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My cat won't eat. Is this an emergency?

My cat won't eat. Is this an emergency?

All cats have different eating habits just like people. But what happens when they seem to stop eating completely? Our Bedford vets talk about reasons why your cat won't eat and when you should seek emergency veterinary care.

My Cat Won't Eat

Cats can be some of the pickiest eaters out there which can drive any cat owner crazy! The result is usually an abundance of different types of cat food in the cupboard that your cat may or may not ever eat.

Even so, if you are standing there wondering 'Why won't my cat eat?' after 24 hours then it is time to reach out to your veterinarian for emergency care.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Cats can often become plagued by gastrointestinal issues which may leave them feeling nauseous or unwell. Often, though not always, cats suffering from GI issues will display other symptoms such as weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation.

Some of the GI issues that typically affect cats include:

  • A foreign object, such as a piece of plastic or plant, in your cat’s digestive tract
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cancer
  • Parasites
  • Colitis
  • Urinary obstructions
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Changes in your cat’s intestinal bacteria

If you notice that your cat is experiencing weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation along with a reduced appetite, it’s time to call the vet.

Gastrointestinal issues such as the ones listed here are serious and your cat may need emergency care. Having these issues diagnosed and treated early on is critical to your cat’s health.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is a condition that can commonly affect cats that are older and may also lead to a decrease in appetite. If your cat is suffering from this condition you may also notice them drinking excessively and urinating frequently.

Kidney disease can take one of two forms in cats. Your vet will be able to diagnose your pet and develop a treatment plan for this serious illness. If your senior cat (older than 7 years of age) is displaying symptoms beyond a pause in eating, book an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

Dental Issues

If dental issues are bothering her, this can cause your cat to experience pain in her mouth and lead to refusal to eat. Inflamed gums, loose or broken teeth, a dental abscess, an injury or foreign object in their mouth, advanced tooth decay or other issues can cause significant pain, prompting them to stop eating.

If your cats appear to be showing signs of dental discomfort you should contact your vet right away to schedule your cat in for a dental examination.

Your vet will examine your cat, then perform a thorough dental cleaning of your four-legged friend’s teeth before diagnosing and addressing any issues that may be causing pain.

Other Potential Causes Behind Your Cat Not Eating

Some of the other reasons for your cat not eating that are not related to illness include:

  • Depression or anxiety
  • Recent vaccinations
  • Motion sickness due to travel
  • New food
  • Change in normal routines

Any of these issues should not cause your cat to refuse more than one or two meals. If your cat won’t eat for any longer than this, it’s time to book an appointment with a veterinarian.

When to Seek Veterinary Care For a Cat Not Eating

If your cat has skipped more than one or two meals or is exhibiting any behaviors or symptoms that are causing you concern, contact a vet to schedule an appointment.

Because cats can get severely sick quickly, your furry friend’s long-term health may depend on early detection, diagnosis and treatment.

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 it's been more than a day since your cat has eaten or if they are showing other concerning symptoms, contact our Bedford veterinary hospital right away.

We're accepting new patients! Book your pet's first appointment today.

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