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Why Won't My Cat Eat?

Why Won't My Cat Eat?

When cats decide not to eat, it can be very concerning to owners. You might be wondering if your furry companion needs to see an emergency vet, or if it'll clear up on its own. Our Long Island vets are here to list some common reasons your cat might stop eating.


Why won't my cat eat?

Cat's are famous for being picky eaters. This can be very frustrating for pet owners who have been forced to find new flavors of cat food in an attempt to try and bribe their cats to eat.

That said, if your cat's not eating and it lasts more than 24 hours, an underlying health issue may be the cause.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Just like humans, cats can suffer gastrointestinal (GI) problems that can cause them to feel nauseated and lose their appetite. Often, though not always, cats suffering from GI issues will display other symptoms such as weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.

Common GI issues in cats include:

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

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

For older cats, this is a relatively common condition that may cause your feline friend to feel nauseated, which may result in a refusal to eat. Other symptoms include drinking an excessive amount of water or 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 you suspect your cat may be suffering from mouth pain, contact your vet as soon as possible for an appointment so this issue can be diagnosed and treated.

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

Cats can stop eating for numerous reasons not directly related to their general physical health, including:

  • New food
  • Recent vaccinations
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Motion sickness due to travel
  • 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.

If my cat won’t eat, when should I see a vet?

If your cat hasn't eaten anything for a day or is showing any behaviors that make you concerned, contact one of our Long Island vets to book 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 you've noticed no change on your cat's food bowl in 24 hours or more or your cat is displaying unsettling symptoms, contact our Long Island vets for emergency care. If your cat is in need of urgent care after our regular hours reach out to your Long Island emergency vet clinic immediately. 

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