It may be alarming to see that your cat has suddenly stopped eating. It can also be difficult to determine whether or not your feline companion requires an emergency veterinary visit because of this. Here, our Montecito vets share some of the common reasons why cats may stop eating and how to tell if they are in an emergency situation.
Why would my cat stop eating?
Cats are known for their picky eating habits! Many a cat owner has found themselves scanning pet food shelves for new, interesting flavors of canned food and kibble their furry friends will love.
All of that being said, if your cat doesn';t eat for longer than 24 hours, there may be an underlying health issue at the root of their loss of appetite.
A relatively common condition in older cats, kidney disease may cause your fluffy friend to feel nauseated, which can lead to a refusal to eat. Other symptoms include drinking lots of water and urinating frequently.
There are two common forms of kidney disease found in cats. Only your vet will be able to diagnose and create a treatment plan for them, though. If you have a cat over 7 years of age who has stopped eating or is showing other signs of kideny disease, make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.
A number of dental issues can cause your cat to experience pain in their mouth, resulting in a refusal to eat. An injury in their mouth caused by a foreign object, dental abscess, inflamed gums, advanced tooth decay or loose or broken teeth can all cause significant pain.
If you suspect that your cat is suffering from pain or discomfort in their mouth, bring them into your vet as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment planning. After your vet has exmained your cat, they will be able to complete a comprehensive dental cleanings of your feline friend's teeth and diagnose any health issues that may be causing them pain.
Just like their humans, gastrointestinal (GI) problems can cause cats to feel nauseated and consequently, experience a drop in their appetite. Cats suffering from GI issues will often (but not always) display other symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, constipation and weight loss.
Common GI issues in cats include:
- Urinary obstruction
- Foreign object, such as a piece of plastic or plant, in your cat’s digestive tract
- Changes in your cat’s intestinal bacteria
It’s time to see your vet if you notice that your cat is experiencing weight loss, diarrhea, constipation or vomiting in addition to losing her appetite.
Gastrointestinal issues, including the ones listed above, are serious and may warrant emergency care. Getting a diagnosis and early treatment for these GI issues is important for your cat’s health, and should be done as early as possible.
Other Possible Causes
Cats may refuse to eat for a number of reasons not directly related to their overall physical health, including:
- New food
- Shift in normal routines
- Recent vaccinations
- Motion sickness due to travel
These health issues should only cause your cat to skip, at most, two meals. If your feline companion refuses to eat for longer than that, bring them into your vet for a checkup.
If my cat refuses to eat, when should I visit a vet?
If your cat has skipped more than one or two meals, or is exhibiting any behaviors or symptoms you’re concerned about, come to our emergency vet office in Greensboro right away. Call ahead if possible.
Because cats can quickly become seriously ill, early diagnosis and treatment are critical to your feline friend’s long term health.
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.