8 Reasons Why Your Cat Is Not Eating

by johnsmith

Reasons Why Your Cat Is Not Eating – Has your cat suddenly stopped eating? This can be a warning sign that something is wrong. Your cat not eating is usually not due to a picky eater but rather an underlying health problem. Although you can take some steps to help your cat recover its appetite at home, sometimes, it may require veterinary care.

Reasons Why Your Cat Is Not Eating

Reasons Why Your Cat Is Not Eating

Why It’s Critical If Your Cat Refuses to Eat

When you observe a loss of appetite in your cat, there may be an underlying issue causing it. The cat might have swallowed something in the stomach or intestines, or they may be suffering from a disease or infection. Sometimes, a cat may experience discomfort or pain that can make them skip meals. Whatever the issue, not eating food can lead to fatalities in cats, especially if they are overweight.

Reasons Why Your Cat Is Not Eating

An overweight cat that stops eating can easily develop hepatic lipidosis, which is also known as fatty liver disease, which can be life-threatening if left untreated. This disease means the liver is overburdened trying to convert fat into energy that results in an excess of fat depositing in the liver, causing impaired liver function. A malfunctioning liver can cause weakness, lethargy, and jaundice, so it is crucial to seek veterinarian care immediately.

Health Issues That Can Cause a Cat to Stop Eating

Respiratory Diseases

Upper respiratory diseases could result in the cat’s temporary loss of smell and sight, leading to reduced appetite. Bacterial, viral infections or cancer could cause respiratory problems such as clogging the cat’s nose and eyes with discharge that can make it difficult to breathe.

Digestive System Diseases

Digestive issues, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea in cats are often attributed to problems with the intestines, stomach, pancreas, or other digestive system parts. A digestive problem is usually the first indication of the cat’s reduced appetite. Digestive problems can range from tumors, acid reflux, intestinal bacterial imbalance, parasites, irritable bowel diseases, and other issues.

Foreign Bodies

Some cats tend to eat inappropriate objects like hairballs or things they shouldn’t, which can get lodged in their gastrointestinal tracts causing gastrointestinal obstructions. GI obstruction doesn’t allow food to pass through the digestive tract, leading to vomiting and loss of appetite. While some foreign bodies may clear on their own, others may require surgical removal.

Dental Issues

Like humans, dental problems can cause pain and make your cat uncomfortable. Some dental issues in cats include inflamed gums, fractured teeth, dental abscesses, or resorptive lesions, among others. Dental problems may be hard to detect, and your vet may require anesthesia or sedation to diagnose and treat them.

Food Issues That Can Cause a Cat to Stop Eating

Food Flavor

Cats are creatures of habit, and they may reject a new flavor or type of food they are not familiar with. A food manufacturer’s change in ingredients or flavor can also cause your cat to stop eating.

Reasons Why Your Cat Is Not Eating

Food Shape or Texture

Some cats can be particular about their food shape or texture. They may prefer crunchy food to wet food or have a preference for specific shapes or textures.

Food Spoilage

Expired or spoiled food can cause your cat to stop eating. Be sure to check the expiration date on your cat’s food, and if it smells rancid, throw it away.


Dry cat food can become stale or rancid, causing eroded vitamins and fats if not appropriately stored. Keep your pet’s food in the original bag to maintain freshness, as the bag may have a unique barrier. Store the bag in a sealed container and place it in a moisture-free, cool environment for optimal freshness.

How to Encourage Your Cat to Eat

If your cat dislikes its usual food, check to see if there is a recall on your cat’s food. Keeping the original packaging can help you check the bar code for any recalls, and they usually come with the expiration date of the food. If you see any recalls or issues, do not feed this food to your cat.

Reasons Why Your Cat Is Not Eating

Always seek veterinarian care to diagnose any underlying medical conditions. Depending on the diagnosis, there are a few ways to encourage your cat to eat again:

  • If an upper respiratory disease causes stuffy nasal passages and an inability to smell, your vet may recommend at-home treatment like saline drops or steamy baths to help break up the nasal discharge.
  • Experiment with different flavors, shapes, or textures of food to determine what appeals to your cat.
  • If all else fails, considering feeding your cat homemade cat food recipes with fresh ingredients, always consult with your vet to incorporate essential nutrients.
  • If your cat’s favorite food’s flavor or formula has changed, you may need to find a new food that your cat will prefer.


If your cat has digestive issues, B12 vitamins may increase its appetite. There are cat-specific oral and injection forms available, so consult with your vet before administering any supplements.

If you suspect your cat is sick, contact your veterinarian immediately. For information about your cat’s health, always speak to your veterinarian, who knows your cat’s medical history and can make the best recommendations for your pet.

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