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My Cat Won't Eat - Is This an Emergency?

My Cat Won't Eat - Is This an Emergency?

While cats may occasionally slow down on their food intake, it's uncommon for them to stop eating for an extended period of time unless there is an underlying cause. Our Rancho Cucamonga vets share some information on the different reasons why your cat won't eat and when it might be considered an emergency.

Is your cat not eating? Here are some possible reasons why.

Cats are notorious for being picky about their food. Many pet parents have dreaded the day that they need to change their cat's food for one reason or another. We all know that our feline friends will likely turn their noses up at the new food. Even so, they all tend to give in eventually.

However, if more than 24 hours have passed and your cat is still not eating then you may have an entirely different issue on your hands.

Gastrointestinal Problems

One of the most common issues is GI or gastrointestinal problems. If your cat is suffering from GI concerns then you may witness other symptoms such as weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation.

Some of the most frequently seen GI problems are:

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

If you notice that your cat is experiencing weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation along with a reduced appetite, it’s time to call the vet.

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

Kidney Disease / Kidney Failure

For older cats, this is a relatively common condition that may cause your feline friend to feel nauseated, which may result in a refusal to eat. You may also notice that your cat's water intake has increased drastically and that they are using the litter box more often.

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, book an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

Dental Issues / Oral Health Concerns

If dental issues are bothering her, this can cause your cat to experience pain in her 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 significant pain, prompting them to stop eating.

If you suspect your cat may be suffering from mouth pain, contact your vet as soon as possible for an appointment so this issue can be diagnosed and treated.

Your vet will examine your cat, and then perform a thorough dental cleaning of your four-legged friend’s teeth before diagnosing and addressing any issues that may be causing pain.

Other Possible Causes Why Your Cat Won't Eat

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

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

Any of these issues should not cause your cat to refuse more than one or two meals. If your cat won’t eat for any longer than this, it’s time to book an appointment with a veterinarian.

When should I contact the vet if my cat won’t eat?

If your cat has skipped more than one or two meals or is exhibiting any behaviors or symptoms that are causing you concern, contact us to schedule an appointment.

Because cats can get severely sick quickly, your furry friend’s long-term health may 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.

Has it been more than 24 hours since your cat last willingly ate? Contact our vets in Rancho Cucamonga right away.

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Rancho Regional Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Rancho Cucamonga companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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