What to Do If Your Cat Refuses to Eat
People make jokes about cats’ picky feeding habits, but if your cat refuses to eat, it’s a serious problem.
A refusal to eat is troubling for any pets, but it is especially deadly for cats.
Animals must rely on their fat reserves for energy when they don’t consume enough. The liver must digest stored fat before it can be used as fuel. This procedure requires a sufficient supply of protein.
Protein reserves are quickly depleted in a cat that stops feeding, and the liver is overwhelmed by the fat. Hepatic lipidosis, a serious disorder that can lead to liver failure, is the result of this.
Loss of appetite in cats is typically a sign of disease, so see your veterinarian as soon as you notice a change in your cat’s feeding habits. The faster you respond to an issue, the more chance you are to be able to do something to help.
Why Your Cat Won’t Eat
Illness: One of the first indications that something is wrong is a loss of appetite. So keep an eye out if your cat suddenly stops eating. Infections, kidney failure, pancreatitis, digestive issues, and cancer are all possibilities. However, it isn’t necessarily serious; a toothache, for example, can cause your cat to stop eating.
Recent vaccination: Have you noticed a change in your cat’s appetite since you took it to the vet for routine vaccinations? If that’s the case, your cat’s refusal to eat could be due to an allergic reaction to the vaccinations. Vaccines have saved the lives of millions of animals, yet they do have negative effects in some of them. The most common of these adverse effects, which are usually short and mild, is loss of appetite.
Travel and unfamiliar surroundings: Many cats, like many people, are creatures of habit. As a result, a change in routine can cause a decrease of appetite. Additionally, whether traveling by car or plane, some animals experience motion sickness, which can cause nausea and a refusal to eat.
Finickiness or psychological issues: If your veterinarian has established that your cat is not medically ill, your cat’s refusal to eat could be due to anxiety or sadness. Changes in the household can be upsetting for sensitive cats, and new individuals or changes in routine can have an impact on a cat’s emotional well-being. Alternatively, your cat could simply be a picky eater. Keep in mind that cats, on average, take a long time to acclimate to new foods, so a recent diet change could be to fault.
What You Can Do
Remember that a complete refusal of food, whether your cat is unwell, anxious, or just plain fussy, can have disastrous effects. So, even if you’re attempting to force your cat to eat a doctor-recommended diet, you should never force your cat to consume a certain sort of food.
If your cat is refusing to eat due to illness, consult with your veterinarian to come up with the best treatment plan for you and your cat. This could involve a change in food kind or consistency; when cats are sick, canned foods may be used to entice them to eat. In more serious situations, vets may prescribe appetite stimulant medications or suggest syringe-feeding your cat a liquid diet. Alternatively, the veterinarian may recommend the installation of a feeding tube to guarantee appropriate nutrition.
When illness isn’t the issue, there are a few things you can do to get your cat to eat.
You may have noticed that certain meals, such as liver or canned tuna, might increase the appetite of some cats. Keep in mind that you should only serve these meals in limited quantities. Large amounts can harm your pet by causing vitamin deficits or over abundances.
Rather of relying on human food, encourage your cat to consume commercial canned food. You might be able to get your fussy cat to eat by heating the food or adding fish oil, broth (be sure it doesn’t contain onions, which are toxic to cats), or a cooked egg. If your cat still refuses to eat, remove the food and replace it later in the day. Your cat may learn to shun the food if it is allowed to harden and grow stale.
If your cat has been eating just human food, gradually transition your cat to cat food over several weeks by combining your cat’s favorite people food with cat food. You should be able to gradually increase the ratio until your pet is solely eating cat food.
Using a similar strategy, several experts advocate changing your cat’s diet between different brands two to four times a year. This approach may aid in the reduction of finickiness as well as the prevention of food allergies and intestinal problems.