Your cat doesn't eat (anymore): Causes, symptoms, treatments & preventive measures.

Your cat no longer eats regularly? Many cat owners have already experienced this. Although the cat always stands in front of the bowl and waits, it suddenly stops eating for no apparent reason. It is normal for a cat to stop eating every now and then, but at what point should you really start to worry?

Article from
Dr. Christian Dimitriadis
Veterinary surgeon with Dr. SAM
Table of contents

Why doesn't my cat eat anymore?

If a cat does not want to eat, this is medically called inappetence or anorexia. Cats are generally not allowed to stay fasting for a period of 24 hours, because physical organ damage can be the result. If a cat does not eat for a longer period of time, even the feeling of hunger will decrease. We can help you to find out what is possible and what causes might be behind it.

Cause of the strike while eating

Cats are creatures of habit. If something changes in everyday life, they can suddenly stop eating . In principle, however, a refusal to eat should always be questioned and the cause determined. Here are the top 9 reasons why a cat stops eating:

  1. Feeding-related: Has the feed been changed from wet to dry feed or have you changed the taste or type of feed? Cats are often very fussy and may stop eating after a change of food. In principle: A change of food should take place very slowly over several weeks. Especially the wet food should always be fresh and moist. If the wet food becomes dry because it has been standing too long, it is rarely eaten.
  2. Stress: Have you had any changes in your household recently, like new furniture or renovation work, or has a new pet or person moved in? Stress is often a reason why your cat does not eat anymore. This can even be caused by changing the position of the feeding bowl. Also, the heat can cause a lot of stress, which is why the cat stops eating.
  3. Dental diseases or mouth infections: Tartar or inflammation of the mouth, often leads to cats stopping eating. Salivation, difficulty chewing or avoiding dry food are often signs of dental disease. Mouth inflammation, caused by viruses or bacteria, can cause pain and make it difficult to eat.
  4. Fever: Especially in the case of people who are outdoors, causes Fever ...often a gluttony. We have written a separate article about this which can help you further.
  5. Infections: viral diseases like FIP, FeLV or FIV can cause loss of appetite in the cat.
  6. Parasites: Has your cat had any symptoms recently, like diarrhea or vomiting? A worm infestation as well as Giardia can be one of the triggers.
  7. Organ diseases: Especially with older cats a Renal insufficiencyliver problems, or a Constipation will make the cat stop eating. Medication that the cat is already taking may also cause the cat to stop eating.
  8. Is your cat a outdoor cat or a domestic cat? Outdoor cats can be fed by the neighbors or be fed by hunting. If she still looks fit after the outdoor exercise, he may be full.
  9. Poisoning: Even poisoning can cause your cat to not eat. Does she also show other symptoms such as salivation, vomiting, trembling or cramping? Then all alarm bells should go off!

Symptoms when cat stops eating

Inappetence may occur in the cat alone or in combination with other symptoms. For the most part, and especially in young animals, an inability to eat occurs when the food has been changed abruptly. A change of food should never be abrupt in the cat, but over several weeks. If your cat shows other symptoms, the cause should be found as soon as possible. Such symptoms are for example:

  • Vomiting
  • Saliva
  • Diarrhoea
  • Cramps
  • Strangling

In contrast to the dog, it is life-threatening in cats if they do not eat for a longer period of time. If your cat is fasting for more than 24 hours, this could lead to fatty liver (hepatic lipidosis). This is a life-threatening condition! Especially older cats as well as kittens should be worried earlier and not wait too long.

Remember: A cat should never stay sober for more than 24 hours.
Source: Nils Jacobi/

Diagnosis and therapy

In order to treat the cat's inability to eat properly, one should always find the cause. A general examination, especially of the mouth cavity, should always take place. Also the condition and weight of the animal should be checked. However, often a blood test or an x-ray is necessary to find the cause of the overeating disorder.

What often helps in a cat that does not eat is force feeding. All of us have had the stomach flu and know that smaller portions of food can stimulate the appetite again. The gastrointestinal tract stabilizes and the cat gets hungry again.

Prevention so that your cat always eats

In general, to avoid environmental factors that lead to feeding boredom, don't change very much in the household or in feeding habits. Changing food too often can cause your cat to develop gastrointestinal problems. Deworming to protect against parasites, as well as regular vaccinations for outdoor cats, can help keep your cat healthy. Whether a Vaccination is useful for your cat you can read in this article read. Older cats should have an annual blood test to detect kidney and liver problems, Thyroid- and liver problems early. In many cases, however, a detailed diagnosis must be made, so that it can be found out why your four-legged friend no longer eats. Also with free roamers, who often fight and carry out territorial fights, one should consider whether this makes sense.

If you are unsure and would like to learn more about Dr. SAM - just click on the link and you will receive further insights into our work.

Best regards,
Dr. Christian Dimitriadis
- Veterinary surgeon with Dr. SAM

Table of contents
Article from
Dr. Christian Dimitriadis
Veterinary surgeon with Dr. SAM

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