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My Cat Won't Eat - Is It An Emergency?

We understand how concerning it can be when you notice your cat isn't eating, and how it can make you wonder if it's an emergency. Today our Windsor vets discuss some reasons why your cat isn't eating and when you should go to a vet.

Why Won't My Cat Eat?

Cats are known for being picky eaters, and this alone is enough to be frustrating for a cat owner. Because this means they have to browse the pet food aisle for a flavour their kitty will like. However, if your cat goes 24 hours or longer without eating,  there could be an underlying health condition triggering this lack of appetite.

Gastrointestinal Problems

As it is with people, cats can experience gastrointestinal (GI) problems that could make them feel nauseous or make them lose their appetite. In many cases, however not always, cats suffering from GI issues will display other symptoms such as weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.

Common GI conditions in cats include:

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

If you find your cat is losing weight, vomiting, experiencing diarrhea, or constipation along with a reduced appetite, you need to call the vet as soon as you can.

Gastrointestinal issues such as the ones listed above are serious and your cat might require emergency care. Having these issues diagnosed and treated early on is critical to your cat’s health.

Kidney Disease

This condition is relatively common in older cats. It can make your feline friend feel nauseated, which could result in a refusal to eat. Other symptoms include drinking an excessive amount of water or urinating frequently.

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, schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as you can.

Dental Issues

If dental issues are bothering your pet, it can make your cat experience pain in their mouth and lead to 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, prompting them to stop eating.

If you believe your cat is suffering from mouth pain, contact your vet as soon as possible to book an appointment so this problem can be diagnosed and treated.

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

Other Potential Causes

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

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

Any of these problems should not have your cat refusing 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 has skipped more than one or two meals or is displaying any behaviors or symptoms that are concerning you, contact us to book an appointment.

Because cats can get very 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 over 24 hours or is showing any of the concerning symptoms mentioned above, contact our Windsor vets immediately. Our experienced emergency vets are available 24/7, 365 days a year to help your pet.

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(860) 688-8400