My Cat Won't Eat - Should I Be Worried?

If your kitty stops eating, you might have a hard time figuring out the reason why, and it could be tough to determine if you should take them to the vet. In this blog, our Ypsilanti vets list some common reasons why cats won't eat their food and how to determine if it's an emergency. 

Why Won't My Cat Eat?

Cats are famous for being selective with their food! Countless cat parents have found themselves searching up and down the pet food isles for a kind of food their kitty will enjoy eating. But, if it has been more than 24 hours and your cat is still not eating your feline friend could have an underlying health condition. 

Gastrointestinal Issues

Similar to people, your cat could develop gastrointestinal (GI) problems that can make them feel nauseous, leading to a lack of appetite. Cats that suffer from GI issues often, (but not always) can display other symptoms including constipation, diarrhea, weight loss and, vomiting.

Common GI problems in cats include:
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Pancreatitis
  • A foreign object, such as string, in your cat's digestive tract
  • Parasites
  • Colitis
  • Changes in your cat's intestinal bacteria
  • Urinary obstruction
  • Cancer

If your kitty is vomiting, losing weight, experiencing constipation or diarrhea on top of refusing to eat, you must see your vet. Gastrointestinal problems such as the ones listed here are serious and might need emergency treatment. It's important for your cat's health that GI issues be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

Dental Problems

There is a handful of dental conditions that could cause pain in your cat's mouth, which may lead them to refuse their meals Your cat could be suffering mouth pain because of a dental abscess, inflamed gums, injury to the mouth caused by a foreign object, a loose or broken tooth, or advanced tooth decay.

If you believe your cat is suffering from mouth pain see your vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Your vet can do a thorough cleaning of your cat's teeth and look for any dental issues that may be causing your cat pain.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is relatively common in older cats. As with GI problems, kidney disease often causes nausea which leads to cats refusing to eat. Other symptoms of kidney disease in cats include frequent urination and drinking a lot of water. There are two forms of kidney disease common in cats, only your vet can diagnose and treat this serious condition. If your cat has stopped eating, is over 7 years of age, or is displaying other symptoms of kidney disease, see your vet as soon as possible.

Other Possible Causes

Cats may refuse to eat for a range of reasons not directly related to their overall health, including:
  • Motion sickness due to travel
  • Recently receiving vaccinations
  • New food
  • A new person in the house
  • Change in regular routines
  • Anxiety / Depression

Problems such as the ones listed above should only make your cat skip one or two meals, no more. If your cat refuses to eat for longer than this take them to a vet.

When to See a Vet

If your cat has refused more than one or two meals or is experiencing any symptoms or behaviors that you are concerned about, take them to see our Ypsilanti vets as soon as possible. Call us in advance if you are able to. Cats can become severely ill quickly, making early diagnosis and treatment essentail to your cat'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 hasn't eaten in over 24 hours, or they are showing any of the other symptoms listed above contact our Ypsilanti vets immediately.

Caring for Pets in Ypsilanti

Michigan Avenue Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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734-482-8171