We understand how alarming it can if your cat suddenly stops eating, and that it can be difficult to decide whether a trip to the emergency vet clinic is necessary. So today our Albany vets share some common reasons why cats stop eating, and how to tell if it’s an emergency situation.
Reasons Why Cat's Won't Eat
Cats are famous for their finicky eating habits! In fact, frustrated and loving cat owners can often be found scanning pet food shelves for new, interesting flavors of canned food and kibble that their feline friends will enjoy.
That said, if your cat refuses to eat for more than 24 hours, it's time to start looking for a reason beyond picky eating for your cat's behavior. When a cat doesn't eat for more than 24 hours it's a good indication that there is an underlying health issue preventing them from enjoying their dinner.
There are a number of dental issues that could cause your cat to experience pain in their mouth, resulting in a refusal to eat. An injury or dental condition inside of their mouth caused by a foreign object, dental abscess, inflamed gums, advanced tooth decay or loose or broken teeth can all cause significant pain for your cat.
If you think that your cat is suffering from mouth pain head to the vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment. After your kitty has been examined, your vet can thoroughly clean your cat’s teeth and diagnose any issues that may be causing pain.
Kidney disease is a relatively common condition in older cats and may cause your feline friend to feel nauseated, leading to a refusal to eat. Other symptoms include excessive thirst and frequent urination.
There are two forms of kidney disease that are common in cats. Only your veterinarian will be able to diagnose and treat this serious disease. If your cat is 7 years of age or older and has stopped eating, or is exhibiting other symptoms of kidney disease, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
Like their pet parents, gastrointestinal (GI) problems can cause cats to feel nauseated and lose their appetite. If your kitty is suffering from GI issues they will likely stop eating but also show symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, constipation and weight loss. Some of the most common GI issues in cats include:
- Urinary obstruction
- Changes in your cat’s intestinal bacteria
- Foreign object, such as a piece of string, plastic or plant, in your cat’s digestive tract
See your vet right away if you notice that your cat is experiencing weight loss, diarrhea, constipation or vomiting in addition to losing her appetite.
Gastrointestinal issues, including the ones listed above, are serious and may warrant emergency care. Diagnosis and early treatment for these GI issues are important for your cat’s health and should be done as early as possible to help prevent more serious issues from developing.
Other Possible Causes
Cats may refuse to eat for a number of reasons not directly related to their overall physical health, including:
- New food
- A shift in normal routines
- Recent vaccinations
- Motion sickness due to travel
- A new person or pet in the home
Issues such as these should only cause your cat to skip two meals at most. If your cat refuses to eat for longer than 24 hours, it’s time for a visit to the vet.
If my cat refuses to eat, when should I visit a vet?
If your cat has skipped more than one or two meals, or is displaying any behaviors or symptoms that cause you concern, contact our vet office in Albany right away, or visit your nearest 24/7 emergency animal hospital.
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.