My Cat Stopped Eating: What Should I Do?

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If you are a cat owner, you may have experienced a time when your cat stopped eating. This is a common problem with cats, and some of the underlying causes are less concerning than others.

It is important to consider what could be causing your cat’s pickiness so you can figure out whether or not she needs to go to the veterinarian. Continue reading to find out more information to help guide you through this time with your cat.

cat stopped eating

Common Causes of Why Cat’s Stop Eating

First, it is important to figure out the cause of your cat’s stopped eating. There are some that are more common than others, but if you take time to think about other behavioral and health-related changes in your cat recently, you may be able to figure out what the issue could be.

If you have any concerns at all, however, you should take your cat to the vet. Only your vet will be able to help you with your cat’s needs.

Some reasons why cats stop eating include, but aren’t limited to:

Illness

Cats who are sick may be unwilling to eat. They may stop eating because of dental disease, allergies, bacterial or viral infections, organ failure, and any other potential illness or sickness. If your cat loses weight quickly due to a lack of appetite, she may develop liver failure, so it is important to find the cause quickly if she is sick.

Anxiety

Cats who are anxious or are thrown out of their regular routine may stop eating food for a short time. This can occur when you move to a new home, when you travel, when a new baby or new pet joins the family, or in many other situations as well.

Medical Procedure or Care

Medical procedures as simple and routine as a vaccination to more complex medical procedures could result in anorexia or decreased appetites in cats. Sometimes, pets may have a fever after a vaccination, or feel poorly, just as we do. Surgical procedures and medications used during or after the procedure may cause nausea or an upset stomach.

It is important to note, that it is very unhealthy for a feline to go an extended time without eating. So if your cat stops eating after any type of veterinary care, it is important to communicate and consult with your veterinarian.

Change in Diet and/or Environment

Changes in environment or diet can also cause a cat to stop eating. Cats are creatures of habit and if we disrupt their routine, this can sometimes result in anorexia. Changes of people living in the household, new pets, new furniture, changes in bowls, or type and/or flavor of diet can all make a difference.

Consistency is key and if factors or diet need to change, talk to your veterinarian about the appropriate way to transition your cat to have the least impact. For example, when changing diet you do not want to mix foods, but put two bowls side by side with different foods.

Possible Solutions to Help if Your Cat Has Stopped Eating

Once you think you might have figured out the cause of why your cat’s stopped eating, you can then choose the right solution moving forward. Some of these options may work better than others, and there is no reason why you can’t try all of them over time.

While trying to get your cat to eat, however, keep in mind that you should not feed her human food. Although she may be more interested in eating human food than cat food, this can cause her to expect human food all the time, and it can be unhealthy for her over time as well.

If your cat’s stopped eating, some things you can try to help them include:

Go to the Vet

If you think your cat is sick and especially if she is rapidly losing weight, she needs to go to the vet. You should make an appointment as soon as possible so you can figure out the cause and determine the best solution before the issue gets worse.

For behavior and situations like this, time is truly of the essence. Prolonged anorexia can cause potentially life-threatening events to happen with your cat. If your cat hasn’t eaten in two days, it’s definitely time to seek veterinary care.

Create a Safe Cat Space

If your cat is anxious or upset, try creating a safe cat space for her. Give her some of her favorite items and keep her food and water in this space, too. Keep other pets and children out of this space for a while to help your cat feel calmer again.

Another option to help with this would be to give your cat some pheromone based products, as these can help with easing any anxiety your cat may be feeling. Talk with your veterinarian about these products and see if they have any recommendations on what would be best for your cat.

Wait and See

If you think your cat may simply be feeling ill from a medical procedure or medication, wait one to two days at most, if no other symptoms arise. It’s still important and recommended to seek veterinary care if your cat experiencing this behavior to ensure the best recovery outcome. As previously mentioned, you never want to wait too long if your cat has stopped eating to see a veterinarian.

Don’t Feed Them Table or Human Food

Cats should not be given table food nor human food because they do not meet all of their nutritional requirements and may cause them to stay off diet longer. Changing diets for cats can be very challenging, as cats tend to be creatures of habit.

Before trying to change your cat’s diet, consult with a veterinarian for recommendations on what is best for your cat. They may suggest coming in for an examination prior to making any recommendations so they can get to know your cat, as opposed to advising right away on which diet would be best to try (for example, canned vs. dry and formulation food).

Your Veterinarian is Your Best Resource if Your Cat Stops Eating

Figuring out how to handle a cat who is suddenly not eating her food can be a frustrating and challenging experience. At OrlandoVets, we’re here for you and your cat to help find the cause of why your cat is doing this and develop the next best course of action to take to get them to start eating again. If you have any further concerns or questions, you should always speak to your vet for specific assistance with your individual cat. Please contact us or make an appointment today!

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