Cats are definitely some of the pickiest eaters in the animal kingdom. But sometimes if your cat isn’t eating, it could be a sign of a range of serious illnesses.
The most common reasons your cat isn’t eating are:
- A new type of food.
- Psychological problems.
- Dental issues.
- Obstruction in the digestive system.
- Respiratory infection.
- Urinary Obstruction.
- Kidney disease.
Before we look at these issues and suggest how to prevent them, we advise that if your cat does not eat for over 24 hours; you need to have it examined by a veterinarian.
A New Type Of Food
Of course, you don’t have to rush to the vet if your cat isn’t eating a new type of food. They just need to get used to it.
There are many reasons for changing a cat’s diet. But you might surprise and confuse them with the new food you serving up. Going from wet to dry food or vice versa can be quite challenging, as these two food types are so different from each other.
Here are some guidelines to follow when changing the type of food you feed your cat.
If you’re feeding your cat openly by topping up their food bowl before it’s empty, changing to specific feeding times may help the transition to a new food.
Check with a veterinarian to determine the exact amount of food to provide each day. This will depend on the weight and breed of your cat.
At first, feed your cat 100% the same food as before. On the second day, give 80% previous food and 20% new food.
Continue to reduce the old food and increase the new food over a period of a week.
Mix the food well before you give it to them and remove any leftover food after 1 or 2 hours. You can store it in the refrigerator to keep it clean and serve it later.
It’s important to stick to specific feeding times in the morning and in the evening.
If your cat is under some kind of emotional stress, it might also fearfully react to sounds and other things in the house it was normally fine with.
They might have had a traumatic experience that you’re not aware of.
Leaving them alone for too long
Cats enjoy the companionship of their owners. If you leave your cat alone for longer than normal or don’t have any time to pay attention to it, emotional illnesses are possible.
A new environment
Cats, like humans, are creatures of habit and don’t enjoy any big changes in their lives. This can happen when you move into a new house or maybe redecorate your current one.
New pets or babies
New pets and babies can mess with your cat’s emotions, as it doesn’t understand who the new member of the home is. They smell, look, and sound different, and your cat just needs to get to know them better.
Cats can usually sense bad weather approaching. When they do, it’s common for them to get very vocal and hide in certain areas of the house, with no desire to eat. Cats can remain frightened and hidden for hours after the storm has passed. So check up on them afterward to make sure they’re ok.
How To Prevent Psychological Problems In Cats
If you need to be away from home for a long time, like a vacation or just a weekend away, ask somebody who your cat knows, to come in once a day to feed them. It will help if they spend 30 to 60 minutes with the cat as well for company.
Although your cat will still not be as happy as it would be if you were there. It’s still better than boarding your cat in a stressful environment.
If you make some changes in your home, add some positive changes for your kitty as well.
Have something for them to climb on and sharpen their claws. Add litter boxes in different areas of the house. If you move into a new house, take all the cat’s toys, climbing, and scratching posts and use them in your new place.
If your cat’s teeth or gums hurt, it might suddenly stop eating. Sometimes a bad breath is the biggest warning sign that your cat has a dental problem. Loose teeth, infected gums, abscesses, and other oral problems can stop your cat from eating.
- Check for bad breath.
- Have your cat’s teeth checked periodically by a veterinarian.
- Provide a healthy diet that includes dry and wet food.
Obstruction In The Digestive System
Animal bones are the number one cause of intestinal blockage. If your cat swallows a bone, it may be life-threatening. Bones can also splinter as the cat eats them, making matters even worse.
- Be extremely vigilant in making sure that your cat never gets hold of any bones. Don’t leave your scraps on your plate after a meal, dispose of them immediately after you’ve eaten.
Constipation can occur in cats that don’t get enough exercise and water. Even stress can lead to constipation.
- Ensure that your cat has plenty of fresh water at all times. Dehydration is the number one cause of constipation in cats.
- They can also benefit from a special diet with extra fiber to assist the digestive system.
Cats can also suffer from colds and flu, much like we do. Symptoms include sneezing, fever, lack of appetite, and more.
- Maintain a clean, fun environment for the cat to minimize stress.
- Keep your cat indoors to lower its exposure to other infected animals.
- If you have more than one pet, isolate the sick one to decrease the risk of spreading the infection.
This results from a disease or injury of the cat’s pancreas leading to inflammation. The pancreas is a vital organ, and it requires urgent treatment if it’s inflamed.
- Don’t feed your cat any human foods. Especially those with high-fat content.
- Don’t administer any medication that your veterinarian hasn’t prescribed.
- Some drugs prescribed to cats can increase inflammation as a side effect. Avoid these when possible to prevent pancreatitis.
- Don’t use pesticides and other garden poisons around your cat.
Urinary blockages occur when proteinaceous sledge, crystals, or stones become lodged in the cat’s urethra. Neutered males have the highest risk of suffering from this illness, as their urethras are very narrow.
- Always provide your cat with fresh drinking water.
- Create a happy and fun environment for your cat.
- Toys and scratching posts are good but interact with your cat as well to decrease stress.
- Keep the litter boxes clean and easy to access.
This illness is caused by deteriorated kidneys that can’t keep the cat’s blood healthy anymore. Kidney disease leads to your cat losing its appetite, weight, and fur. As the situation worsens, toxins build up in the bloodstream and can cause death.
- Feed more wet food to your cat.
- Don’t allow your cat to become overweight.
- Encourage them to drink lots of water by keeping it fresh and available.
What Do You Feed A Cat That Refuses To Eat?
If you only have dry food at the moment, boil water and pour it over one portion to soak for around 60 minutes. (To cool down as well) Mix it all up into a thick paste and offer it to your cat.
Pour some tuna or anchovy juice from a can over their dry food to entice them.
Buy some wet food to offer your cat, it may be appealing enough for them to eat.
Offer your cat cooked, deboned chicken.
If your cat refuses to eat anything for over 24 hours, take them to your veterinarian for a checkup.
How Long Can A Cat Go Without Eating?
A cat can survive without food for around one or two weeks and around two or three days without water.
The reason that we recommend having your cat checked out at the vet after only 24 hours is because if there’s a serious problem, early treatment is crucial.
There’ll be times when your cat just doesn’t feel like eating. But they should get hungry enough to eat at least once every 24 hours.
A good diet and fresh water are essential for maintaining healthy metabolism in a cat.
If your cat loses its appetite, try some advice in this article to coax them into eating. If that doesn’t work, take them to your vet as soon as possible for an evaluation.
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.