Help! My cat won't eat! What should I do?

If your cat suddenly stops eating you are bound to be concerned. Should you rush your feline friend to the emergency vet clinic or wait until your regular vet is available? Our South Charlotte vets share some common reasons why cats stop eating, and how to tell if it’s time to head to the emergency vet.


Reasons Why Cats May Stop Eating

Cats are famous for their picky eating habits! Countless cat owners have found themselves scanning pet food shelves for new, interesting flavors of cat food to entice their feline friends into eating enthusiastically.

That said, if your cat refuses to eat for more than 24 hours, an underlying health issue may be the culprit.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is common in older cats and may cause your feline friend to feel nauseated, which could lead to a refusal to eat. Other symptoms include drinking lots of water and urinating frequently.

Two forms of kidney disease are common in cats. Only your vet will be able to diagnose and treat this serious disease. If your older cat (over 7 years of age) has stopped eating or is exhibiting other symptoms of kidney disease, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

Dental Issues

Dental issues in pets often lead to severe mouth pain, resulting in a refusal to eat. An injury to your cat's mouth caused by a foreign object, dental abscess, inflamed gums, advanced tooth decay or loose or broken teeth can all cause significant pain that could lead your cat to stop eating.

If you suspect your cat is suffering from mouth pain it's time to head to your vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Your vet can perform a thorough examination and dental cleaning of your cat’s teeth and diagnose any issues that may be causing pain.

Gastrointestinal Problems

As with people, tummy trouble (gastrointestinal, or GI problems) can cause cats to feel nauseated and consequently experience a decline in appetite. Cats suffering from GI issues may display other symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, constipation and weight loss but this isn't always the case.

Common GI issues in cats include:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Colitis
  • Cancer
  • Urinary obstruction
  • Parasites
  • Changes in your cat’s intestinal bacteria
  • A foreign object, such as a piece of plastic or plant, in your cat’s digestive tract

It’s time to see your vet if you notice that your cat is experiencing weight loss, diarrhea, constipation or vomiting in addition to losing her appetite.

GI issues, including the ones listed above, are serious and may warrant emergency care. Getting a diagnosis and early treatment for these health issues is important for your cat’s health, and should be done as early as possible.

Other Possible Causes

Cats may refuse to eat for a number of reasons not directly related to their overall physical health, including:

  • New food
  • Depression/anxiety
  • A shift in normal routines
  • Recent vaccinations
  • Motion sickness due to travel

These issues should only cause your cat to skip two meals at most - no more. If your cat refuses to eat for any longer, it’s time for a visit to the vet.

When to Visit the Vet

If your cat has skipped more than one or two meals, or is exhibiting any behaviors or symptoms you’re concerned about, contact your vet right away, or visit your nearest emergency vet clinic. Call ahead if possible.

Cats can quickly become seriously ill, making early diagnosis and treatment critical to your feline friend’s long-term 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.

Is your cat refusing to eat? Contact us today to book an appointment for your feline friend. Our South Charlotte vets can provide you with an accurate diagnosis of your kitty's condition and provide effective treatments to get your pet back to normal fast.

If your cat is refusing to eat it could be a sign of illness, South Charlotte vet

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