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Why won't my cat eat?

Our Little Rock vets know that cats can be notoriously picky eaters, so if your cat is refusing to eat it can be difficult to know why. Here are a few reasons why your cat may not be eating, and when you should head to your vet. 

Cat Not Eating

There are a number of reasons why cats refuse to eat ranging from disliking their new food to pain or discomfort. Figuring out your cat's reason for not eating can be challenging and upsetting.

There probably isn't anything to worry about if your cat skips one or two meals and then resumes eating normally. However, if your cat or kitten stops eating for more than a day, there may be an underlying medical condition that is making your cat uncomfortable.

Less Concerning 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 circumstances hold true for your cat, you can expect to see a gradual return to normalcy and the beginning of eating within 24 hours. It might be a good idea to make an appointment with your veterinarian if your cat refuses food for more than a day. You should always err on the side of caution when it comes to your pet's health.

More Serious Reasons Why Your Cat May Not be Eating

GI Trouble

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

Cats who are experiencing GI problems may feel sick to their stomachs and not be as hungry as usual. Other symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, or weight loss, may also appear in your cat if they have a gastrointestinal problem.

You should take your cat to the vet if they notice symptoms of a GI problem. The importance of early diagnosis and treatment for serious gastrointestinal conditions like those mentioned above necessitates the use of emergency care.

Dental Health Issues

Cats, like humans, can suffer from tooth decay and various mouth infections. Your cat may refuse to eat because they are in pain from 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 suspect your cat is experiencing mouth pain, contact your veterinarian immediately. Your Memphis veterinarian can clean your cat's teeth and perform a thorough examination of your cat's mouth to rule out any oral health issues.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease, like gastrointestinal problems, can cause cats to feel nauseous and refuse to eat. If your cat has kidney disease, you may notice other symptoms such as excessive drinking and frequent urination. Kidney disease is fairly common in cats over the age of seven years.

Kidney disease can only be diagnosed and treated by your vet. If your cat has stopped eating and is showing other symptoms of kidney disease contact your Little Rock 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 you are worried about your cat's refusal to eat, contact our Little Rock vets today to book an examination for your feline friend. 

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Bowman Road Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Little Rock companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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