Cat Not Eating? Learn the Causes & Solutions

Some people hold strongly to the belief that their cats have refined culinary palettes. Other cats will eat whatever is put in front of them. Whether your cat prefers seafood, chicken or beef, keeping track of your pet’s eating habits is important. If you find your cat’s eating habits change significantly , consider taking your fur ball friend to your family veterinarian. When a cat isn’t eating properly, it can indicate a serious – even life-threatening — condition..

Why Do Cats Need to Eat?

NoFood supplies more than essential calories toyour cat — food contains vital proteins that are needed to digest the food. When a cat suddenly stops eating, the cat’s body begins to use any fat stored in the body. The liver processes this reserved fat and enables it to be used for fuel. However, the liver needs protein in order to carry out this process. Without food, the cat’s protein levels are exhausted, and fat begins to build up in the liver. Untreated, this can cause a toxic condition called hepatic lipidosis, a dangerous condition that can result in feline liver failure and, ultimately, in death if not treated quickly.

Why Won’t My Cat Eat?

There are several reasons why your cat may be avoiding their dinner. These include:

  • Feeling Insecure/Traveling: Cats love familiar environments and feel most secure at home. Any change in routine or environment may cause your cat to lose this or her appetite. Whether traveling by plane, train or automobile, most cats tend to feel uneasy during a trip. Like many children, cats are extremely sensitive to movement and may suffer from motion sickness, too.
  • Psychological Distress: Some people are known to lose their appetites when they are feeling down, and some cats react similarly. If your veterinarian cannot find any physical ailments to explain your cat’s loss of appetite, it may be determined that your cat is depressed or anxious. Maybe your kitty is uneasy about a new pet in your home and wants a safe and secure place to hide. Your veterinarian can help you create a plan to return your cat to emotion health as well as physical health.
  • Picky Eater: Your cat may have a distaste for chicken or prefers seafood to beef. If you have recently changed your cat’s food, it may take a few weeks for your kitty to get used to it. You could also try a new flavor or a different brand, or go back to the former food and re-introduce the new food more slowly over time. See the handout on BluePearl Veterinary Partners page for tips.  (link to
  • Recently Vaccinated: If your cat suddenly becomes unresponsive to food after having routine vaccinations, she or he may be having an adverse reaction to one of the vaccines. Similar to human beings, animals can show side effects of vaccinations, which may include fatigue and loss of appetite. In most cases, the mild side effects disappear rather quickly. If not, call your veterinarian.
  • Condition or Illness: When a cat won’t touch his or her usual food, it can be a critical sign that something is wrong. Serious conditions, including pancreatitis, cancer, intestinal issues, kidney failure and infections, can cause a cat to stop eating altogether. Although your cat’s failure to eat could indicate the existence of a serious underlying condition, it may be something as simple as a toothache that can be easily fixed.

Finding a Solution

Regardless of the reason why your cat won’t eat, it is essential to get help before a serious and irreversible condition develops. Talk to your veterinarian as soon as possible after you notice a significant change in your cat’s eating habits. Having a veterinarian that you trust is absolutely essential in taking great care of your cat.