my cat is not eating

A cat that decides to stop eating all of a sudden frequently indicates a more serious issue. Usually, it’s not because a cat has lost interest in a particular treat. You should take action if your cat isn’t eating, has missed several meals, or has gone several days without food. There may be home remedies you can try to encourage your cat to eat again, but sometimes veterinary help is required.

Health Issues That Cause a Cat to Stop Eating

Respiratory Diseases

The ability to breathe or your cat’s sense of smell may be affected by respiratory issues, which can cause your cat to lose appetite. Your cat may experience a temporary loss or restriction of sight or smell due to upper respiratory illnesses that cause discharge to clog its nose and eyes. Diseases of the lower respiratory tract may affect your cat’s lungs, making it difficult for it to breathe. These respiratory problems could be simple bacterial or viral infections that only need simple treatment, or they could be as complex as cancer. No matter how severe the respiratory problem is, if the illness prevents your cat from being able to smell or breathe easily, it may decide it doesn’t want to eat.

Digestive system diseases

Your cat may stop eating if there are issues with its stomach, intestines, pancreas, or other digestive system components. Along with digestive problems, your cat may also vomit, have diarrhea, or experience abdominal pain. But typically, one of the first indications of a digestive system issue will be a decrease in appetite. Problems can include acid reflux, tumors, an unbalanced bacterial population in the intestines, parasites, irritable bowel syndrome, and other things.

Foreign Bodies

Some cats enjoy eating things they shouldn’t, and some even swallow hairballs, which can all result in them getting stuck in the stomach or intestines. A gastrointestinal obstruction, also known as a GI obstruction, is a foreign body that has become lodged in the digestive system of your cat. Your cat may vomit and most likely stop eating if there is a GI obstruction, which prevents food from passing through the digestive tract. While some foreign bodies can pass through your cat’s system and cause GI upset or temporary loss of appetite, others might need to be surgically removed.

Dental Disease

Your cat may stop eating if their teeth or gums are infected or painful. Cats can experience a variety of dental problems that result in mouth pain, including tooth fractures, resorptive lesions on the teeth, gum inflammation, dental abscesses, and more. Your cat might not want to eat if its mouth hurts, just like people do. However, a cat’s dental problems might be challenging to identify, so your veterinarian might need to sedate or anesthetize your pet to assess the issue.

Food Issues That Cause a Cat to Stop Eating

Your cat is not eating because it doesn’t like its food.

Cats are sometimes picky. A cat may consume one flavor of the same brand but, out of preference, completely reject a different flavor. If food producers alter flavors and ingredients without clearly labeling the packaging, your cat might notice and reject the food all of a sudden.

When it comes to food, your cat may be sensitive to particular shapes and textures. Some cats prefer triangle shapes, while others prefer rounded shapes, and still others will only eat canned or crunchy dry food.

Your cat is not eating because their food has gone bad.

It’s possible that your cat won’t want to eat food that has gone bad or has passed its expiration date. Check the food’s use-by date. You could also at least give it a whiff to see if it smells rancid. We’ve created a guide to how long cat food lasts for your reference.

Over time, dry cat food can spoil or become rancid. The vitamins and fats in the food may deteriorate if it is not properly stored. Food should always be kept in the packaging it came in. The food may remain fresher for longer thanks to a unique barrier inside the bag. To keep the food as fresh as possible, place the original bag in a sealed container and keep it in a cool, dry area.

How to Get Your Cat to Eat

Check to see if there is a recall on that specific food if your cat has stopped eating its regular food. Another compelling argument in favor of keeping dry cat food in the original bag is the ability to scan the bar code. A cat may occasionally refuse to eat its food if it detects a problem with it. You might be able to get your cat to resume eating, depending on the cause of the dietary change. It’s not typical for cats to stop eating, even if their food hasn’t changed, so a visit to your veterinarian is advised to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

  • Your veterinarian might suggest an at-home remedy to help clear your cat’s nasal passages if an upper respiratory illness has left it congested and unable to smell its food. This might entail nebulizing your cat in a humid bathroom or giving it saline nasal drops. By allowing your cat to breathe easily and break up the nasal discharge, it will be able to smell its food once more.
  • To get your cat to eat again, make adjustments to its wet food. Try giving tuna or cold wet cat food a quick microwave heating. Alternatively, you could pique your cat’s interest by giving it canned chicken, tuna, or kitten food.
  • Try different flavors, textures, or shapes of cat food to see what your cat likes.
  • Make your own homemade cat food. The fresher ingredients in a homemade recipe might be more appealing to your cat. Before introducing a home-cooked diet, be sure to speak with your veterinarian to make sure it is properly prepared and contains all the necessary nutrients.
  • Check to see if the formula or ingredients of the food your cat has always eaten have recently changed. “New and improved flavor” may be listed as the information on the packaging. or ask the food manufacturer directly. It’s possible that your cat will need a new favorite food.

Why It’s a Problem If Your Cat Stops Eating

Although your cat may not enjoy the food you are giving it, a lack of appetite is frequently a sign of a deeper problem. If your cat has something stuck in its stomach or intestines, isn’t feeling well due to an underlying illness, or has an infection, it may stop eating. Alternatively, your cat might not enjoy the food you’re providing. A lack of appetite in your cat may also be a sign of pain or discomfort. Whatever the cause, it’s extremely concerning if your cat stops eating.

If your cat is overweight and has stopped eating, a few days without food won’t take long for it to develop hepatic lipidosis. If left untreated, this condition, also known as fatty liver disease or fatty liver syndrome, can be fatal. 1 This is the main justification for why it’s crucial to ensure that your cat continues to eat, especially if it’s overweight. When a person has fatty liver disease, their liver struggles to break down fat for energy. The liver becomes overloaded with fat, which impairs liver function. Without prompt treatment from your veterinarian, your cat may experience weakness, lethargy, and jaundice because the liver is such a vital organ.