Occasionally you may find that your cat seems fussier about its food, only choosing to sample its food before walking away. Perhaps your cat could show signs of refusing to eat whenever you try to set your feline down. Being familiar with your cat’s habits will help you recognize any behavioural changes and you can work out why it may be unwilling or unable to eat as it did before. Here are some reasons why your cat is refusing food.
1. Changes In Routine Or Environment
Cats are very sensitive to changes in routine and atmosphere. It may be something as simple as your having introduced a new cat to your household, as this could arouse feelings of insecurity. A change in the arrangement of furniture could also unsettle your cat.
2. Emotional Problem
Have you been on holiday recently and left your cat with a cat kennel and someone else to look after him daily? A disinterest in food might be due to a simple case of depression. Such minor issues will not present much of a headache for you as they can be dealt with easily.
Offering a little healthy treat to tempt your cat or putting a little bit of meat jelly onto its gums just might persuade it to have a little something to eat. You could also try offering a taste of something your cat really does like, to see whether it’s turning its nose up at what’s being offered, or if there are other reasons for its reluctance to eat.
3. Food Transition
With cats accustomed to receiving carbohydrate-rich food, a switch to a more health conscious diet could be the reason for its disinterest in food. A refusal of food may be a cat’s attempt to show its displeasure in being denied its desires. Your cat may be under the mistaken impression that if it waits long enough you may relent and give in. However, you should also note that putting an overweight cat on a crash diet of low-carbohydrate food can result in your cat refusing to eat for more than two days.
In such circumstances, a prolonged period of rejecting nourishment is likely to result in liver problems as your cat draws on his fat reserves and doesn’t take in the protein which he needs. In other circumstances, should your cat persist in not eating for more than a day or two, it could hint at an underlying health problem. In such situations, a consultation with your veterinarian is advised.
4. Health Problem
Your cat might have a problem with its teeth or jaws which make eating painful or difficult, as would any problems associated with its digestive system. It could be suffering from inflamed gums or a broken tooth, a cut in its mouth, or an abscess in its jaws arising from a deep scratch.
Your feline could also be experiencing discomfort in its stomach or have an intestinal condition which will reduce its appetite. Your veterinarian will advise on the best course of treatment in these scenarios. However, keeping an eye on your cat and its behaviour will help you deal with any problems before they get worse or chronic, and both you and your vet can make sure it has a full and happy life.
Cats, in general, prefer food with a strong smell and soft texture. They prefer the food at either room temperature or slightly warm.
If your cat will not eat, interact with them and let them come to you for attention. If the problem is stress-related, this one-on-one with them may help. If he still won’t eat after a couple of days, consult your vet on what other options there are. If your cat appears to be stressed out by a possible visit to the vet, consider engaging one who will make house halls.
If your cat loves playing in the outdoors, it could be that they’ve been stuffing themselves on what nature provided for them and they really don’t need another meal. They might also have been fed by someone else — be sure to add a tag to your cat’s collar so that strangers know that they are not strays.
Also, if your cat has any problems with their teeth or gums then this will also put them off their food. It is therefore imperative that you deal with the root issue of your oral care by using long term solutions like sprinkling granules onto their foods to help prevent plaques, or to impose a strict teeth cleaning regime.
Be sure to check if their bowls are clean. Cat dishes should be washed at least once a day for dry foods and after every serving for wet foods. Leftover foods allow bacteria to grow which can be harmful to cats, and be doubly sure not to place their food near their litter trays — as the saying goes, ‘don’t eat where you poop’!
If you have been feeding your cat dry food, try changing it more frequently especially in a humid environment as dry food, will absorb water, making it soft and potentially off-putting for your cat. In addition to changing their existing dry foods, try adding a bit of wet food to their diet to mix it up! Cats like a bit of variety, and they can be bored with the taste and texture of crunchy dry foods.
If you are not using dry food but wet food straight from the fridge, consider warming the food before serving them to your cat. Cats are like humans, in that their sense of taste is closely linked to their sense of smell — if they can’t smell their food, they can’t taste it. Cold foods will not smell as much as they do in room or warmer temperatures, so a quick pop in the microwave should get those feline whiskers twitching! And if they are still not attracted by the wet foods, try adding a few biscuits on top to vary the texture. Syringe feed and feeding tubes are viable options if your cats are still not eating, but only use this as a last resort!
In order to recover, encourage your sick feline friend to eat small, frequent meals with high energy, palatable and highly digestible food. Hand-feeding is highly recommended. Meanwhile, fresh water should be available at all times as well. Your veterinarian may suggest giving fluids or liquid food via a syringe if your cat can’t eat on his own.
In general, cats can potentially survive for weeks without eating, but that heavily depends on their water intake and overall health. If your cat fails to eat for more than 1 day, it is highly recommended to bring him to the vet clinic, according to PetMD.
Water is far more essential for a cat’s survival. According to Catological, cats generally can’t survive without water for more than 3 – 4 days before organ failure occurs. Dr. Jenna Ashton explains that the daily water requirement of a cat is roughly a cup per 10 pounds of body weight.
One option is to feed wet food to your cat or to simply add wet food to dry kibble. If wet food isn’t the option, get him a drinking fountain as the flowing water in the fountain can encourage increased water intake.
An adult cat should be fine to be left alone for 2 days as long as fresh water and a sufficient amount of food are accessible at all times. However, it still depends on other factors, including the safety of the environment and the overall health of your cat.
Japanese article: 【猫の食欲不振】ご飯を食べない猫の原因と食べさせ方