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Why won't my cat eat? Should I be worried?

Why won't my cat eat? Should I be worried?

When your cat suddenly stops eating, it can be hard to sort out why and whether or not your feline companion needs to take a trip to the vet. Here, our Avon vets explain some of the most common reasons why cats will stop eating and how to judge whether or not their behavior is stubbornness or an emergency.

Why has my cat stopped eating?

Cat's can be well-known picky eaters. Many cat owners will find themselves scanning their pet food for new and interesting flavors of kibbel or canned food in an effort to coax their pet to eat with enthusiasm. That being said, if your cat is refusing to eat for more than 24 hours, there may be some underlying issues at play. 

Gastrointestinal Issues

Just like people, cats can experience gastrointestinal issues that may cause them to feel nauseous or reduce their appetite. Cats that are suffering from GI issues may (but not always) show other syjpmtoms like weight loss, constipation or diarrhea. 

Common GI problems in cats include:
  • Colitis 
  • Foreign object, such as string, your cat's digestive tract
  • Pancreatitis 
  • Cancer
  • Parasites
  • Gastroenteritis 
  • Urinary obstruction
  • Changes in your cat's intestinal bacteria

If your cat is losing weight, vomiting, experiencing diarrhea or constipation as well as refusing to eat, it's time to see your vet. Gastrointestinal problems such as those listed above are serious and may require emergency care. It's important for your cat's health that GI issues be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

Dental Issues

There are a whole host of dental issues that may be causing your cat some mouth pain and lead to their reluctance to eat. A dental abscess, injury to their mouth, inflamed gums, broken or loose tooth or even advanced periodontal disease may cause your cat to abstain from eating because of pain or discomfort. 

If you suspect that your cat is experiencing mouth pain see your vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Your vet can do a thorough cleaning of your cat's teeth and look for any dental issues that may be causing your cat pain.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is relatively commonly found in older cats. As with gastrointestinal issues, kidney disease causes nausea, whihc can lead cats to refuse to eat. Other symptoms of kidney disease in cats includes urination and drinking lots of water. Two forms of this diseas ecan be common in cats, but onyl your vet will be able to diagnose and start treatment for this condition. If your cat has stopped eating, is over 7 years of age, or is displaying other symptoms of kidney disease, see your vet as soon as possible.

Other Possible Causes

Cats may refuse to eat for a range reasons not directly related to their overall health, including:
  • New person in the house
  • Recently receiving vaccinations
  • New food 
  • Motion sickness due to travel
  • Change in regular routines
  • Anxiety / Depression

Issues such as those listed above should only cause your cat to skip one or two meals, no more. If your cat refuses to eat for longer it's time to see a vet.

If my cat won't eat, when should I see a vet?

If your cat has refused more than one or two meals, or is experiencing any symptoms or behaviors that you are concerned about, come to our emergency vet office in Cordova right away. Call us ahead if you can. Cats can become seriously ill quickly, so early diagnosis and treatment is key to your cat's longterm health. 

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.

Has your cat recently begun refusing to eat, or noticeably lost their appetite? Contact Animal General as soon as possible to book an appointment. Our vets are well-versed in issues in cats that could be causing your feline friend to lose their appetite.

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We are always happy to see patients at our animal hospital! Get in touch today to get started. 

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