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Hunger Strikes: Why Your Cat Won’t Eat

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There are many urban legends and idioms surrounding cats and their resilience – including the idea that cats have nine lives or land on their feet all the time. However, our feline friends are also some of the most sensitive pets and can be prone to depression, anxiety or illness when change occurs. When your cat stops eating it’s usually trying to alert you to the fact that something is wrong in the only way it knows how.

Here are ZippiVet’s top five reasons why your cat won’t eat.

Illness and Pain:

If your cat is ill, one of the first symptoms may be their lack of appetite and disinterest in food. Illnesses that can affect your cat’s appetite range from serious (infections, kidney failure, intestinal issues, the flu, cancer) to simple (an upset stomach). So it’s important to continue to observe your cat for symptoms including weight loss, vomiting, or diarrhea and bring your cat to Zippivet for a complete diagnosis.

Dental Problems:

Your cat may be avoiding food due to toothaches or pain when eating, especially if it’s an older cat. Common dental issues for cats include feline stomatitis (swelling and ulcers of the mouth), tooth resorption or fractured teeth.

Internal Obstructions:

Sometimes a curious kitten may get into something they’re not supposed to and, well, eat it. Foreign objects can get caught in your cat’s stomach. Common culprits include: string, small cat toys, tinsel, string lights, rubber bands, etc. These items may lodge themselves in the cat’s GI tract or wrap around intestines causing intense pain.

Depression or Anxiety:

Cats can be super sensitive to change. If you have recently moved, returned from a vacation, moved in with new people, changed your schedule or introduced a new pet to the home, these could all trigger psychological issues in your kitty leading to lack of appetite or food strikes.

Fickle Eating Habits:

Some cats are just plain fickle. Have you recently changed the brand of food or switched from wet to dry (or vice versa)? Perhaps your kitty is the high maintenance sort and is on a hunger strike when you switch from the Fancy Feast to the generic kibble.

What to do if your cat won’t eat:

If you notice other symptoms of illness including: weight loss, diarrhea, hair loss, excessive hiding, constipation, bleeding gums or teeth, or swelling in the mouth; bring your cat to your ZippiVet immediately so they can check for illness, dental disease or internal obstructions and provide a proper diagnosis.

If you chalk feline loss of appetite up to fickleness or psychological issues try to tempt your kitty with small quantities of tuna or liver or warm up some canned wet food.  Also, bring your kitty into ZippiVet to meet with one of the trained vets to address their dietary and nutritional needs and find a proper nutrition regime that will keep both you and your kitty happy.
Contact ZippiVet to set up an appointment or discuss your cat’s diet today.