Loving pet owners are bound to be worried if their cat stops eating. Today, our Milledgeville vets share common reasons why cats stop eating and when to head to the vet for treatment.
Picky or Sick?
Cats are known for their picky eating habits! Countless cat owners have found themselves scratching their heads and scanning pet food shelves for new, interesting flavors their fussy cats might actually like.
That said, if your kitty refuses to eat for more than 24 hours, an underlying health issue may be the problem.
Older cats commonly develop kidney disease, which may cause your senior kitty to feel nauseated, potentially leading to a refusal to eat. Other symptoms of kidney disease include drinking lots of water and urinating frequently.
Two forms of kidney disease are common in cats. Only your vet will be able to diagnose and treat this serious disease. If your older cat (over 7 years of age) has stopped eating or is exhibiting other symptoms of kidney disease, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
Severe mouth pain can be an issue for cats suffering from oral health issues and could be the cause of your feline friend's refusal to eat. An injury to your cat's mouth caused by a foreign object, dental abscess, inflamed gums, advanced tooth decay, or loose/broken teeth can all cause significant pain.
If you suspect your cat is suffering from pain in his mouth, take them in to see your vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. Your vet can perform a thorough examination and dental cleaning of your cat’s teeth and diagnose any issues that may be causing pain.
Gastrointestinal (GI) Issues
Gastrointestinal issues or 'tummy trouble' can cause cats to feel nauseated and consequently, experience a drop in their appetite. Cats suffering from GI issues will often (but not always) display 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 in your cat’s digestive tract (ie: a piece of plastic, plant, or string)
If your cat exhibits signs of GI distress (e.g. diarrhea, vomiting) in addition to appetite and weight loss, it time to see your vet right away. GI problems in cats, including the ones listed above, are serious and may warrant emergency care. Getting a diagnosis and early treatment for these GI issues is important for your cat’s health and should be done as early as possible.
Other Possible Causes
Cats may refuse to eat for a number of reasons not directly related to their overall physical health, including:
- New food
- Change in regular routines
- Recent vaccinations
- Motion sickness (e.g. traveling in the car)
These issues should only cause your cat to skip two meals at most - no more. If your cat continues to refuse or avoid food, it’s time for a visit to the vet.
When To See a Vet
If your feline friend has skipped more than 1-2 meals or exhibits any behaviors or symptoms you’re concerned about, contact your vet right away. Call ahead if possible.
Cats can quickly become seriously ill, which is why early diagnosis and treatment are critical to your pet’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.