What to do When Your Cat Goes off their Food

What to do When Your Cat Goes off their Food

Health & Safety

It can be extremely worrying when a cat goes off their food and you can't even tempt them to take a mouthful of a favourite treat. The thing about our feline friends is they cannot go for very long without eating because they are “designed” to eat little and often throughout a twenty four hour period. When they miss a meal or their routine is compromised for whatever reason, their entire well-being and physiology gets completely messed up.

Owners need to keep a close eye on their pet's eating habits and if any change is evident, it's really important to find out why which means a quick trip to the vet would be in order sooner rather than later or you may find your pussy cat develops a dangerous condition known as hepatic lipidosis.

First Steps to Take When a Cat Goes off Their Food

The first thing you need to establish is whether your pet is off their food because they simply don't like it which can happen from time to time. However, it's not just the food they may no longer like it could be that you changed something else which includes where you normally feed your pet. Cats don't like it when anything happens that involves interrupting or changing their “routine” and it could the smallest of things that upsets them. If you have just bought a new feed bowl, it might not be the sort of thing your pussy cat likes eating out of and as such they just won't touch anything you put in it.

The only way to find out if any of the above could be responsible for your cat going off their food is to put everything back to how it was and then see what happens. If you find it is the food that's the cause of the problem, check the sell by dates and make sure it's still fresh which is particularly important if you feed dry food you buy in bulk. It could even be because you were unlucky enough to have bought a “bad” batch of food and if this is the case, you need to take it back to the place you bought it from.

The next step is to try and tempt your cat with one of their favourite foods whether it's tinned or home-made. However, the more aromatic the food is, the more chance your cat will be tempted by it and the best way to get it “smelling” good is to warm it up to around 100 °F which is normal body temperature. Some cats like to be petted when they are being encouraged to eat, although not all of them appreciate it but it's always worth trying. If nothing you do or try to tempt them to eat works, it's time to take them to the vet for a thorough check-up. When making the appointment you need to let the vet know how long it's been since your cat last had a meal so they realise the urgency of things.

Diagnosing a Problem

Occasionally, a vet would be able to find out why a cat is off their food just by giving them a full physical examination. This could include finding your pet is suffering from a dental problem, or maybe they find a lump on their stomach. It's at this point they would be able to recommend a treatment. However, if nothing obvious is found, the vet would need to carry out blood and other tests which may well include a urinalysis and taking x-rays. Very occasionally, they might need to carry out a tissue biopsy in order to find out what is going on.

If the vet is lucky enough to diagnose a health condition quickly, your cat would regain their appetite in no time, but sadly all too often finding out what is going on takes quite a bit of time which is when a vet would recommend keeping your cat at the surgery to make sure they get enough fluids. These are given intravenously as a way of making sure vital organs are not compromised and to keep your cat going. If they don't regain their appetites, a vet may even need to place a tube in your cat which they would do surgically to ensure your pet is getting all the nourishment, water and medicines they need until they recover and start eating on their own again.


It can be a very worrying time when a cat goes off their food and cannot be tempted to take a mouthful of a favourite treat. The thing about cats is they cannot go for a very long time without food because it can lead to all sorts of secondary health issues which can be hard to treat. If your cat has not eaten for a day or so and you think there is something nasty going on, you need to get them along to see the vet as soon as you can so a correct diagnosis can be made. Once the problem has been established the vet would be in a position to recommend the right sort of treatment to get your pussy cat back on the road to recovery so they start eating again and regain their strength.

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