What Can I Do If My Cat Stops Eating?

Cats are considered stubborn and picky – even when it comes to food. That is why it can happen in the course of a cat’s life that the kitty suddenly no longer wants to eat. Sometimes a few tricks help – and sometimes only a visit to the vet.

Does your kitty suddenly refuse her food? This is usually a warning signal for cat owners. In some cases, there is only a picky eating behavior behind it – and then there are some tricks your cat may use to eat its food anyway:

Make Sure That There is No Illness Behind the Refusal to Feed

Visiting the vet is a good idea, especially if your cat is skipping more than one meal. Because if cats don’t eat anything for a few days, it can be fatal for the kitties. Why? We explain this to you in detail at the end of the text.

Warm Up the Cat Food

Do you keep your cat’s food in the refrigerator? Then you should warm it to about body temperature before “serving” it. This will make the smell more attractive to your kitty and hopefully make her want to eat more.

You can put the food in the microwave for a few seconds or stir some warm water into the food if you don’t have a microwave.

Change the Food Brand or Flavor

The heat trick doesn’t work? Then your cat may just not be into the food (anymore). If for a variety of reasons you want to stay true to the brand, you may want to try a different flavor. Or you can try food with similar nutritional and health benefits to your old cat food, but from a different brand.

Keep Drinking and Food Bowls Clean

Cats may find the smell of their food or bowl disgusting. Therefore, it is important to always clean your kitty’s food bowl well and keep it clean. Especially if your cat eats wet or raw food.

A bad smell shows the cat that the food is not safe. If the bowls are not thoroughly clean, there is a risk that bacteria will multiply on the leftover food, which can cause diseases. If you have a plastic bowl for your cat, you should replace it with one made of metal or ceramic – these are easier to clean.

What can also help: try different bowls. Maybe the bowl is just too deep or narrow for your cat. Some cats don’t like this because it restricts their whisker hair.

Even more tricks: To literally make your cat’s food tastier, you can add a little wet food under her dry food, or refine her food with a little low-sodium broth. In consultation with your vet, you can also offer the cat food that you have prepared yourself.

Why Does My Cat Stop Eating?

There can be several causes for your kitty’s loss of appetite. Either she is picky – or there is a serious health cause behind the refusal to feed.

The following circumstances can prevent your cat from eating:

  • Response to a drug;
  • Pains;
  • Stress due to changes in the environment;
  • Attacked immune system;
  • Aversion to food that was forced on the cat during illness;
  • Loss of smell;
  • Development of ulcers in the stomach or intestines;
  • Development of inflammatory bowel disease;
  • Fever;
  • Cancer;
  • Kidney disease;
  • Inflammation of the pancreas;
  • Diabetes.

Does My Cat Have to Go to the Vet When It Stops Eating?

If your cat is skipping multiple meals, be sure to take her to the vet. Because cats also have feline anorexia – when they have little or no appetite – or pseudo-anorexia – when they cannot eat due to illness or injury. This can quickly become life-threatening. Especially if your kitty has not eaten for several days.

Because then hepatic lipidosis – also known as liver lipidosis – can develop in the cat after just a few days. The so-called fatty liver syndrome ensures that the liver can no longer work, which in many cases is fatal for the kitties.

Veterinarians, therefore, recommend observing carefully how long cats have not eaten. If you want to put your overweight cat on a diet, you should definitely discuss this with your veterinarian beforehand. In addition, your cat’s diet should be gradually changed by gradually replacing the old cat food with the new one over a certain period of time.

The most important thing: Cat owners shouldn’t just wait stubbornly until the cat, for example, touches their new food at some point. Instead: Better to play it safe and go to the vet with the kitty!

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.

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