat isn’t feeling well, it may stop eating because there’s something stuck in its stomach or intestines. Or, your cat might not like the food you’re offering. Your cat’s lack of eating can also be a symptom of a disease or problem that’s causing pain or discomfort. Regardless of the reason, it’s a major concern if your cat stops eating.
If you have an obese cat that’s stopped eating, it can quickly develop hepatic lipidosis by going without food for a few days. This disease is often referred to as fatty liver disease or fatty liver syndrome and it can be fatal if left untreated. This is the main reason why it’s so important to make sure your cat, especially if it’s overweight, keeps eating. With fatty liver disease, the liver is overwhelmed trying to convert fat to energy. The excess fat that’s stored around your cat’s liver exacerbates the situation. The liver is a critical organ and if it’s not working effectively, your cat can suffer without immediate treatment from your veterinarian.
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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 are often seen to have a second wind with a good appetite. However, in some cats this will then be followed by no appetite at all as the diseases progress and, in diabetes particularly, this is a bad sign.
If your cat is middle-aged or older and previously had a good appetite, its worth considering whether diabetes or hyperthyroidism could be to blame. Your vet will be able to diagnose these issues and discuss management with you.
Eating Challenges In Different Life Stages
Youve already learned about the top ten reasons why a cat might stop eating, but there is still more to learn on this subject. The reasons why your cat stops eating could vary according to any number of different factors, including his age. Keep reading to learn about some of the reasons that might affect your cats appetite at different stages.
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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.
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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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.
Reasons For Kittens Not Eating
When kittens are first born, they are completely dependent on their mothers for everything. Not only does the mother cat provide the kittens with food in the form of milk, but she licks them to stimulate breathing and elimination. After three to four weeks, kittens will start to naturally wean themselves off of milk and onto solid food, as long as you provide it for them. It is usually best to offer wet food or softened kibble that is easy for a little kitten to chew and swallow. If your kitten isnt eating solid food, it might simply be that he hasnt been fully weaned yet or it could be a problem with the food itself. Try different flavors of wet food or soak some kibble in chicken broth to soften it while also adding flavor. If your kitten has previously been eating but suddenly stops, you may want to take him to the veterinarian to see if there is some underlying health problem.
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Is It Normal For Cats To Drool
Cats drooling when they are happy and relaxed, for example, drooling while being petted, can be normal behavior. Usually, these kitties adopt this behavior early in life, so it would not be typical for an older cat to start drooling suddenly if they hadnt before. If this happens, you should call your vet to talk about your cats sudden drooling.
So how can you tell the difference between normal cat drooling and drooling thats a sign of a problem?
What Can I Do If My Cat Won’t Eat Or Drink
The most important thing you can do is speak to your vet as early as possible and follow their advice on providing nourishment for your cat. Outside of that, there are also some simple short-term steps you can take such as feeding your cat something that stimulates their appetite such as canned sardines or liver. Just remember these foods should only ever be given in moderation.
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How To Get Cats To Drink Water
Convincing a cat to drink can be more challenging as most cats teeter on the brink of dehydration when healthy. Cats are also fussy about drinking water. As hydration is so important to sick cats, you must persevere. Tips to encourage the drinking of water include:
- Leave water bowls throughout the house.
- Half-fill the bowls.
- Use a water purifier or mineral water.
- Add flavor to the water by adding tuna juice.
Arunning water source may also tempt your cat into drinking. A water fountain isideal. If you do not have one, leave a kitchen tap running. If your cat feelsup to it, it will drink straight from this source. Even sick cats struggle toresist a running water source.
Cats can be offered water through a syringe or be given intravenous fluids, if necessary. This may be essential to your cats recovery.
What Other Options Do I Have
Cats not eating is an emergency situation. The body structure and digestive system of a cat make sudden weight loss very bad for its overall health and well-being. If you do not want to make them eat using canned food, you can try a nutritional, high-calorie gel such as Nutri-Cal.
Many cats like the taste and will readily lick it off your finger or a spoon. If your cat won’t take it, you can use the above method to wipe the gel on the roof of his or her mouth.
You can also talk to your vet about using a feeding tube. While the thought of a feeding tube is scary, it may be the only way to get nutrition into your cat. Some feeding tubes can be a temporary measure that will work until the animal gets better.
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Why Has My Cat Stopped Eating
Cats are renowned for being picky eaters! Many cat owners find themselves scanning the pet food shelves for new and interesting flavors of kibble and canned food to coax their fur baby to eat more enthusiastically. That said, if your cat has refused to eat for more than 24 hours, there may be an underlying health issue.
Like people, cats can experience gastrointestinal issues that cause them to feel nauseous and experience a lack of appetite. Cats suffering from GI problems often, , show other symptoms such as weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation.
Common GI problems in cats include:
- Foreign object, such as string, your cat’s digestive tract
- Changes in your cat’s intestinal bacteria
If your cat is losing weight, vomiting, experiencing diarrhea or constipation as well as refusing to eat, it’s time to see your vet. Gastrointestinal problems such as those listed above are serious and may require emergency care. It’s important for your cat’s health that GI issues be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.
There are a host of dental issues which may cause your cat mouth pain, leading to a refusal to eat. Your cat could be suffering mouth pain due to a dental abscess, injury to the mouth caused by a foreign object, inflamed gums, a loose or broken tooth, or advanced tooth decay.
Other Possible Causes
- Recently receiving vaccinations
- Motion sickness due to travel
- New food
How To Stimulate Your Cats Appetite
If your cat isnt eating, we need to get them back on track as soon as possible. But because there are so many reasons why your cat may have lost their appetite, its important to find and treat the underlying cause first. These tips and tricks for stimulating your cats appetite do not replace professional veterinary advice but may be useful when caring for your cat at home after a trip to the vet.
First up, you can try gently warming wet or tinned food to increase the aroma. Some cats prefer warm food, others prefer it cold straight from the fridge! Just make sure the food is lukewarm and the heat evenly distributed to avoid burns. Cats with suspected mouth pain or those recovering from a dental procedure will also prefer wet or tinned food as its much softer and easier to chew. Adding a little tuna in spring water to their regular diet may also tempt cats to eat, as may offering small portions of a variety of foods to see which they prefer.
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S For Feeding A Cat Who Won’t Eat
Always speak with your vet about the best method for taking care of your cat.
|How to Feed a Cat That Won’t Eat||Troubleshooting|
1. Take the cat in your lap and gently hold it with the spine against your stomach.
If the cat is resistant, you may need to wrap it in a blanket or towel with only the head sticking out.
2. With one hand take a small amount of canned food and place it on the end of your pointer finger.
Make sure the food is soft. Science Diet has softer adult foods or ask your vet for some Science Diet A/D.
3. Gently open the cat’s mouth by loosening the jaw with your thumb and forefinger.
You should be gentle and not use force. The jaw opens easily in this position.
4.Wipe the canned food on the roof of the cat’s mouth and allow it to lick and swallow for a minute.
This method also works for nutritional paste or gel.
It is important not to overfeed the cat, especially if he or she has been off food.
What Do I Do If My Cat Isnt Eating Or Drinking
If you have a kitten or adult cat that doesnt eat or drink enough, you need to find the underlying cause of the problem. Its important to find out if your cats poor appetite is caused by not wanting to eat or not being able to eat.
The article is based on conversations with Bozitas own cat expert Elin Hirsch, doctor in ethology with a focus on cat behaviour.
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Reasons Why Your Cat Has Lost Its Appetite
As youve probably figured out by now, there can be a multitude of reasons as to why your cat has lost its appetite. However, the good news is that for most of the reasons associated with a kittens loss of appetite or a lack of appetite in cats who are adults, the problem can be corrected and your cat can once again start insisting its food bowl be filled up time after time. While some reasons have already been discussed as to why your cat has lost its appetite, here are a few more that could be leading to your cats sudden disdain for food and drink.
Fever and Sore Throat
Whether its a common cold or a respiratory virus, cats can have a fever and sore throat just like humans. As you know when youve had such problems, the last thing you want to do is try to swallow anything when you have a sore throat. Also, a fever will make a cat feel lethargic and result in it doing little else but sleeping. While your vet can give your cat some antibiotics to help lower their fever and rid them of the sore throat, these issues often have to simply run their course, which they do after a few days. But if they dont, make a return trip to your vet at once.
Face or Jaw Trauma