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Why Has My Cat Stopped Eating? Is It An Emergency?

Why Has My Cat Stopped Eating? Is It An Emergency?

It can be quite concerning to realize that your cat has stopped eating. You may wonder whether or not this means that your four-legged friend needs to visit an emergency vet. Here, our Plains veterinarians share some of the common reasons why cats may stop eating and how to tell if your cat's specific case is an emergency. 

Why won't my cat eat?

Cats are famous for being picky eaters. This fact may frustrate many cat owners who have found themselves standing in from of a pantry, considering whether or not their cat will even eat the food they just purchased. 

With all of that being said, if your cat has gone 24 or more hours without eating, an underlying health issue may be at fault.

Gastrointestinal Problems

Just like people, our cats can suffer from gastrointestinal issues that may cause them to feel nauseated and lose their appetite. Sometimes, although not all the time, cats that are suffering from GI issues will show other symptoms like vomiting constipation or diarrhea. 

Some common gastrointestinal issues in cats can include:

  • Objects like a piece of plastic or plant, in your cat’s digestive tract
  • Cancer
  • Colitis
  • Changes in your cat’s intestinal bacteria
  • Parasites
  • Urinary obstructions
  • Cancer
  • Pancreatitis
  • Gastroenteritis

If your notice that your cat is experiencing weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting or other symptoms alongside their reduced appetite, it may very well be time to call your vet. The health issues listed above are quite serious and will require quick medical attention.

Kidney Disease

In aging cats, kidney disease is a relatively common health issue that may cause your four-legged friend to feel nauseated and refuse to eat because of it. Other symptoms can include drinking an excessive amount of water and frequent urination. 

Kidney disease can take one of two forms in cats. Your vet will be able to diagnose your pet and develop a treatment plan for this serious illness. If your senior cat (older than 7 years of age) is displaying symptoms beyond a pause in eating, book an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

Dental Issues

If your cat is bothered by dental issues, they may cause your cat to experience pain in their mouth and refuse to eat. Loose or broken teeth, inflamed gums, dental abscesses, an injury or a foreign object lodged in their mouth can all cause your cat to experience significant pain and stop eating.

If you suspect your cat may be suffering from mouth pain, contact your vet as soon as possible for an appointment so this issue can be diagnosed and treated.

Other Potential Causes

cats can stop eating for a variety of reasons that arent' directly related to their physical health as well. These can include:

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

Any of these issues on their own shouldn't cause your cat to refuse a meal more than once or twice. If your cat doesn't eat for longer than that, it is time to bring them in to your vet's office for an exam.

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

If your cat has missed more than one or two meals or is showing concerning behaviors and symptoms, contact your vet to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Because cats can get severely sick quickly, your furry friend’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.

If your cat refuses to eat for more than 24 hours or is showing concerning symptoms, contact your vet as soon as possible. You can also get in touch with Northeast Veterinary Referral Hospital. We are able to provide 24/7 emergency and specialty services for pets in Plains and beyond. Contact us to learn more.

From Happy Pet Owners

  • What a wonderful alternative when something happens to your babies outside normal vet hours. They treated us and my kitty like family. Explained everything and fixed him right up. He’s not enjoying the cone, but his stitches look great. Thank you to the whole team!
    Kelly C.

(570) 208-8844