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Why Your Cat Is Refusing to Eat

Most living creatures need to eat several times a day in order to maintain optimum health. If you notice that your cat isn’t eating, it is only natural that you would be concerned. Maybe your cat is eating less and less, or perhaps he or she is refusing to eat entirely. It is important to take your cat to a veterinarian if there are abrupt changes in their appetite, or if your cat flat out refuses to eat. Before you rush your cat to the doctor, there are some things you can do to spot problems and try to reverse the situation.

The most benign explanation as to why your cat doesn’t seem too keen to eat is that he or she simply doesn’t like the food. If you have recently adopted a cat, ask its former owner or the animal shelter what the cat was used to eating prior to the adoption. Try to offer your cat either the same food they ate before, or something as similar as possible. Keep testing foods to see what your cat prefers. Make sure you offer a blend of wet and dry foods. The wet foods can be purchased in high-protein, low calorie varieties, while the dry food is filled with carbohydrates and can give the teeth a workout.

If you don’t think that the particular type of food is to blame for your cat’s reluctance to eat, it may be due a medical condition. It could be something minor, or could be due to a gastrointestinal problem, cancer or something else. Your veterinarian should check your cat to rule out any severe health problems. You should also make note of whether your cat is drinking enough fluids, as he or she should be encouraged to drink as well.


Your cat may lose his or her appetite due to a temporary issue, such as an after effect from vaccines. Pets receive more vaccinations than humans, with some shots being given annually. Your pet may experience listlessness, moodiness or loss of appetite following shots. This should pass in a few days, but if it persists, you should seek medical attention for your pet. Recent studies have shown that pets do not need to be given shots every year, but they should definitely be vaccinated. You should ask your veterinarian more information to determine whether your cat truly needs so many vaccinations.

It can be upsetting when a pet decides not to eat, particularly because you cannot ask the cat why he isn’t eating. He or she can’t tell you that the food isn’t to their liking or that they have a stomach ache and are too tired to eat. If you cat is eating less than usual, that may be due to age or a more sedentary lifestyle that doesn’t make your cat work up an appetite. Always consult with a veterinarian when there is an interruption in your cat’s eating and determine if there are underlying problems causing it. Most appetite loss is temporary and clears up within a few days, but you should also rule out medical problems.

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