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Why won't my cat eat?

Why won't my cat eat?

It can be concerning to find that your cat is not eating. You may wonder whether your furry friend needs to see an emergency vet. Our West Salem vets list some common reasons why cats may stop eating, and how to tell if your cat’s case is an emergency. 

Cat Not Eating

Cats are notoriously picky eaters. This fact often frustrates cat owners who find themselves standing in front of the pantry, eyeing the new flavors of kitty food they've just purchased and wondering if this or that one will pique their cat's interest.

That said, if your kitty has gone 24 hours or more without eating, an underlying health issue may be the cause.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Cats, like humans, can suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) issues that cause nausea and loss of appetite. Other symptoms of GI issues in cats include weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.

Common GI issues in cats include:

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

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

This is a fairly common condition in older cats that can cause nausea and a refusal to eat. Other symptoms include excessive drinking of water and frequent urination.

In cats, kidney disease can take two forms. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose your pet's illness and develop a treatment plan for it. If your senior cat (over 7 years old) is exhibiting symptoms other than a pause in eating, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Dental Issues

If your cat has dental problems, this could result in mouth pain for her and make her reluctant to eat. They may stop eating if they experience severe pain due to inflamed gums, loose or broken teeth, a dental abscess, an injury or foreign object in their mouth, advanced tooth decay, or other problems.

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:

  • Depression or anxiety
  • Recent vaccinations
  • Motion sickness due to travel
  • New food
  • 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 has skipped more than one or two meals, or is exhibiting any behaviors or symptoms that are causing you concern, contact us to schedule 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 your cat won't eat for more than 24 hours or is displaying other concerning symptoms, contact our West Salem hospital right away.

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West Salem Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of West Salem companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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