We know how worrying it can be when your cat won't eat. It can be hard to tell if you need to take them to the emergency vet or wait til your usual vet is available. In this blog, our Fort Collins vets explain some reasons why your cat may not be eating and when it's an emergency situation.
Why Is My Cat Not Eating?
Cats are famous for being picky eaters. Many cat owners have had to scan the pet food isles to look for a brand and flavor of food their feline friends will enjoy eating.
On the other hand, if your cat refuses to eat for a time period that's longer than 24 hours, they could have an underlying health problem.
Kidney disease is a condition that is common in elderly cats and can make your furry friend feel nauseous, which may result in them refusing their food. Drinking lots of water and frequent urination are other symptoms of kidney disease.
There are two types of kidney disease that are common in felines. Only your vet will be able to diagnose and treat this serious disease. If your older cat (7 years of age or older) has stopped eating or is showing other symptoms of kidney disease, call your veterinarian as quickly as possible to schedule an appointment.
Cats suffering from oral health issues may experience severe mouth pain, which could make your kitty refuse to eat. An injury to your cat's mouth caused by a foreign object, dental abscess, inflamed gums, advanced tooth decay or loose or broken teeth can all cause significant pain.
If you think your feline may be suffering from mouth pain, bring them to a vet as quickly as you can to get a diagnosis and treatment. Your vet will be able to conduct a complete examination and cleaning of your cat’s teeth and diagnose the source of your cat's 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)
It’s time to see your vet if you notice that your cat is experiencing weight loss, diarrhea, constipation, or vomiting in addition to losing their appetite.
Feline GI problems such as the ones detailed above, are serious issues and may require emergency care. It's important for your cat's health that they get a diagnosis and treatment for their GI issues as early as possible.
Other Potential Reasons
Your cat may be refusing to eat for various reasons that aren't directly connected to their physical health such as:
- A shift in normal routines
- New food
- Motion sickness due to travel
- Recent vaccinations
Generally, these problems should only make your kitty miss one or two meals - nothing more. If your feline companion skips any more meals than this you should take them to the vet.
When To See a Vet if Your Cat Won't Eat
If your cat has refused more than one or two meals or is displaying any additional concerning symptoms or behaviors, contact your vet immediately, or take your cat to the nearest emergency vet clinic. Call ahead if possible.
Cats can quickly become seriously ill, making early diagnosis and treatment critical to your feline friend’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.