Why Is My Cat Refusing To Eat?

By June 27, 2019 Uncategorized

Why Is My Cat Refusing To Eat? | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

Many of us think of our pets as our children, but unlike human children cats can’t tell us specifically why something is wrong.

If your cat isn’t eating, there are a number of reasons why this could be, and it can be especially worrying if you are used to being woken up at 5am every morning by a small furry creature demanding food (tip: automatic feeders can help ensure you get your full night’s sleep).

Before you take your kitty to get nutritional counseling for cats, let’s look at some of the reasons why your cat may be refusing to eat.

What Happens When Your Cat Stops Eating?

If your cat is refusing to eat, their body will turn to fat reserves for energy.

In order for stored fat to be used for energy, it is processed in the liver, which requires protein.

As protein supplies are depleted to convert fat to energy, a condition called hepatic lipidosis can occur, which can result in liver failure.

Why Isn’t Your Cat Eating?

There are a number of reasons why your cat may not be eating.

From illness to anxiety, many of the reasons for a loss of appetite are the same as why humans might experience this.

The sooner you can pinpoint the reason and take appropriate action, the better a chance you will have to do something which will make a difference for your furry friend.

Keep reading to learn about common reasons why your cat may not be eating.

1. Illness

There are a number of illnesses which may cause your cat to stop eating.

From the relatively minor, such as a toothache, to serious issues such as kidney failure, pancreatitis, or even cancer.

If you suspect this to be the case, be sure to see your vet to pinpoint the precise cause.

2. Anxiety or Depression

Is your cat depressed?

Anxiety or depression could be the reason for a loss of appetite, especially if you have had changes in your home.

Moving to a new home, the addition of another person or new pet, or even changes to your schedule (perhaps you used to work from home and took a new job where you are away more often) can trigger these issues in your cat.

reasons why a pet cat refuses to eat | Bickford Park Animal Hospital | Toronto Veterinary Clinic & Pet Care

3. Recent Vaccination

Vaccines are super important for both humans, and our pets.

But they can sometimes result in side effects such as loss of appetite.

The good news here is that this reaction is usually temporary, and after a day or so Fluffy will be back to normal.

4. Being In Unfamiliar Surroundings

Have you moved recently?

Cats don’t always adjust well to new environments – they are creatures of habit and don’t always respond well to change.

Additionally, if you have had them in a vehicle, motion sickness could also be a factor in refusal to eat.

5. General Finickiness

Some cats are just picky.

If you’ve had to change the food you are giving them, it could take a while for them to get used to it.

How To Encourage Your Cat To Eat

No matter the reason for your cat’s refusal to eat, if they go without food long enough the consequences can be heartbreaking.

If it’s a question of having a picky eater, one tip for changing cat foods is to do it gradually, and give a mix of the old food and the new food, gradually increasing the amount of the new food and decreasing the old until you are feeding only the new food.

Never try to starve your cat into eating a particular type of food – always be sure they have an option that they will eat readily available as you transition to a new food.

If your cat isn’t eating due to illness, you should work with your veterinarian to find the best solution.

Sometimes a cat who is sick will refuse dry kibble but be willing to try canned wet food more easily.

Other times medications may be used to help stimulate appetite.

In extreme cases syringe-feeding a liquid diet to ensure your cat is getting proper nutrients, or use of an IV may be needed.

Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital

Are you worried about your cat?

Have they stopped eating, or exhibiting other behaviours which are out-of-the-ordinary?

Here at Bickford Park Animal Hospital we want to help, to ensure you have as many happy years with your furry friends as possible.

Contact us today to book a consultation.

In yours and your pet’s health,

Dr. Helen Foster, DVM
Bickford Park Animal Hospital
807 Bloor St W,
Toronto, ON M6G 1L8


Bickford Park Animal Hospital is a veterinary clinic in Toronto, located across from Christie Pits park, committed to the highest level of caring and treatment for cats and dogs.