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My Cat Is Not Eating - Is It An Emergency?

My Cat Is Not Eating - Is It An Emergency?

We understand that it can be worrying to find your cat not eating. That's why our knowledgeable Santa Clarita vets are here to share the signs and symptoms you should look for when your cat is not eating, and when it is an emergency.

Why Is My Cat Not Eating?

Cats are known for being picky eaters and this can be frustrating for many cat parents. Many pet owners have had to scavenge the cat food aisle looking for a new food that their kitty would hopefully like.

However, if your feline friend hasn't eaten in 24 hours or more, there could be an underlying health issue. 

Gastrointestinal Issues

Cats can experience gastrointestinal (GI) problems that can make them feel nauseated and lose their appetite (just like humans). Usually, but not always, cats suffering from GI issues will display other symptoms such as weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.

GI issues that are common in cats include:

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

If you notice that your cat is experiencing weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation in addition to a reduced appetite, visit your vet as soon as possible.

Gastrointestinal problems such as the ones listed above are serious and your cat could need urgent care. Getting these issues diagnosed and treated early on is critical to the health of your cat.

Kidney Disease

This is a relatively common condition among older cats. It may make your kitty feel nauseated, which could result in a refusal to eat. Other symptoms include drinking large amounts of water or frequent urination.

Kidney disease can take one of two forms in cats. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose your cat and develop a treatment plan for this serious illness. If your senior cat is over 7 years old and is displaying symptoms beyond a lack of appetite, book an appointment with your vet immediately.

Dental Issues

If your cat is suffering from a dental issue it can cause them pain in their mouth and lead 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 issues can cause a lot of pain, motivating them to stop eating.

If you think your cat might be experiencing mouth pain, call your vet as soon as possible for an appointment so this issue can be diagnosed and treated.

Your vet will examine your cat, then perform a comprehensive dental cleaning of your kitty's teeth before diagnosing and addressing any problems that might be causing them pain.

Other Potential Causes

Cats can stop eating for various reasons not directly related to their general physical health, including:

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

Any of these issues shouldn't make your cat refuse more than one or two meals. If your cat won’t eat for any longer than this, schedule an appointment with a veterinarian.

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

If your cat skips more than a meal or two or is displaying any behaviors or symptoms that are concerning you, contact us to schedule an appointment.

Because cats can get severely sick quickly, your kitty’s long-term health might 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 hasn't eaten in 24 or hours or more, or they are exhibiting other symptoms that are worrying you contact our Santa Clarita veterinarians immediately.

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