We understand how you can be worried if your cat has stopped eating suddenly. In this blog, our Bedford vets discuss the possible reasons why your cat may have stopped eating, how to tell if it's an emergency, and when to take your kitty to the vet.
Why Is My Cat Not Eating?
Cats are notoriously picky eaters! Lots of cat owners have had to scan the pet food aisles to discover a new, interesting flavor of kibble or canned food their feline companion will love.
However, if your cat refuses to eat for more than 24 hours, they may have an underlying health condition.
Kidney disease is a condition that's fairly common in elderly cats. It may make your kitty nauseous, which could lead to them refusing to eat. Drinking lots of water and frequent urination are other symptoms your cat may exhibit.
There are two types of kidney disease that are common in cats. Only your vet will be able to diagnose and treat this serious disease. If your older cat (over 7 years of age) has stopped eating or is exhibiting other symptoms of kidney disease, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
Dental problems in cats often cause intense mouth pain, that can lead to your kitty refusing to eat. An injury to your cat's mouth caused by a foreign object, dental abscess, inflamed gums, advanced tooth decay, or loose or broken teeth can all cause severe pain.
If you believe your kitty may be suffering from mouth pain, bring them to your vet as quickly as you can for a diagnosis and treatment. Your vet can perform a thorough examination and dental cleaning of your cat’s teeth and diagnose any issues that may be causing pain.
As with people, gastrointestinal (GI) problems can cause nausea in cats and consequently, experience a drop in their appetite. Cats suffering from GI issues will often (but not always) display other symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, and weight loss.
Common GI issues in cats include:
- Urinary obstruction
- Changes in your cat’s intestinal bacteria
- A foreign object, such as a piece of plastic or plant, in your cat’s digestive tract
You have to visit your vet if your cat is exhibiting constipation, weight loss, diarrhea, or vomiting in combination with their lack of appetite.
Gastrointestinal issues, including the ones listed above, are serious and might require emergency care. Getting a diagnosis and early treatment for these GI issues is important for your cat’s health and should be done as early as possible.
Other Potential Causes
Cats may refuse to eat for a number of reasons not directly related to their overall physical health, including:
- New food
- A shift in normal routines
- Recent vaccinations
- Motion sickness from travel
The problems above should only make your cat skip a maximum of one or two meals- no more. If your kitty is refusing to eat any longer than this, it’s essential to contact your vet to schedule an appointment.
My Cat is Refusing to Eat, When Should I Call a Vet?
If your cat has skipped more than two meals or is displaying any worrying behaviors or symptoms call your vet immediately, or bring your kitty to the closest emergency vet clinic. Call ahead if possible.
Cats can get seriously ill quickly, making early diagnosis and treatment essential to the long-term health of your feline friend.
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.