What to do when your cat is not eating

As a cat owner, you might be used to some random behaviour from your pet, but you know when your furry friend isn’t feeling their self.

When a cat turns down food, a vicious circle can begin. They feel unwell so they don’t eat, which then makes them feel weaker and even more ill, so they continue to refuse food.

While you should never force feed your cat unless under strict instructions from your vet, there are a few things you can do to help your pet get the nutrients they need.

If a cat is not eating, this can be a sign that something is wrong

Check your cat’s general health

Turning down food is a classic sign that something is wrong with your cat. While dogs can go days without food and feel few adverse symptoms, cats aren’t so lucky.

If it’s been a couple of days and your cat is still turning down food, it’s time to take them to a vet. Your cat could have a health condition, stomach problems or another sickness which is making them feel unwell. It could also be pain that’s causing your cat’s appetite to diminish. Its best to let your vet check your pet as soon as possible.

Your vet may prescribe medication, or recommend a protein product to give your cat some nutrients. If there is nothing medically wrong with your cat, your vet may suggest you monitor their behaviour over the next few days.

Assess your home situation

Stress is the number one reason for a loss of appetite in a cat, so if your pet is turning down their favourite dish, you should look to assess what’s going on at home.

For example, has there been a big change in your life? Have you moved to a new house or maybe introduced a new pet into the household? Any of these things can cause a cat stress. If you think any of these issues could be the cause, it may be best to separate your cat from others and provide them with a safe area that’s just theirs. Give them somewhere warm to sleep, food and water, and make sure to give them lots of affection.

I’ve tried all that and my cat still won’t eat!

If your cat doesn’t have a medical issue, and there’s nothing in their life that could be causing stress, there are a few things you can do to please your fussy eater!

  • Try different brands of food – even though your pet may have eaten one brand of food for their entire life, it might be time for a change!
  • Try different flavours – just like humans, cats can get bored of the same meal. Try to mix it up a little bit, whilst also ensuring it is healthy for your cat.
  • Keep your dishes clean – cats are notoriously fussy, especially when it comes to cleanliness. If they can smell old food on their bowl they’re likely to turn their nose up.
  • Heat up the food – getting the food to room temperature or warmer can help to release aromas. Cats eat with their nose as much as their mouths!

Hopefully this guide will help you figure out why your cat isn’t eating, but just remember to always consult your vet if you’re concerned for your pet’s health.

Looking for more cat advice?

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