Common Causes for a Cat that Has Stopped Eating
4 September, 2012

If your cat has stopped eating for more than a day, than it probably is more than his or her being finicky.  A cat can lose his appetite due to illness and/or even discomfort from an injury but understanding why this occurs and what actions to take will help pet owners steer their pet toward recovery.

Cats in particular independent by nature, therefore, it is sometimes hard to detect illness in our feline friends. Often, cat owners do not notice anything is wrong until our beloved stops eating.

The causes for a lack of appetite are many and varied. In some sensitive pets, even slight discomfort due to an injury, upset stomach or a change in home life will result in a complete refusal to eat, while other pets will only stop eating when seriously ill.

The following are among the most common causes of lack of appetite in your cats.

1. Infection and Viruses: Infections and viruses can cause discomfort and pain, which in turn, makes our cats hesitant to eat. Respiratory infections often cause a desire to eat due to the dulled sense of smell caused by congestion.

2. Medication: Many medications result in feelings of nausea and stomach pain, particularly if they’re given on an empty stomach.

3. Tooth Decay/Injury: Tooth and mouth problems like gum disease can cause pain and discomfort to the point to where the cat stops eating.


4. Trauma: Recovering from trauma due to an accident, fight or operation can cause significant pain and discomfort, resulting in a cat who won’t eat.

5. Discomfort from chronic pain: Chronic conditions like arthritis tend to cause discomfort that makes a cat hesitant to eat.

6. Anxiety or emotional distress: Changes in home life, such as the departure of a family member, the arrival of guests, a new baby, or a new pet can be upsetting and distressing to some cats. So a refusal to eat is not uncommon when a cat finds a situation upsetting.

Hairballs: Normal grooming habits result in an accumulation of hair in the cat’s stomach – a hairball – and when that hairball reaches a certain size, it can cause stomach upset and nausea. Ultimately, this leads to the cat bringing up the hairball in the vast majority of cases, but for the few hours preceding the hairball’s emergence, a cat can experience discomfort that leads to lack of appetite.

The Effects of Not Eating

A decrease in appetite is often the first sign of illness in cats, followed by a complete loss of appetite and a refusal to eat. Often our cats will also stop drinking, which is a very urgent situation, as dehydration can lead to organ failure in a matter of hours.

If your cat does not start to eat after 24 hours, it is important to call your vet and take her or him in for an appointment. 

Come and join, Sammy, the site administrator for, and he will be your first friend!

Related Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *