Cat Goes on Strike While Eating

The feed is not touched, even the treat is spurned. What now? We explain what can be behind a loss of appetite, how to encourage cats to eat and why fasting is so dangerous for them.

Loss of appetite in cats can have many different causes and should not be taken lightly.

This is Why Fasting is So Dangerous for Cats

Food refusal can quickly end badly for cats: In times of scarce food supply, the body draws the energy to survive from its fat reserves. However, before stored fat can be used for fuel, the liver must mobilize these fat stores. This step requires an adequate supply of proteins.

When a cat stops eating, the protein stores are quickly depleted and the liver is overwhelmed with breaking down the fats. As a result, fats are stored in the liver: what is known as hepatic lipidosis occurs, which in the worst case leads to liver failure.

Causes of Loss of Appetite in Cats

Loss of appetite (anorexia) can be due to either an organic disease or a psychological cause.

If a cat refuses any food, it should definitely be taken to a veterinarian.
The vet will not only assess the general condition of the cat but also check the teeth, the gastrointestinal tract, the cardiovascular system, and internal organs such as the liver, kidneys, and pancreas.

It is important that you also think about possible psychological causes and report them to the veterinarian. These include, for example, a recent change of food, changes in the home furnishings or stress from new conspecifics or people.

Checklist: Is the Trigger at the Feeding Place?

It is important to avoid any stress during feeding. Rule number one is, therefore: No compulsion! Feeding must be as stress-free and comfortable as possible. Ask yourself the following questions about the feeding place:

  • Is the bowl in a frequently used place? – If it is restless there, cats quickly feel stressed.
  • Is the bowl itself not suitable for cats because it is too deep or too small or has it been cleaned with an aggressive cleaning agent? – Make sure you choose a bowl that cats won’t bump their whiskers on while eating, and only clean bowls with boiling water and no scented dish soap.
  • Does your cat have to share the feeding place with a fellow cat? – Keep in mind that cats naturally hunt alone and consume their prey alone. Therefore, in a multi-cat household, each cat should have its own feeding place, possibly even with a privacy screen to avoid eye contact with other cats.
  • Do you combine feeding with the direct administration of medication? – This can be uncomfortable for some cats.

Checklist: Is the Trigger the Feed?

If the feeding place is okay, you can examine the feed itself.

From a cat’s point of view, consistency, taste, and smell are particularly important. If the pieces of dry food are too big or the wet food is too sticky, some cats prefer to back off. Feed that is too small or ground into powder is rarely accepted.

Since the sense of smell decreases with age or can also be impaired by illnesses such as cat flu, slightly warming up the food can improve acceptance. This intensifies the smell. In principle, the food should always be fed at body temperature.

Affection or Attention Eating in Cats

With so-called affection or attention eating, the cat only eats when it gets the positive attention of its owner. Cats who have lost their familiar homes and/or loved ones or who have had to endure a serious illness are often affected. They are encouraged to eat by human affection (e.g., soothing coaxing).

Cat is Losing Weight What to Do

In underweight cats, the ribs and pelvic bones are clearly visible. When palpating the chest and abdomen, the layer of fat is missing, and the waist is clearly visible. If the cat behaves normally despite the elf figure, you should discuss its weight at the next veterinary check-up visit.

If the cat loses a lot of weight in a short time, hurry is required – rapid weight loss can be an indication of an illness. Special food is suitable for feeding, which is mostly used for convalescence after operations or illnesses. Otherwise, vitamin supplements or beef fat powder mixed in with your favorite wet food can support weight gain.

Don’t be afraid to consult a veterinarian if your cat refuses its food for a long time or shows signs of pain (hissing at the bowl, overcautious “lifting out” of the food, one-sided chewing, etc.) when eating. The “typical feline quirk” that we like to accuse our velvet paws of in such cases is unfortunately all too often an unrecognized organic disease or a disturbance of the mental balance.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *