While some cats refuse to eat simply due to finicky behavior, in most cases, it is a warning sign of an underlying health condition. Furthermore, if your cat is not eating enough, its body must rely on its fat reserves for energy. However, before fat can be used, it needs to be processed by the liver.
This entire process requires an adequate supply of protein, which can quickly diminish if your cat refuses to eat. In this case, the liver becomes overwhelmed with fat and can result in hepatic lipidosis, or liver failure. As such, if you cannot get your pet to eat, you should seek veterinary help right away.
Typical Reasons for Cats not Eating
There is literally a vast array of reasons why your cat may refuse to eat. However, some of the most common reasons include anxiety, change of routines, stress, side effects to recent vaccinations, finickiness and illnesses. Further, listed below are some of the medical conditions that can cause your pet to lose its appetite:
- Kidney Failure
- Dental Problems
- Intestinal Worms
- Intestinal Blockages
What You Can Do for a Cat not Eating
If Illness is not Present
No matter what the reason may be for your cat not eating, refusing food can have serious consequences for your pet. With that said, it is never a good idea to force your cat to eat a food it does not like. If you are sure that your cat is not sick, try giving it something strong-smelling such as canned liver or tuna.
In many cases, this will do the trick; however, if it does not work, try mixing some fish oil, cooked egg or broth into the food. If this does not work either, take the food away and offer fresh food later. No matter what, never fall into the temptation of giving human food to your cat.
Additionally, many veterinarians recommend that you rotate your cat’s diet among various brands about two to four times during the year. In this way, you can keep your pet interested in eating. However, when you choose to change foods, do it a little at a time by mixing some of the old food with a bit of the new.
If Illness is Obvious
If your cat is vomiting, has diarrhea, or has other symptoms of illness, you will need to have your veterinarian give it a thorough checkup. In this way, the vet can locate the cause of the problem and determine a proper treatment path and diet for your pet.
Depending on your cat’s condition, this can include various medications, medical treatments and a special diet. In some cases, a liquid diet, syringe feeding or tube feeding may be necessary. On the other hand, some pets simply need an appetite stimulant to encourage them to eat.
While many cats can be quite finicky, if your cat is not eating, it may signify an underlying pet health condition. Since there can be serious consequences if your pet refuses food, it is best to try to get it to eat. However, if this is not possible, veterinary attention may be necessary.