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My Cat is Not Eating! When to See a Vet

My Cat is Not Eating! When to See a Vet

At Tumwater Veterinary Hospital we understand how concerning it can be when your cat refuses to eat. Therefore, our Tumwater vets are sharing some common reasons why your cat could be refusing their food and when it becomes an emergency.

My Cat won't Eat Their Food

Cats can be very fussy eaters, making you go back to the store just to find a brand and flavor of cat food they might enjoy eating. Although, if your kitty hasn't eaten a meal in over 24 hours you have to call a vet.

Below we explain some common causes for a cat's lack of appetite and other signs you should look out for.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Cats can suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) problems (just like humans) and this can make them feel nauseous and lose their appetite. In many cases, though not always, cats that have GI issues will display other symptoms such as weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.

Common GI issues in cats include:

  • Colitis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cancer
  • Parasites
  • Cancer
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Urinary obstructions
  • Changes in your cat’s intestinal bacteria
  • A foreign object, such as a piece of plastic or plant, in your cat’s digestive tract

If you find your cat losing weight, vomiting, having diarrhea, or constipation in addition to a reduced appetite, you must call your veterinarian.

Gastrointestinal conditions such as the ones mentioned above are serious and your cat might need emergency care. Having these issues diagnosed and treated in their early stages is critical to your cat’s long-term health.

Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is a common condition in older cats and it might make your furry friend feel nauseous, making them refuse their food. Other signs and symptoms also consist of drinking an excessive amount of water or frequent urination.

Kidney disease in cats has two different forms. Your vet has the skills and knowledge required to diagnose your pet and develop a treatment plan for this serious illness. If your senior cat (older than 7 years of age) is showing additional symptoms beyond a pause in eating, make an appointment with your vet immediately.

Dental Issues

If it's a dental problem bothering your cat, the issue could be causing a lot of pain in their mouth making them skip their meals. Loose or broken teeth, advanced tooth decay, Inflamed gums, a dental abscess, an injury or foreign object in their mouth, or other conditions can cause your kitty significant pain, forcing them to stop eating.

If you think your cat is experiencing mouth pain, contact your veterinarian as quickly as possible to book an appointment to have this issue diagnosed and treated.

Your vet will give your cat a checkup, then perform a thorough dental cleaning of your four-legged friend’s teeth before diagnosing and addressing any issues that could be causing pain.

Non-Health Related Causes

Cats can refuse to eat for many reasons that aren't directly related to their general physical health, including:

  • New food
  • Recent vaccinations
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Change in normal routines
  • Motion sickness due to travel

Any of these reasons shouldn't make your cat turn down more than two meals. If it's been more than 24 hours since your cat has last eaten call us to make an appointment.

When Should I See a Vet if My Cat Won’t Eat?

If your cat has refused to eat more than a meal or two or is displaying any symptoms or behaviors that are worrying you, contact our vets in Tumwater to book an appointment.

Cats can get very sick fast, the long-term health of your feline friend could rely on early detection, diagnosis, and treatment.

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.

If your cat still isn't eating after 24 hours or/ and you are noticing any of the worrying symptoms mentioned above contact our Tumwater vets immediately.

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