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Why Won't My Cat Eat? When to See a Vet

We know it can be worrying when your cat won't eat. This is why our Moreno Valley vets discuss some of the reasons why your beloved kitty might not be eating, signs to look out for, and when you should see a vet.

My Cat Isn't Eating

As you might have noticed cats can be very picky eaters, making you go back to the store just to find a brand and flavor of cat food they might like and will eat. Although, if it has been over 24 hours and your feline companion still hasn't eaten anything, 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 nauseated and lose their appetite. In many situations, though not always, cats with GI issues will display other symptoms including weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.

Common GI issues in cats include:

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

If you notice your cat losing weight, vomiting, having diarrhea, or constipation along with a reduced appetite, you need to 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 fairly common in older cats and it may make your feline friend feel nauseous, resulting in a refusal to eat. Other signs and symptoms also include drinking an excessive amount of water or frequent urination.

Kidney disease in cats can be seen in one of two forms. Your vet has the skills and knowledge needed 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 a dental problem is bothering your cat, it can make them experience pain in their mouth leading to a refusal to eat. Inflamed gums, loose or broken teeth, a dental abscess, an injury or foreign object in their mouth, advanced tooth decay, or other conditions can cause your kitty significant pain, forcing them to stop eating.

If you think your cat is suffering from mouth pain, call your vet as soon as you can to make 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.

Other Potential Causes

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

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

Any of these problems shouldn't make your cat refuse more than a or two meals. If your cat hasn't eaten for longer than 24 hours, call us to book an appointment.

If my cat won’t eat, when should I see a vet?

If your cat hasn't eaten more than one or two meals or is showing any behaviors or symptoms that are causing you concern, contact us to schedule an appointment.

Because cats can become severely sick quickly, your kitty's long-term health may depend 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.

Contact our Moreno Valley vets as soon as possible if your cat hasn't eaten in more than 24 hours or/and is displaying any of the symptoms listed above.

New Patients Welcome

Sunnymead Veterinary Clinic always welcomes new patients to our veterinary family! Our vets are passionate about providing quality healthcare to Moreno Valley animals. Contact us today to book an appointment, or visit for walk-in service.

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Contact (951) 242-4056