Cat Not Eating? Causes of Appetite Loss in Cats

Some cats are picky about what they eat. Our furry friends can be very particular about what they put into their bodies.

But what about a kitty that won’t eat at all? That can be a big problem.

What’s The Big Deal?

If your cat isn’t eating, their body has to use their reserve of fat in order to get energy. The problem is that this requires a lot of protein. Once the protein runs out, all that excess fat puts a huge strain on the liver. This strain can cause hepatic lipidosis, which leads to liver failure.

Reasons Your Cat Won’t Eat

Your cat’s loss of appetite is usually temporary. But if your cat doesn’t eat for at least 12 hours, there’s cause for concern. There are a variety of factors that can cause your kitty’s hunger strike, ranging from mild to serious.

Check out the following to help you determine what’s going on with your finicky feline.

Change of Scenery

Cats are creatures of habit, which means that change can be very scary for them. If you’re traveling with your furry friend, the lack of familiar surroundings can wreak havoc on their sense of well-being. The same is true if you move to a new location.


Pet parents often jump to illness as the first reason for any issue, and for good reason. Rapid weight loss can be deadly to your cat, so it’s best to take a trip to the vet to check for any underlying illness that may be causing your cat’s decrease in appetite. Once any sickness is ruled out, you can try some simple ways to get your kitty eating again.

Psychological Issues

Cats have complex brains, and are prone to depression and a number of psychological issues. Your cat may be upset due to changes in schedule, new household members, as well as a variety of other factors. These problems are hard to diagnose on their own, and your vet may suggest your kitty is feeling blue if they can’t find anything physically wrong with her.

Recent Shots

Vaccinations can make your kitty queasy. Lack of appetite can be a mild side effect of the shots. This is usually temporary and doesn’t last very long at all. Make sure your cat gets adequate rest and stays hydrated after vaccination.

What You Can Do

The good news is you can easily stimulate your cat’s appetite, provided he is not ill. Try one or a combination of the following to get your kitty eating again.

Keep It Fresh

Your furry friend may be bored with their commercial diet. Mix some fresh meat like boiled chicken into their food. A little bit goes a long way. Make sure you cut it up small enough or it will become a choking hazard.

Mix It Up

While felines are known for being set in their ways, sometimes they need a change too. Try changing up the type of food you feed your kitty. If they normally only eat dry food, try mixing in some canned food. The strong smells may be enough to pique your furry friend’s interest enough to start eating again.

Kitty Massage

Lethargic cats won’t be in the mood to eat, but giving them a rubdown can boost their blood supply, in turn making them hungry. If your cat was recently sick and is still moping around, this is the easiest way to get them going without forcing them to play.

Heat It Up

Who wants to eat room temperature or cold, mushy food? A little change in temperature can go a long way. Try heating your cat’s food in the microwave for about 10 seconds. Be sure to stir well to avoid any hot spots.

Pamper Your Pet

Cats that aren’t feeling themselves don’t have the energy to groom. Make your kitty pretty with extra brushing, nail trimming, and cleaning their ears. A clean kitty is a happy kitty, and the stimulation from all that attention may make them hungry again.

Make Them Comfortable

If things have been more chaotic than usual at home, make mealtime as stress-free as possible. Feed your cat in a quiet place with little noise and few people.

Top It Off

Make your kitty a special treat by sprinkling her food with other goodies like crumbled bacon, fish oil, or chicken broth. Not only is this delicious, but it will entice them to explore new tastes.

Don’t distress if your kitty isn’t eating. If a trip to the vet reveals nothing wrong, the above suggestions may be just the ticket to get your feline friend’s appetite back.

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