Cat Not Eating? Here Is What You Should Do


Have you noticed your cat not eating much lately? A significant lack of appetite is definitely a cause for worry. Felines in particular may contract a dangerous condition known as hepatic lipidosis, also known as fatty liver disease, if they stop eating for a few days. Eating problems in cats are usually a sign that he could be in pain or suffering from illness. You have to determine the cause of the eating problem and apply some of the most effective ways to get him interested in his food bowl again.

Cat Not Eating: Causes

Why is my cat not eating? In the same way human beings lose appetite when sick, it might mean he is experiencing discomfort or pain. There are also other possible reasons such as having taken medication recently or anxiety. While trying some methods to get him to eat, it’s important you also try to pinpoint why kitty has suddenly lost the desire to eat.


1. Illness or disease

Loss of appetite is one of the early symptoms of an illness, no matter how mild or severe.

  • Respiratory diseases. Respiratory issues may affect a cat’s sense of sight and smell, which naturally results in loss of interest in food.
  • Digestive problems. It’s possible that your cat is having digestive issues, affecting the stomach, pancreas, or intestines. Maybe he has diarrhea, parasites, acid reflux, or is experiencing abdominal pain.
  • Obstructions. Your cat may just have as easily ingested something that’s blocking his digestive tract. Lack of appetite and vomiting are indications that he has ingested a foreign body.
  • Dental disease. A toothache or a dental disease is perhaps why your cat is not eating. He may be suffering from gum inflammation, fractured teeth, or dental abscess that’s causing his mouth to hurt.

2. Anxiety

Your cat may be suffering from anxiety or other psychological issues resulting from recent changes in his environment. Anything that is unfamiliar or disrupts his routine is enough to cause anxiety in felines. For example, having been welcomed to a new home is a common reason for a kitten not eating. 


3. Traveling

It’s not uncommon for a cat to not eat as much when he’s traveling with you. Being transported is definitely a disruption of his usual routine, which may cause him to be anxious and lose interest in food. Here are some useful tips if you’re traveling with a cat long distance, and how to make it easier for the both of you.


4. Recent vaccination

If your kitten is not eating, it’s perhaps because you’ve just taken him to the vet for another round of vaccinations. Shots are important for the well-being of your feline friend, but they do come with side effects. But these, however, are normal and usually temporary.

Try These if You Cat is Not Eating

Mixing it up in terms of cat food may be the way to get your cat to eat heartily once again. There are some other things you can try before you take him to the vet.

1. Offer him other food options.

Try giving him food of a different texture or shape in case he’s just gotten a little finicky about his current diet. Some experts recommend switching up brands two to four times a year. If you’re buying a specific brand for health reasons, see if there’s a different flavor.


2. Treat him to some appetite enhancing cat food.

Not many cats can refuse wet commercial cat food. Cats are strict carnivores so food like liver, canned tuna, chicken, or kitten food are very stimulating for the pickiest eaters. Offer in small amounts or add any of these to his regular meal.


3. Heat up his food.

Why is my kitten not eating? Maybe the food is too cold for his taste. Try heating up his meal, especially if you just pulled it out of the fridge. Heat it up in the microwave or mix a little hot water, but make sure the food is not too hot.


4. Add some special ingredients to his meal.

Sprinkle some bonito flakes, special vitamin powder, broth powder, or even parmesan cheese to his food. These should often do the trick.


5. Give him Vitamin B12.

Cats with digestive issues are often lacking in Vitamin B12. Look for over-the-counter Vitamin B12 supplements that can be administered to cats orally. Your vet may also administer it via injection.   


6. Try saline drops for nasal obstructions.

If a mild respiratory disease is causing your cat not eating food, saline drops should help with his congested nasal passages and enable him to breathe more easily and smell his food. A little steam could also help, so you can also try feeding him in a steamy bathroom.


7. Keep his food bowl clean.

Your cat may be turning up his nose on his food because the bowl is unclean! Bacteria can grow from scraps of leftover meat. Make sure that his food bowl is always properly washed. Metal or ceramic food bowls are easier to keep clean.


8. Try a different food bowl.

It’s possible that your cat may be experiencing a so-called “whisker fatigue” which results from irritation when a cat’s whiskers keep brushing against the side of a narrow food bowl while he’s eating. Use a plate or a shallow food bowl and rule out this possibility.

9. Have him checked by the vet.

If none of these methods worked and your cat still refuses to eat for more than a day or two, there’s a chance that your cat is ill and requires medical attention.

Cats are known to be picky eaters, but it’s not difficult to please their palates either. If your cat is not eating for more than a couple of meal times, try changing things up a bit. If it still doesn’t get him to eat, or if he’s showing other worrisome symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, it’s time to take him for a medical checkup.

Should it turn out that he isn’t sick, you may consult with your vet and come up with an ideal dietary regimen for your finicky feline. 


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