Cats are a fussy bunch sometimes, but if your cat refuses food for more than two or three meals, this could point to some serious underlying issues and you’ll need to visit your vet sooner rather than later. While dogs can comfortably go a few days without eating, missing meals is much more serious for a cat. Cats have a very specific nutritional requirements and if they’re not eating properly, it can have severe consequences, even potentially leading to conditions like hepatic lipidosis, a form of liver disease that can prove fatal to your cat.
If your cat skips more than 2 or 3 meals then you should take them to see a vet immediately. There are several possible underlying medical issues that could be causing your cat to stop eating including dental issues, constipation or kidney disease. Your vet will recommend the best course of action and advise on any treatment that is required. They may be prescribed medication or some form of special protein product to help build them up again.
If your vet cannot identify any underlying medical issues, there are a couple of common, less serious reasons that could be putting your cat off their food. For example, any big changes in their life (or yours!), like a house move, new pet or the arrival of a baby can cause your cat to suffer with stress and anxiety. If you think this may be the cause, try and create a ‘safe haven’ for your cat to hide away in until things calm down a bit. Giving them somewhere warm and quiet to sleep, as well as plenty of affection and attention should help to alleviate their stress.
As we all know, cats are notoriously fussy and other, more mundane things could cause meal skipping. Make sure you are washing out their food bowl carefully as some cats will turn their nose up if they get the scent of old food. Your cat may also be bored of the food you’re giving them. Try buying a new brand of food, or giving them a different flavour to eat, usually the smellier the better! Sometimes warming up their food slightly can help entice them back into eating, as the smell will more easily reach their noses.
Whatever you do, you should never force feed your cat as this can cause feline pneumonia and make them even more poorly. Whenever you have concerns about your pet’s health, it’s always best to take them to the vet to have a proper assessment.