Cat Health: Not Eating

A kitty checkup.

When discussing cat health, not eating is a very serious condition that needs to be monitored closely. Cats will occasionally be fussy when it comes to eating a meal, but when a feline is off her feed for more than two meals, it is time to consider possible health problems.

Common Reasons Cats Stop Eating

A cat may stop eating for a variety of reasons. It can be as simple as feeling bored with the same diet, or as serious as a bowel obstruction. When owner's pay attention to their pets each day, they will be accustomed to their pets' eating habits, as well as the occasional ignoring of the food bowl. The following are some of the common reasons your pet may stop eating.

Food Issues

There are several issues that are directly related to cat food. The following may provide some insight as to why your pet avoids eating.

Food is Old or Stale

Cats are much like humans in that they enjoy food that tastes good. They know when things taste bad and will refuse to eat food that has become stale. Food can become stale when it is stored in a warm or humid environment more quickly than food stored in a cool, dry area. If you live in a humid climate, store the food in a cool area or buy smaller amounts of food at a time to avoid spoilage.

Food Is Too Cold

Cats prefer food that is warm or at the very least, room temperature. If your cat is refusing canned cat food that has been kept in the refrigerator, allow it to come to room temperature before offering it to your pet.

Boredom with Food Brand

Would you enjoy eating the same thing day in and day out? Your cat doesn't like eating the same thing at mealtime each day either. Variety is the spice of life, both for humans and felines. Tempt your cat's palate by offering her a variety of foods; if you do, your cat's appetite is likely to return quickly.

Food Bowl Problems

Cats can avoid their food if there is a problem with their food bowl. There are several problems that can cause a cat to avoid eating from her bowl:

  • An allergy to the plastic the bowl is made from
  • Receiving an electric charge from a metal bowl
  • Dirty bowls
  • The presence of other pets

Some cats simply won't eat when another cat or pet is present. When this happens, feed them in a separate area away from traffic and other animals.

Another Food Source

If your animal is allowed outside, she may have found another food source. Cats will eat a variety of wildlife if they are allowed outdoors. Popular food sources include birds, mice, moles, voles, baby rabbits, grasshoppers and even snakes. It all depends on what is available where you live and how adventurous your pet is.

When your pet lives in a suburban area, she may also eat at a neighbor's home, especially if they feed their pet outdoors. While you have little control over this, it may be the reason your pet refuses food at home.

Dental Problems

Dental problems can cause a cat to stop eating, and they can occur virtually overnight. The following are dental problems that would cause your cat to stop eating:

  • Abscessed tooth
  • Mouth sore
  • Loose tooth
  • Sores on the lips
  • Inflamed gums

Most dental problems will cause your pet to have very bad breath. If you notice this particular symptom, take your cat to the vet right away.

Medical Problems

When a cat refuses to eat and it seems unrelated to food or a dental problem, there can be many underlying medical reasons for avoiding food. A cat that is truly ill will not be interested in eating. Other symptoms that may accompany an ill cat aside from avoiding eating include:

  • Lethargy
  • Yowling when trying to have a bowel movement or urinating
  • Sitting in a "hunched-up" manner
  • Doesn't want to be held
  • Inability to comfort the animal when it normally would be purring
  • A normally pleasant animal hissing when you attempt to move her

If your pet is experiencing any of the problems noted above or hasn't eaten for 24 hours, call your vet for assistance. Cat health not eating issues can sometimes lead to death because cats and kittens can quickly become dehydrated due to their small size. When in doubt, it is always best to err on the side of caution and make an appointment to see your vet as soon as possible. It is always better to take a pet to the vet for a proper diagnosis than to let her suffer while hoping the situation will correct itself.

Cat Health: Not Eating