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3 Reasons Your Cat Won't Eat

3 Reasons Your Cat Won't Eat

It can be alarming if your cat suddenly stops eating, and you may wonder if you should rush to an emergency vet or wait until your vet is available. Our Argyle vets share some common reasons why your cat won't eat and how to identify when it's an emergency.

Why won't my cat eat?

Cats are known for their picky eating habits, and many cat owners have had the experience of scanning pet food shelves for new, interesting flavors of food their feline friends may like.

While picky eating can be normal cat behavior, if your cat refuses to eat for more than 24 hours,  there may be an underlying health issue that warrants your attention.

Here are three of the most common reasons your cat won't eat:

1. Kidney disease

Kidney disease is common in older cats and can make your feline friend feel nauseated, which could lead to a refusal to eat. Other symptoms of a kidney-related issue include drinking lots of water and urinating frequently.

Your vet is the best person to diagnose and treat this serious disease. If your older cat (one that is older than 7 years) has stopped eating or is exhibiting other symptoms of kidney disease, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

2. Dental issues

Dental issues in cats often lead to severe mouth pain, which can lead them to refuse to eat. If your can is suffering an injury caused by a foreign object, dental abscess, inflamed gums, advanced tooth decay, or loose or broken teeth, it may be causing your feline friend a lot of pain.

If you suspect your cat is suffering from mouth pain, it's a good idea to visit your vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Your vet can perform a thorough examination and dental cleaning of your cat’s mouth and diagnose any issues that may be causing pain.

3. Gastrointestinal problems

Just like for people, gastrointestinal (GI) problems can cause nauseousness in cats, leading to their lack of appetite. Cats suffering from GI issues may also display other symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, constipation and weight loss.

Common GI issues in cats include:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Colitis
  • Cancer
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Changes in your cat’s intestinal bacteria
  • Parasites
  • Urinary obstruction
  • Changes in your cat’s intestinal bacteria
  • A foreign object in your cat’s digestive tract (e.g. a piece of plastic or plant)

If your cat is experiencing weight loss, diarrhea, constipation or vomiting in addition to a loss of appetite, it’s time to see your vet.

Gastrointestinal issues, including the ones listed above, are serious and may warrant emergency care. Getting a diagnosis and early treatment for GI issues is important for your cat’s health and should be done as early as possible.

Other possible causes

Cats may refuse to eat for a number of reasons that may not directly be related to their overall physical health, including:

  • New food
  • Depression and/or anxiety
  • A change in their routines
  • Recent vaccinations
  • Motion sickness while traveling

When should I visit a vet?

These issues should only cause your cat to skip two meals at most — no more. If your cat misses more than two meals, it's a good idea to visit your vet for a checkup.

If your cat is missing meals and/or is exhibiting any. concerning behaviors or symptoms, contact your vet right away or visit your nearest emergency vet clinic. Call ahead if possible.

Cats can quickly become seriously ill, making early diagnosis and treatment critical to your feline friend’s long-term health.

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 your cat won't eat, our vets can help. Book an appointment at Argyle Veterinary Hospital today for your feline friend.

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(940) 464-3231