There will be times when your cat isn’t going to be too keen on eating his food.
And for conscientious owners, a bowl of untouched food is enough to cause some concern.
Most of the time , though there’s a perfectly innocent explanation for a cat’s lack of appetite – sometimes not.
Reasons Why Your Cat May Lack Appetite
There are numerous reasons why your cat is off his food but acting normal. Here are some the most common reasons for poor appetite in cats.
Stress is known to affect appetite in cats and can be the result of a change in home environment or the introduction of a new house guest.
It may also be caused by a rival cat infringing on its territory, whether outside or indoors.
Once that cat leaves the vicinity, or the source of stress is removed, your cat might revert to its normal eating habits.
However, this isn’t really going to be possible if you’ve introduced a new cat into the house.
You might therefore want to consider separating the feeding areas.
Type of Cat Food
Unfortunately, there is no one food that’s going to appeal to all cats.
Like people, our furry friends often have their own preferences and will react differently to certain meals.
As mentioned, some cats are notoriously picky eaters that develop selective feeding habits.
It could also be that your cat has simply got bored with his meals.
So try mixing up the flavours to see what he likes best.
On the other hand, if you’ve recently changed your cat’s normal food and he’s turning his nose up at it, then that’s a pretty strong hint that it’s not working out.
Try changing it back to see if his appetite returns. Bear in mind that cats also have their favourite flavours!
Dry or Wet Food
Cats that have been fed kibble for a long time may get a little bored given the lack of taste. This is because wet cat food is usually far more flavoursome.
It also contains more moisture which helps keep a cat hydrated.
If you’ve been exclusively feeding your cat dry food, consider introducing wet food as well. Ideally you should be serving him both.
It may be that your cat has a dental issue.
While things like toothache can cause a cat to become aggressive or lead to sensitivity around the mouth area, symptoms are not always obvious.
Then there areconditions such as Gingivitis and Periodontitis.
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums. In addition to bleeding and pungent breath, symptoms include tooth-ache.
Periodontitis is an infection in the gum line that also results inflammation, as well as a persistent dull pain.
Both of these conditions might explain why your cat refuses food but otherwise appears normal.
Cats are known to have extremely sensitive digestive systems. So an upset stomach is a quite a common issue.
Diet, stress and parasites such as fleas or worms can cause tummy upset. Other symptoms include lethargy and vomiting.
Loss of appetite is usually a tell-tale sign of stomach upset as well.
Given that stomach issues can vary in severity, your cat may seem fine if he’s suffering from a mild upset.
Although cat vaccinations are administered to protect the health of your feline friend, they can cause a few side effects. Loss of appetite is one of them.
In the vast majority of cases, this is temporary, lasting a couple of days at the most. Should your cat’s indifference to food continue for more than two days, consult your vet.
Cats are very sensitive creatures and can get depressed just like humans. And like their bipedal masters, the symptoms of depression tend to be the same.
They include excessive sleeping, spraying, changes in bathroom habits and poor appetite.
Attentive owners are probably going to figure out that their beloved cat is feeling a bit vulnerable emotionally. The key is to work out why.
Causes of depression may include the introduction of a new cat or guest to the household, environmental changes and even the loss of a sibling or loved one.
Serious Gastrointestinal Issues
Your cat might also be suffering from pain during the digestion of food which is putting him off eating.
There are numerous causes, some of which we’ve included below. All require urgent attention and a visit to your local vet.
Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that results in numerous symptoms, among them loss of appetite, inflammation and swelling, diarrhoea, weight loss and fatigue.
Some of the most common symptoms are feline cancer include vomiting, weight loss and a loss of appetite for food and water.
Gastritis describes the inflammation of the stomach lining, resulting in pain, nausea and vomiting.
It can be caused by an infection or certain medications.
Lack of appetite is also a known symptom.
Gastrointestinal Blockage or Obstruction
Gastrointestinal obstruction can occur in cats when the stomach or intestines are narrowed or blocked.
This often happens when your cat ingests a foreign body.
Although this could potentially pass on its own, you should consult a vet if you suspect a blockage to be the issue.
Stomach ulcers sometimes cause a change in appetite, accompanied by vomiting and diarrhoea.
A combination of factors is often behind ulcers such as diet, stress and genetics.
How Long Can Cats Go Without Food?
Cats need to eat everyday regardless of their age or activity levels.
Generally-speaking though, cats can usually go without food for a few hours.
In fact, in some cases cats can fast for days if they’ve fed well before abstention.
Nonetheless, should your cat refuse food for more than two days then it’s probably time to speak to your vet.
In most cases, your cat will return to his normal eating habits naturally. After all, refusing food is extremely common among our feline friends.
It’s also common for cats to lick their food before rejecting it.
You might simply have lost track of your cat’s feeding routine. This is easily done, especially in multi-cat households.
So try to observe your cat’s eating habits carefully.
If, after two days you’re still convinced that he’s not eating the food that you put down, consult your vet just to be sure that everything’s alright.
If you’re not in contact with or vet and/or you’d like to get help fast, it’s possible to get vet help fast on a 24 basis.
Companies such as AirVet, Fuzzy and Pawp all provide access to vets around the clock via an app.