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Why It’s Crucial to Seek Veterinary Care When Your Cat Stops Eating

Cats are known for their finicky eating habits, and its not unusual for them to turn their noses up at certain foods or even to skip a meal or two. However, if your cat stops eating for an extended period, it can be a sign of a more severe issue.

If left untreated, it can have a catastrophic impact on your cats health and even be life-threatening. In this article, well discuss the reasons why cats may stop eating and why it’s crucial to seek veterinary care.

Reasons for a Cat to Stop Eating

Health Issues

A cats refusal to eat can be due to several health issues. One of the most common reasons is an infection.

An infection can create a lack of appetite because of physical discomfort, fever, or general malaise. Kidney failure, cancer, and intestinal issues can also lead to a decrease in appetite.

Upper respiratory diseases can also impact your cats ability to eat as they may experience nasal congestion, making it difficult to smell the food. Hairballs & Foreign Objects

Cats often develop hairballs, which can block their digestive tract and lead to obstructions.

This can cause them to feel uncomfortable, and they may not want to eat. If you have cats that love to play with strings or ribbons, they can accidentally swallow them, leading to obstructions and abdominal pain.

Disrupted Routines

Disruptions in routines can also impact a cats appetite. The introduction of a new vaccine, travel, or a change in surroundings can negatively impact a cat’s eating habits.

If the cat had a vaccine, the injection site could be sore, causing discomfort. Traveling can also cause physical stress due to the cat being in a crate for an extended period.

A change in surroundings can cause anxiety, leading to a decreased appetite.


Cats mood can also affect their eating habits, primarily if they are struggling with anxiety or depression. A cat with anxiety may not want to eat due to the emotional stress they are experiencing.

Depression can also impact cats’ appetite, leading to a decrease in food consumption.

Diet Changes

If you change your cats diet, it may take them some time to adjust to the new taste or texture of the food. A cat may also experience a lack of appetite due to expired food or because of a recall on the brand.

When to Call the Vet

If your cat hasnt been eating, it’s essential to monitor them and watch for signs of imminent danger. Hepatic lipidosis is common in cats that suddenly stop eating and can lead to liver failure.

If you notice your cat has lost weight rapidly or has typically started over-grooming, these could be signs of an underlying issue.

Importance of Seeking Veterinary Care

Consequences of Not Eating

It’s essential to remember that cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they require certain nutrients from their diet to survive. Refusal to eat can lead to reliance on fat stores, which can put a strain on the kidneys.

If your cat stops eating for a prolonged time, they may be susceptible to hepatic lipidosis, which can lead to liver failure.

Reaching Out to the Vet

If your cat has stopped eating for more than a day, it’s time to reach out to your vet. Your vet can help identify the problem and treat it accordingly.

Treatment may involve appetite stimulants or a feeding plan, including syringe-feedings. In some cases, your vet may recommend a feeding tube.

In conclusion, if your cat stops eating, it’s essential to seek veterinary care. There are several reasons why cats stop eating, and some can be life-threatening if not addressed promptly.

If you notice your cat experiencing a lack of appetite, monitor their behavior for any signs of danger. Refusal to eat can cause severe health issues, and your vet can help identify and treat the issue, ensuring your cat returns to their happy and healthy self.

Encouraging a Cat to Eat

If your cat has stopped eating, there are several methods to entice them to eat again. In this section, well cover some ways to encourage your cat to eat and take a proactive approach to their health.

Human Food

One way to interest your cat in eating is by offering them small portions of human food. Cats love liver, cooked chicken, and canned tuna, but it’s essential to use these as a treat and sparingly.

Feeding your cat too much human food can lead to obesity and an imbalance of nutrients.

Reintroducing Kibble or Wet Cat Food

If your cat has stopped eating their kibble or wet food, it’s crucial to reintroduce it slowly. Start by offering small amounts of their usual food and gradually increase how often you offer it.

You can try mixing in some fresh food such as cooked chicken or salmon, but be wary of adding too much variety. If your cat gets too used to fresh or human foods, they may become pickier eaters.

Alternating Food Brands and Types

Offering a variety of foods can also improve your cats eating habits. Some cats are less finicky eaters and won’t mind the change.

For others, they may prefer one brand or type of food over another. By alternating brands and types, your cat may start to show interest in eating again.

Speaking with the Vet

If your cat has been refusing to eat, it’s essential to consult your vet. Your vet can recommend diet changes or a feeding plan, either by instructing you on how to encourage your cat to eat or by prescribing an appetite stimulant.

Your vet may also recommend a specific diet based on any underlying health issues. Ultimately, it’s crucial to remember that cats need certain nutrients to survive.

If your cat is refusing to eat, it’s vital to address the problem as soon as possible. Encouraging your cat to eat again can be frustrating and take time, but with a proactive approach and advice from your vet, your cat can return to their happy and healthy self.

In addition to the methods listed above, there are several other ways to encourage your cat to eat. As always, make sure to consult with your vet before trying any drastic changes to your cat’s diet.

– Warm the food: Cats prefer their food at room temperature or slightly above. Try warming their food for a few seconds in the microwave to release its smell.

– Change the feeding time: If you usually feed your cat in the morning, try feeding them in the evening. Changing your cat’s feeding routine can sometimes trigger their appetite.

– Use flavored broths: Broths are an excellent way to add flavor to your cat’s food. You can either buy them or make them yourself by simmering meat in water.

– Try a puzzle toy: Puzzle toys keep cats entertained while offering food as a reward. This can encourage cats to eat, as it’s both mentally stimulating and rewarding.

– Use pheromone sprays: Pheromone sprays can help reduce stress in cats, which can cause a loss of appetite. You can purchase pheromone sprays at your local pet store.

In conclusion, encouraging your cat to eat requires patience, persistence, and seeking out professional advice. By speaking with your vet, slowly reintroducing kibble or wet food, offering human food, alternating brands and types, and trying new methods, you can help your cat return to their normal eating habits.

Remember, cats require specific nutrients to thrive, so never force-feed your cat or offer them foods that are harmful to their digestive system. This article has emphasized the importance of understanding why a cat may stop eating, the consequences of not eating, and how to encourage your cat to eat.

Health issues, hairballs, disrupted routines, mood, and diet changes are some of the reasons cats may stop eating. It is essential to reach out to a vet when a cat stops eating to identify the problem and receive proper treatment, including a feeding plan, appetite stimulants, or syringe-feedings.

Encouraging a cat to eat involves offering human food, reintroducing kibble or wet food, alternating food brands, and speaking to a professional for advice. Remember, cats require specific nutrients to thrive, so be mindful of their diet and seek professional guidance when needed.

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