My Cat Stopped Eating: What Should I Do?

Your cat’s eating habits will often provide insight into how your kitty is feeling. Fussy eaters will often smell the food first, and then if they are not interested, they will generally walk away or turn their nose up in the air. It may be something as simple as they are tired of tuna, but if your cat shows signs of not feeling well, you need to know what to watch out for and what to do.

Continue reading to learn more about why a cat may stop eating, and what to do about it. If you have any questions, call Festival Animal Clinic in Centennial, CO at (303) 850-9393.

cat not eating in centennial, co

What to do if Your Kitten Will Not Eat?

Your kitten may still be developing their taste buds and learning what they like to eat. Kittens can be challenging to transition into solid foods, and the answer could be something like a switch from one brand of cat food to another or even switch the shape of the kibble to make it more enticing to them to eat.

A cat’s appetite is strongly associated with its sense of smell, so the more they like the smell of the food, the more likely they are to eat it. You should make sure that any wet food you feed your kitten is room temperature. Warming up wet food will make it more inviting to the cat.

What do You do if Your Adult Cat Will Not Eat?

What are the possible reasons why your adult cat is not eating? If your adult cat is not interested in eating (see video), you may need to take a trip to the vet. Any changes that occur should be reported to your veterinarian for further investigation. Some of the more common reasons your cat will not eat include:

Upper respiratory infection

Trouble breathing clearly can cause your cat not to want to eat. It can also clog your cat’s nose and eyes with discharge, and the outcome is a loss or restriction of sight or smell.  

Nasal polyp or tumor is affecting the nose

Any loss of sense of smell can cause your cat not to feel like they want to eat their food. The most commonly experienced symptoms in cats include sneezing, increased respiratory sounds, and nasal congestion.

Dental issues

Cat’s can develop tartar or gingivitis, which can be painful and cause your cat to resist eating their food. Signs to watch out for include bad-smelling breath, drooling, and bleeding from the mouth.

Gastrointestinal issues

Cats that are nauseous will often appear to want their food, but then they refuse to eat and may drool or frequently lick their lips. Other digestive issues include constipation, inflammatory bowel disease, or pancreatitis.

Congestive heart failure

Congestive heart failure can often make your cat tired and uninterested in eating. Medications that are prescribed for heart disease can diminish your cat’s appetite.

Kidney disease

This can cause nausea in cats. This nausea can even lead to weight loss and the overall deterioration of their health.

Stress, anxiety, or depression

If someone close to them dies, such as another pet or a human companion, it can make your kitty feel depressed or anxious. There can also be a conflict with another animal in the household, which can cause extreme anxiety for them.     

What Are Things You Can Try When Your Cat Will Not Eat?

You could try adding something yummy that you know your cat likes with their wet food. This addition could be their treats or dry food that they like. You could try to change up their food, so they do not get bored. Try another brand of food that has the same health benefits your feline is accustomed to.

Keep your cat’s dishes and bowls clean. This habit is imperative for cats who eat canned or raw food because germs can grow in unused food scraps and cause illness. Do not hide medications in your cat’s food. The medicine could be very bitter, and your cat may shy away from that brand or a particular type of food because of it.

How to Recognize When Your Cat Will Not Eat

In a family with more than one cat, it can often be difficult to tell which cat is not eating. This situation is where you must be vigilant. Watch for changes in your cat’s weight, muscle mass, and energy level. Low energy and weight loss are the most evident clues that your cat is not eating. 

Keep in mind is that sometimes your cat will still appear normal or even overweight, but they are not eating. Their body could be digesting its own muscle mass. If your cat is starting to lose muscle mass, this is a sign that something is wrong.

How Long Can a Cat Actually go Without Eating?

A cat can live for up to two weeks without eating, but they still need to drink plenty of water. It is essential to know that your cat obtains most of their water from their food. If your cat has not eaten or had water for more than 24 to 36 hours, you should bring them to the vet.

When a cat does not eat or drink for days, they can lose their energy and nutrition. Once they have eaten, they can go back to being their fun, energetic selves. If worse comes to worst, you can rehydrate your kitty with tuna water. It works in a pinch when your cat does not want to eat food.

The side effects of a dwindling appetite in your cat with weight loss by at least 30 percent are more severe for overweight cats. Once obese cats cannot consume enough calories, they will begin to use their stored fat for energy, leading to the accumulation of fats in the liver.

If the liver cannot remove the excess fatty deposits, this can produce dire consequences.  The most immediate concern, nutrition, and water loss, need to be addressed, and emergency intervention from the vet may be necessary. 

How can I stimulate my cat’s appetite?

You may be able to stimulate your cat’s appetite with natural products. You could try using catnip to make them hungry, as this works on some cats. You could try sprinkling some catnip in the area surrounding your feline’s food bowl to see if that works.

Research has demonstrated that not only does CBD oil work in calming a stressed-out cat, it may also stimulate their appetite as well. Consult your vet if you are considering going this route.

There are also prescription medicines you can try to see if it helps:

Mirtazapine is the most common medicine vets prescribe to get cats to eat. It is an anti-depressant type of medication that has been shown to encourage appetite and weight gain in cats. It can even control nausea. Your vet will likely prescribe a tablet to be given every 72 hours.

Cyproheptadine is an antihistamine that can help arouse your cat’s appetite. It also controls nausea in cats undergoing chemotherapy. It comes in tablets or oral syrup if your cat cannot take pills.

In conclusion, your cat may need help if they lose their appetite. A serious condition can cause changes in appetite, so you need to pay close attention to what is going on with your fur baby. A poor appetite can be anything from them being bored with their food to a health condition. Make sure to try these suggestions and see if your feline companion responds. Remember that you need to contact your vet if your cat does not eat for 24 to 36 hours. Call us at (303) 850-9393.

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