Cats can be renowned for their fussy eating habits, but if your cat won’t eat (and actually, you should never offer them cream!), it’s a serious issue. Our in-house vet Dr Suzanne Moyes is on hand with some must-read advice...
Posted: 09 February 2020
Cats and food is always an interesting one. Unlike dogs, to whom food is often the ultimate reward, felines are noted for turning their perfectly formed little noses up at their dinner for no apparent reason. And, while the occasionally outburst of food fussiness is nothing to worry about, if your cat has obviously stopped eating, this can be a real cause for concern.
Not eating can have an impact on your cat’s health even after as little as 24 hours. For a kitten, especially if they’re younger than six weeks old, avoiding food for just 12 hours can be damaging.
Burgess in-house vet Dr Suzanne Moyes says: “Not eating is really dangerous for cats. When animals don’t eat enough, they must rely on their fat reserves for energy. Before stored fat can be used for fuel, it must be processed by the liver, which requires adequate supplies of protein. With rapid weight loss, protein supplies are soon exhausted and the liver becomes overwhelmed by fat. This results in a serious condition known as hepatic lipidosis, which can lead to liver failure. That’s why it’s extremely important to monitor your cat closely and, if you’re worried, promptly seek veterinary help.”
There are many possible reasons why your cat is off their food. Dr Moyes advises: “Loss of appetite in felines can be a clinical sign of various health problems. These could be, for example, dental disease, mouth injury, internal obstruction or even anxiety. It’s also essential to determine whether a cat won’t eat or can’t eat.”
The first step to helping your feline friend is to look out for signs that can help your vet get to the root of the problem. These include:
Giving your vet as much information as possible will help them diagnose the problem and provide the correct treatment.
Your vet will ask you about your cat’s recent medical history and what unusual signs you have noticed. A clinical examination will follow to check overall condition and to see if there are any painful responses or injuries. Your vet may also need to perform blood tests, urine tests, x-rays or ultrasound.
If you cat is found to have dental disease and sore teeth, they made need teeth extracted under general anaesthetic. If your cat is diagnosed with a disease, infection or illness, treatment may include intravenous fluids (a drip) to correct dehydration, antibiotics, antiemetics (anti-vomiting medication) and stomach protectants. If your cat has eaten a foreign object, such as elastic bands or wool, surgery may be needed.
Dr Moyes adds: “Regular check-ups with your vet are vital as they can pick up early signs of some conditions, such as dental disease, that if left may cause eating problems later on. Annual vaccinations will also prevent diseases that your cat may contract and make them unwell, which can also affect appetite and lead to further health issues.”
WHY YOUR CAT IS A FUSSY EATER Cats can be on the picky side, but there are some very good reasons why this is the case
WHY CATS WHO HATE VETS SHOULD LEARN TO LOVE THEM Our pet cats are highly skilled at hiding when they’re not well, which is why regular visits to the vets are vital. But what can you do to help your wary feline find the whole vet experience less stressful?
DENTAL CARE FOR CATS Could your cat have a problem with their teeth? Our in-house vet Dr Suzanne Moyes explains the signs to look out for and advises on how to keep your feline’s pearly whites clean and healthy – from daily brushing to a good diet
CATS AND THE BENEFITS OF NEUTERING Our in-house vet Dr Suzanne Moyes looks at why neutering your cat is an essential part of responsible pet ownership, what’s involved, and how it can affect your cat’s nutrition needs
Sources: petgp.co.uk, vetsnow.com