It's troubling when your cat refuses to eat and difficult to know if a trip to the vet is called for. Today our Collingwood vets at Blue Mountain Veterinary Services share some common reasons why cats sometimes stop eating, and how to tell if your cat’s refusal to eat requires veterinary attention.
Why won't my cat eat?
Cats are famously picky eaters, a frustrating fact that leaves many cat owners searching their local pet food stores in search of new flavours that will entice their kitty to dig in.
That said, if your cat has gone 24 hours or more without eating, an underlying health issue - rather than finicky behaviour - may be at the root of the problem. Below are a few of the most common reasons why cats stop eating.
Just like humans, cats can suffer gastrointestinal (GI) problems that can cause them to feel nauseated and lose their appetite. Often, though not always, cats suffering from GI issues will display other symptoms such as weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation.
Common GI issues in cats include:
- A foreign object has been ingested and become lodged in your cat’s digestive tract
- Changes in your cat’s intestinal bacteria
- Urinary obstructions
If you notice that your cat is experiencing weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation along with a reduced appetite, it’s time to call your veterinarian.
Gastrointestinal issues such as the ones listed above are serious and require veterinary care. Having these issues diagnosed and treated early is critical to your cat’s health.
For senior cats over 7 years of age, this is a relatively common condition that may cause your feline friend to feel nauseated, resulting in a refusal to eat. Other symptoms of kidney disease include drinking an excessive amount of water or urinating frequently.
Kidney disease can take one of two forms in cats. Your vet will be able to diagnose your pet and develop a treatment plan for this serious illness. If your senior cat is displaying symptoms beyond a pause in eating, book an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
Dental issues are another common cause of cats refusing to eat. There are a range of dental issues that could cause your cat's mouth to become painful and prevent your cat from eating such as:
- Inflamed gums
- Loose or broken teeth
- Dental abscess
- Mouth injury
- Foreign object caught their mouth
- Advanced tooth decay
If you suspect your cat may be suffering from mouth pain, contact your vet as soon as possible to book an appointment for your feline friend.
Your veterinarian can perform a thorough dental cleaning before diagnosing and addressing any issues that may be causing your cat's mouth pain.
Other Potential Causes
Cats can stop eating for numerous reasons not directly related to their general physical health, including:
- Depression or anxiety
- Recent vaccinations
- Motion sickness due to travel
- New food
- Change in normal routines
Any of these issues should not cause your cat to refuse more than one or two meals. If your cat won’t eat for any longer than this, it’s time to book an appointment with a veterinarian.
What should I do if my cat won't eat?
If your cat has skipped more than one or two meals or is exhibiting any behaviours or symptoms that are causing you concern, contact us to schedule an appointment.
Because cats can become severely ill quickly, your kitty’s long-term health may depend on early detection, diagnosis and treatment.
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.