If your cat is not eating, it can be concerning. Should you take your feline companion to an emergency vet clinic or wait for your veterinarian to become available? Our Boulder County veterinarians discuss the most common reasons cats stop eating and how to determine if an emergency situation exists.
My cat won't eat. Why?
Cats are notoriously picky eaters! Many cat owners have found themselves scanning pet food shelves for new, interesting flavors their pets will enjoy.
However, a cat that refuses to eat for more than 24 hours may have a health issue.
When cats get older, they are more likely to develop kidney disease. This disease may cause your feline friend to feel nauseated, which may result in him refusing to eat. Other symptoms include excessive water consumption and frequent urination.
Cats are susceptible to two types of kidney disease. Your veterinarian is the only one who will be able to diagnose and treat this life-threatening condition. Please schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible if your older cat (over 7 years) has stopped eating or is exhibiting other signs of kidney disease.
Dental problems in pets frequently result in severe mouth pain and a refusal to eat. A foreign object in your cat's mouth, a dental abscess, inflamed gums, advanced tooth decay, or loose or broken teeth can all cause severe pain.
If you suspect your cat is in pain in his mouth, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible for a diagnosis and treatment. Your veterinarian can examine and clean your cat's teeth, as well as diagnose any problems that may be causing pain.
As with humans, gastrointestinal (GI) issues can cause cats to feel nauseated and, as a result, lose their appetite. Cats with GI problems frequently (but not always) exhibit other symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, and weight loss.
Common GI issues in cats include:
- Urinary obstruction
- Changes in your cat’s intestinal bacteria
- A foreign object, such as a piece of plastic or plant, in your cat’s digestive tract
If your cat is losing weight, has diarrhea, is constipated, or is vomiting in addition to losing her appetite, you should take her to the vet right away.
The above-mentioned digestive problems can be life-threatening and necessitate immediate medical attention. It is critical for your cat's health that these GI problems are diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
Other Possible Causes
Cats may refuse to eat for a variety of reasons unrelated to their general physical health, including the following:
- New food
- A shift in normal routines
- Recent vaccinations
- Motion sickness due to travel
However, these issues should only cause your cat to miss two meals, mostly. If your cat is refusing to eat, take it to the vet.
If my cat refuses to eat, when should I visit a vet?
Please contact your veterinarian immediately if your cat has skipped more than two meals, or if your cat is exhibiting any behaviors or symptoms that you are concerned about. You can also go to your local emergency vet clinic. If at all possible, make a reservation.
Cats can become seriously ill in a short period of time, making early diagnosis and treatment critical to the long-term health of your feline companion.
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.