Why Won't My Cat Eat

'My cat won't eat. How come?' is a common concern expressed by pet parents to our Austell veterinarians. If your cat refuses to eat, it can be difficult to determine why. Here are a few of the most common reasons why your cat may refuse to eat, and what to do.

Cat Not Eating

If your cat refuses to eat, there are a variety of possible causes, ranging from dislike of their new food to pain or discomfort. Determining why your cat isn't eating can be frustrating and upsetting.

If your cat skips one or two meals but then resumes normal eating, there is probably nothing to worry about. On the other hand, if your cat goes more than a day without eating, there may be an underlying health problem causing your cat discomfort.

Common Reasons Why Your Cat May Not be Eating

The following are some of the less serious reasons why your cat may not eat:

  • New food
  • Recent vaccinations
  • Motion sickness following travel
  • Change in routine
  • Stranger in the house

If any of these conditions apply to your cat, you'll probably notice that he or she will eat again within 24 hours and gradually returns to normal. However, if your cat refuses to eat for more than a day, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. When it comes to your pet's health, it's always better to be safe than sorry.

More Serious Reasons Why Your Cat May Not be Eating

GI Trouble

Parasites, foreign objects trapped in the intestinal tract, gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, urinary obstruction, colitis, cancer, or changes in gut intestinal bacteria are all common gastrointestinal (GI) problems in cats.

Your cat may become nauseous and lose his appetite as a result of GI problems. If your cat has a gastrointestinal problem, it may exhibit other symptoms such as weight loss, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea.

If your cat is displaying signs of a GI problem, it's time to take them to the vet. Gastrointestinal problems are serious and may require emergency treatment. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment are critical.

Eating a foreign object, such as the string from a roast, could also cause GI problems. Foreign object ingestion is a serious health risk for both cats and dogs and should be treated as an emergency. If you suspect your cat has eaten something, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Dental Health Issues

Cats, like humans, can develop tooth decay, periodontal disease, and painful oral infections. Your cat may refuse to eat due to pain caused by advanced tooth decay, inflamed gums, broken or loose teeth, a dental abscess, or a foreign object injury to the inside of their mouth.

If you believe your cat has mouth pain, it is time to contact a veterinarian. Your Austell veterinarian can clean your cat's teeth and conduct an oral examination to rule out any oral health problems. Dental surgery may be necessary if your cat has a broken or severely decayed tooth.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease can make cats feel nauseous and refuse to eat, similar to gastrointestinal problems. If your cat has kidney disease, you may notice other signs, such as excessive water consumption and frequent urination. Cats over seven are more likely to develop kidney disease. Only your veterinarian can diagnose and treat kidney disease.

If your cat has stopped eating and is exhibiting other signs of kidney disease, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.  

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your cat is refusing to eat, call your vet to schedule an appointment. If your cat is sick or has ingested a foreign object like a piece of meat or chicken, contact our vets right away for urgent care.