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Why is my cat not eating?

'Why won't my cat eat?' is a common question our Orange County vets hear from concerned pet parents. If your cat is refusing to eat it can be difficult to figure out why but here are a few of the most common reasons why your cat may not be eating, and what to do. 

Cat Not Eating

If your cat won't eat there are a number of things that could be at the root of the issue, ranging from disliking their new food to pain or discomfort. Figuring out your cat's reason for not eating can be challenging and upsetting.

If your feline friend skips one or two meals but then goes back to eating as normal, there likely isn't anything to worry about. On the other hand, if your kitty stops eating for more than a day there could be an underlying health issue causing your cat discomfort.

Common Reasons Why Your Cat May Not be Eating

The following are some of the less serious reasons why your cat may be suffering from a lack of appetite:

  • New food
  • Recent vaccinations
  • Motion sickness following travel
  • Change in regular routine
  • Stranger in the house

If any of these conditions apply in your cat's situation, you will likely find that your feline friend begins eating again within 24 hours, and will gradually return to normal. That said, if your kitty refuses food for more than a day it's a good idea to book an appointment with your vet. When it comes to pet health, it's always better to err on the side of caution.

More Serious Reasons Why Your Cat May Not be Eating

GI Trouble

Common gastrointestinal (GI) problems in cats can include: parasites, foreign objects trapped in the intestinal tract, gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, urinary obstruction, colitis, cancer or changes in gut intestinal bacteria.

GI issues can cause your kitty to feel nauseous and experience a lack of appetite. If your cat is suffering from a gastrointestinal issue they may show other symptoms such as weight loss, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea. 

If your cat is showing signs of a GI issue, it's time to see your vet. Gastrointestinal problems such as those listed above are serious and may require emergency care, early diagnosis and treatment are key.

GI issues could also be caused by the ingestion of a foreign object such as the string off of a tasty roast. Ingestions of foreign objects are a very serious health risk for both cats and dogs and should be treated as an emergency situtation. If you know that your cat has eaten something they shouldn't call your vet right away for further instructions!

Dental Health Issues

Like people, cats can suffer from tooth decay, periodontal disease and painful mouth infections. Your cat may be refusing to eat due to pain caused by advanced tooth decay, inflamed gums, broken or loose teeth, a dental abscess, or an injury to the inside of their mouth caused by a foreign object.

If you believe that your cat is suffering from mouth pain it's time to call the vet. Your Orange County vet can clean your cat's teeth and do a thorough examination of your cat's mouth to check for any oral health problems. If your cat has a broken or severely decayed tooth dental surgery may be required. 

Kidney Disease

Much like gastrointestinal issues, kidney disease can make cats feel nauseous and refuse to eat. If your cat is suffering from kidney disease you may notice other symptoms such as drinking large amounts of water and frequent urination. Kidney disease is relatively common in cats over seven years of age. Kidney disease can only be diagnosed and treated by your veterinarian.

If your cat has stopped eating and is showing other symptoms of kidney disease contact your vet to book an appointment.  

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.

If your cat is refusing to eat and you don't know why contact your vet to book an examination. If your cat is showing signs of severe illness or has ingested a foreign object such as the string off of a piece of meat or chicken, contact our emergency vets right away for urgent care.

New Patients Welcome

Veterinary Medical And Surgical Group–OC (VMSG-OC) accepts new clients to our specialty services and 24/7 emergency services.

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Contact (949) 201-4100