Why Does My Cat Refuse To Eat?

By July 10, 2023October 27th, 2023Cats

As cat owners, it’s a natural reaction to be worried when our cat refuses to eat. This could be due to a variety of reasons, our cats could simply not feel hungry at that moment, or there could be other underlying issues. If your cat has skipped several meals or gone a day or two without food, perhaps it is a sign for you to intervene. There are certain things that we can do within our means to help our cat regain its appetite, however we should always be vigilant as there are times where veterinary intervention is absolutely necessary. Let’s find out more.

It could have satisfied its hunger elsewhere.
Some cats are better at self-regulating their intake as compared to others and stop eating when they are full. Also, with indoor cats, owners have more control over when and where our cats eats, we can also ensure that it doesn’t snack anywhere else as excessive treats will make our cats full. However, if your cat is a free roamer and spends time outdoors, it is not easy to track the amount of food it eats. Your cat could have simply eaten food outside and is too full for its meals.

There could be something wrong with the food.
If you have ruled out all possibilities that your cat may be ill, and that they did not satisfy its hunger elsewhere, its loss of appetite could be related to its food. A lack of freshness, unfamiliar new food, or oversaturation are some reasons that could cause your cat to reject its food. You could check on the expiration date of the food or give it a sniff to see if it has before feeding it to your cat.

Your cat could be suffering from diseases or infections.
Blood, stool, urine tests or ultrasound scans help to check the health of your cat’s internal organs to see if there are any traces of diseases. Inflammations, tumours, or metabolic disorders are possible reasons why your cat stops eating. Your cat could also stop eating as their immune system is struggling with an infection which could be caused by viruses, bacteria or parasites. Consult a vet immediately if you notice any symptoms of illness!

It could be due to age.
Ageing is a process that every living thing has to go through. The older your cat gets, the lesser energy it needs. Digestion slows down with age, so it is not uncommon for older cats to simply be less hungry. A senior cat will no longer be able to manage the same amount of food as when it was younger, and would be satisfied having several small portions at intervals throughout the day.

There could be dental problems.
Dental problems are uncomfortable and painful for humans, let alone our cats! Cats can also suffer from dental pains due to reasons such as tartar, or inflammation and this could cause your cat to refuse to eat. We should always look at their teeth and gum to ensure that our cat has proper oral hygiene and healthy teeth. Contact your vet if you suspect that your cat has any dental problems so that they can find and treat the underlying cause.

Your cat could simply be picky.
Many cats are generally regarded as fussy and picky eaters. They get bored of their food quickly, in which we as cat owners would have to introduce variety into the food bowl from time to time. Alternative protein sources, or meal toppers are some ways to stimulate your cat’s appetites. That said, there are also cats who are used to eating the same thing and will often refuse to eat if there are changes to the food that they are used to having.

It could be due to psychological stress.
Fear, stress, hormonal changes and psychological stress are some reasons why cats ignore their food bowl. Unfortunately, there are times when cats “learn” to reject their food. This could be due to cats associating its food with something negative. In these cases, it takes a lot of time and patience to help your cat until it associates food with something positive. Cats are sensitive creatures, and slight changes to their environment or daily routine could cause them to be stressed. To ensure that your cat starts eating again with appetite and without worries, we can provide them with a place in which they would feel at ease and with a sense of security.

It is not much of a cause of worry if your cat doesn’t eat for a few hours. Nonetheless, keep a close eye on them so that you can react accordingly if further symptoms occur. If your cat refuses to eat for a long period of time, consult your usual vet immediately as an excessively long fasting period can have a negative impact on your cat’s vitality. Whether the cause is pain, an infection or just fussiness, your veterinarian can help you get to the bottom of the problem and help your furry friend regain their appetite again!


Any views or opinions communicated on this page belong to the author and do not represent the views or opinions of any other organizations. This article is meant for us to share our own views and opinions in general. Kindly consult a professional if you would like to seek professional advice.

Adopted from sources

– Why Is My Cat Not Eating? By Adrienne Kruzer, The Spruce Pets.

– Cat not eating? 11 things to check according to a vet. By Dr Joanna Woodnutt, Pets Radar.

– Why is my cat not eating? 10 reasons for your cats loss of appetite! By Larissa Gerlach, Green Pet Food.

– Images of cats, Pexels and Pixabay.