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 Staten Island vets list some common reasons why cats may stop eating, and how to tell if your cat’s case is an emergency.
Why won't my cat eat?
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.
Cats, like humans, can experience gastrointestinal (GI) issues that cause nausea and loss of appetite. Cats suffering from GI issues frequently, but not always, exhibit other symptoms such as weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.
Common GI issues in cats include:
- A foreign object, such as a piece of plastic or plant, in your cat’s digestive tract
- Urinary obstructions
- Changes in your cat’s intestinal bacteria
If you notice your cat losing weight, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation, as well as having a decreased 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.
For older cats, this is a relatively common condition that may cause your feline friend to feel nauseated, which may result in a refusal to eat. Other symptoms include drinking an excessive amount of water or urinating frequently.
Kidney disease can take one of two forms in cats. Your vet will be able to diagnose your pet and develop a treatment plan for this serious illness. If your senior cat (older than 7 years of age) is displaying symptoms beyond a pause in eating, book an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
If your cat is suffering from dental problems, she may experience pain in her mouth and refuse to eat. Pain from inflamed gums, loose or broken teeth, a dental abscess, an injury or foreign object in their mouth, advanced tooth decay, or other issues can cause them to stop eating.
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 missed more than one or two meals or is exhibiting any unusual behaviors or symptoms, please contact us to schedule an appointment.
Because cats can become severely ill very quickly, your feline's long-term health may be dependent 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.