Why won't my cat eat?

Cats can be extremely fussy eaters, so if your cat is refusing to eat it may be challenging to find out why. Today, our Lethbridge vets list a few common reasons your cat may not be eating, and when you should see your vet. 

Why is my cat refusing to eat?

A cat may refuse to eat for many reasons, from disliking a certain food to being in pain or feeling uncomfortable. Finding your cat's specific reason for not eating can quickly become a frustrating experience. 

If your feline friend skips one or two meals but then returns to eating normally, you probably don't have reason to worry. However, if your cat or kitten stops eating for more than a day, he or she may be experiencing an underlying health problem and should be examined by a vet. 

Less Serious Reasons Your Cat May Not Be Eating

Here are some less serious reasons why your cat may be experiencing a decreased appetite:

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

If any of these apply to your cat's circumstances, you'll likely see your cat start to eat again within 24 hours, and they will gradually get back to their normal eating routine. That said, if your kitty refuses to eat for more than a day, we recommend booking an appointment with your vet. When considering your pet's health, we always advocate being cautious.

More Serious Reasons Your Cat May Not Be Eating

Whether your cat has a dental health issue, a problem with their internal systems or something else, our vets in Lethbridge can perform tests to diagnose the problem and create a custom treatment plan for your cat.

Dental Health Issues

Like people, cats can suffer from tooth decay and various mouth infections. Your cat may be refusing to eat due to pain caused by advanced tooth decay, inflamed gums, broken or loose teeth, a dental abscess, or an injury to the inside of their mouth caused by a foreign object.

If you believe that your cat is suffering from mouth pain it's time to call the vet. Your vet can clean your cat's teeth and do a thorough examination of your cat's mouth to check for any oral health problems.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Common gastrointestinal (GI) problems in cats include: parasites, foreign objects trapped in the intestinal tract, gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, urinary obstruction, colitis, cancer or changes in gut intestinal bacteria.

GI issues can cause cats to feel nauseated and experience a lack of appetite. If your cat is suffering from a gastrointestinal issue they may show other symptoms such as weight loss, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea.

If your cat is showing signs of a GI issue, it's time to see your vet. Gastrointestinal problems such as those listed above are serious and may require emergency care. Early diagnosis and treatment are key.

Kidney Disease

Much like gastrointestinal issues, kidney disease can make cats feel nauseated and refuse to eat. If your cat is suffering from kidney disease you may notice other symptoms such as drinking large amounts of water and frequent urination. Kidney disease is relatively common in cats over seven years of age.

Kidney disease can only be diagnosed and treated by your vet. If your cat has stopped eating and is showing other symptoms of kidney disease, contact your Lethbridge vet to book an appointment.

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.

Are you concerned about your cat's lack of appetite? Contact our veterinary hospital to book an exam right away.

(403) 328-0028