Why won't my cat eat?
I. The reasons why cats don't eat
Cats are notorious for being difficult to handle at times, sometimes even turning up their noses at the most expensive cat food. While some cats are naturally picky, sometimes if a cat stops eating, it's a sign of a developing health problem. But as a cat owner, it is your responsibility to care for your cat and meet his needs.
Top 10 reasons why cats don't eat
A cat that sometimes suddenly stops eating may be a symptom of a serious medical problem. Cats can also lose their appetite, and there are other reasons, so don't start worrying right away. Top 10 reasons why cats may stop eating.
1. Dental problems
According to the American College of Veterinary Dentistry (AVDC), most cats will have some degree of dental disease by the time they are three years old. Periodontal disease, or gum disease, can cause bad breath in pets, but the long-term effects can be more severe. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to infection, pain, and tooth loss - all of which can affect a cat's ability to eat or appetite. If your cat seems healthy and doesn't exhibit any other behavioral changes, have his teeth checked or have your veterinarian look at them.
2. Gastrointestinal problems
If your cat is not feeling well, he may avoid eating. Many gastrointestinal problems can cause your cat's lack of appetite, including intestinal parasites, colitis, and gastroenteritis. Any of these conditions can lead to inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and may also produce symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Unfortunately, the symptoms of various gastrointestinal problems often overlap, so you will need your veterinarian to perform some tests to determine the underlying cause of your cat's digestive discomfort.
Inflammation of the pancreas is known as pancreatitis and it is a common cause of lack of appetite and may also lead to lethargy, dehydration, and weight loss. Pancreatitis may be caused by overuse of certain medications, infection, or metabolic disorders such as hypercalcemia. It may also be a reaction to surgery or abdominal trauma. If left untreated, pancreatitis can lead not only to loss of appetite, but also to respiratory distress, sepsis, and even bleeding. Prompt treatment is needed to prevent the condition from worsening and becoming fatal.
4. Intestinal obstruction
Sometimes cats swallow things they shouldn't, and these things can lead to intestinal blockage or obstruction. When this happens, your cat may experience abdominal pain or cramps that keep him away from food. Other signs of intestinal obstruction in cats may include fluid accumulation, vomiting, dehydration, lethargy, and weight loss.
5. Kidney disease
Although any cat can develop kidney problems, kidney disease is more common in older cats, and it often causes cats to stop eating. One of the main signs of kidney disease in cats is nausea, although this condition may also cause your cat to become lethargic and he may lose weight. Blood and urine tests can be used to assess kidney function, and while there is no treatment for chronic kidney disease, there are treatments that can address the symptoms and help your cat start eating again.
6. Adverse reactions
Cats need annual vaccinations to protect them from certain infectious and fatal diseases. Unfortunately, some cats have a negative reaction to the vaccines that protect them. If your cat suddenly stops eating after vaccination, this may be a side effect. Fortunately, the loss of appetite due to vaccination is usually mild and short-lived.
Cats are affected by stress just as much as people are, although they do not have the same coping mechanisms to relieve stress. If your cat's stressors continue to exist, her condition may worsen when she stops eating. If your cat stops eating, take the time to identify any potential sources of stress and then talk to your veterinarian to see if something can be done about them.
8. Lifestyle changes
Cats thrive on everyday life - they are creatures of habit, and any major changes to their routine can cause stress. If your cat suddenly stops eating, think about any recent changes. Maybe someone has moved out of the house, or you brought in a new pet. Such things can trigger a negative psychological response in some cats, leading to a loss of appetite. Many cats will also lose their appetite if they find themselves in unfamiliar surroundings - this can happen if you board your cat at home or leave it in the care of a friend while you are out of town.
9. New foods
It's fairly common for pet food manufacturers to make small changes to their recipes, and they don't always have to advertise what they're doing. Many cats have sensitive digestive systems and even small changes in their diet can cause digestive upset and result in your cat losing his or her appetite. If your cat stops eating and it doesn't seem to be connected to anything else, then look at what you are feeding it. Contact the manufacturer to see if they have changed the formula, or consider if you are giving your cat something new, whether it is food or treats. When changing your cat's diet, transition slowly to avoid problems such as digestive upset and loss of appetite.
Cats crave a varied diet just like people do, and if you don't change your diet occasionally, your cat may get bored and stop eating. Not all cats are like this, but some do want a different diet. If this is the case with your cat, look into rotational feeding - some pet food brands offer products designed to rotate feeding to achieve balanced nutrition through the breeds.
If your cat stops eating, take a moment to think about what is causing this behavior change. Look at the time when your cat stopped eating after a specific event, such as a major change in its routine or after a stressful life event. The more you can observe your cat's behavior, the more information you can give your veterinarian to help him make an accurate diagnosis. An accurate diagnosis is the key to successful treatment and getting your cat healthy again.
II. Dietary issues in different life stages
You already know the top 10 reasons why cats stop eating, but there is still a lot to learn on this subject. The reasons your cat stops eating may vary depending on a variety of factors, including its age. Read on to learn about some of the reasons that may affect your cat's appetite at different stages.
Reasons why kittens don't eat
When kittens are first born, they are completely dependent on their mother for everything. The mother cat not only provides the kittens with food in the form of milk but licks them to stimulate breathing and elimination. After three to four weeks, kittens will begin to naturally wean and solid food as soon as you offer it to them. It is usually best to offer wet food or softened, which is easy for a kitten to chew and swallow. If your kitten won't eat solid food, he may just not be fully weaned yet, or there may be a problem with the food itself. Try different flavors of wet food, or soak some beef stroganoff in chicken broth to soften it and add flavor as well. If your kitten has been eating before but suddenly stops, you may want to take him to the vet to see if there is some underlying health problem.
Reasons why adult cats won't eat
There are many potential reasons why adult cats won't eat. Some cats only become picky and will only eat a certain brand or a certain flavor. If your cat is just coming out of the kitten stage, it may be that he doesn't like any of the adult recipes you feed him as much as he likes his kitten food. Many cat food brands make different versions of the same recipe for cats at all stages of their lives, so consider this option if you want to avoid this problem. If you rule out this cause, consider the 10 reasons above for medical problems that may cause adult cats to lose their appetite.
Reasons why older cats don't eat
As your cat gets older, its metabolism slows down and it doesn't need as many calories per day. Most felines are very good at controlling how much they eat, so don't be surprised if your feline starts eating a little less than he used to. However, if your cat suddenly stops eating, it may cause concern. Many older cats develop dental problems that, if left untreated, can make it painful or difficult for your cat to eat. Older cats are also prone to kidney disease, which can cause a loss of appetite, and certain types of cancer may make it difficult for them to eat. It is important to keep track of all of your cat's symptoms so that you can accurately report them to your veterinarian to determine why your cat has stopped eating.
If you take your cat to the vet and rule out a medical cause for your cat's loss of appetite, it may be because he is simply a fussy cat. These methods can improve your cat's appetite.
Try a different brand or formula. Sometimes cats get tired of eating the same flavors or certain ingredients in their food and don't agree with them. If you decide to change your cat's diet, be sure to slowly move it to a portion of new food over a week or so to reduce digestive discomfort.
Add some wet food or meal prep. If your cat is bored with his food, try adding some wet food or meal toppings to make it more appealing. Be sure to reduce the amount of dog poop so you don't overfeed.
Drizzle chicken broth on top. Drizzling a little chicken broth over your cat's wet food will make it softer and easier to eat, and it will add some flavor and an inviting aroma.
Slightly warm it up. If you feed your cat mostly wet food, he may not like it cold in the refrigerator. Try heating it in the microwave for 10 seconds to bring it up to body temperature - the heat will also make the smell more appealing to your cat.
Try a different kind of food. Some cats are picky about their food bowls - they may not like a bowl that is too deep because it shrinks the cat's whiskers. Like Persians and Himalayans, flat-faced felines prefer lighter-colored dishes.
If your cat still won't eat, try limiting its mealtime to 30 minutes instead of leaving its food out all day for it to pick at (or not). Set a regular schedule for meal times by putting your cat's food bowl down for 30 minutes and putting it away. Eventually, the cat will be too hungry to eat and will understand that if he doesn't eat at mealtime, he won't eat at all.
Instead, some cat supplements and dietary supplements are needed to encourage and entice cat food. Supplements like vitamin C powder can make your cat's food more appealing while also providing him with more nutrients. Another great option is to simply add to your cat's existing diet without making any major changes.
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