Cat Is Hungry But Won’t Eat

Cats have a way of understanding what they do.

When they’re hungry but won’t eat, it’s your responsibility to check them thoroughly. Symptoms such as whining and chewing may indicate a malfunction.

When you notice these signs, you need to take steps to feed your cat.

So, why is my cat hungry but won’t eat?

Cats are finicky eaters and won’t eat if they’re not hungry enough or don’t feel well. Besides illness, other possible causes of cat not eating include giving them the wrong food type or quantity or giving them food they don’t like the taste of.

If your cat is young and still learning to eat, it might be picky about what it eats and you need to slowly introduce new foods to it.

Let’s dive into it now!

Why Is My Cat Not Eating But Seems Hungry?

Cat not eating much but behaving like it’s hungry calls for your attention because the problem could be serious.

Perhaps your cat has an upset stomach but seems to enjoy drinking water excessively.

It might also be related to pain, so it needs you to give it the right treatment as soon as possible.

Dislike For Food

Every cat owner has experienced the following situation at some point of time; your cat refuses to eat but seems to be in hunger.

Cats may be picky eaters, and you might not like to offer them just anything on a plate.

It is fairly uncommon to come across a cat that will not eat at all, but it is a common occurrence for a cat to refuse to have some of the foods you serve it.

Cats may become allergic to various foods, and they may not like some of them.

Cats are particularly sensitive to proteins found in fish or beef; if your cat has a fish allergy, it might end up not eating anything.

They may be switched off to kibbles, so you need to choose canned foods for your cat.

You should also consider the food’s caloric value because your cat should only be fed what it needs for its weight.

Stale kibble or rotting canned foods might kill your cat’s appetite without offering it anything substantial to eat, so it is important to take care of them properly.


Cats may develop food allergies, and it might be difficult to eliminate that allergy from their diet.

It’s both a natural survival instinct and a form of social grooming, and sometimes the cat will lick itself until the hairs are wet.

Wheezing, bloating, itchy skin, coughing, sneezing, vomiting and diarrhea are symptoms of allergies that happen because the cat is ingesting something in its food that is making it sick.

Cats that have previously showed intolerance to certain ingredients may develop a food allergy over time.

As a consequence, the pet will end up with a constant sense of hunger.

Depending on the severity of the allergy your cat might stop eating altogether and go hungry for several days, even a couple of weeks before it starts showing any interest in food again.


If your cat licks at food but spits it out shortly afterwards, it may be caused by injuries in the mouth or throat.

Trauma may be severe, such as a toothache or broken bones in the jaw or head.

It is also possible to have minor wounds in the mouth or throat that are causing the cat problems when eating.

When your cat drinks or eats something and shows obvious signs of displeasure, it is time to get them checked out by your vet.

Panic and Anxiety

Anxiety and stress can manifest in a number of ways in cats, including loss of appetite and vomiting.

A nervous cat may refuse food even if you have already prepared it.

This might last one or a few hours or it might go on for days, even weeks.

Cats efficiently conceal their fear of contact with humans; this may involve biting and spitting out food when the owner is trying to feed it.

If left untreated, a panic and anxiety problem might develop into a full-fledged phobia of hands.

Moving or having a new person in the house is another common cause of anxiety and distress in cats, especially if the new arrival is around when the other pet is being fed.

Give it some time, and the cat will get used to the newcomer and the situation will return to normal.

What Do I Do If My Cat Is Hungry But Won’t Eat?

If your cat is hungry but refuses to eat, there are several reasons underlying this behavior.

Keep a watch on the cat over the next couple of days to check how it behaves when hungry.

Consult a veterinarian if the cat’s eating behavior changes noticeably and it refuses to eat for more than a day.

If necessary, your kitty’s appetite can be stimulated with treats of tuna juice or canned cat food.

These stimulate hunger pangs and induce the cat to munch on food if it hasn’t yet lost interest in food.

They are usually pastes made of meat or fish that cats love unless they have food allergies.

Even if the cat does not want food, it at least needs to be fed with-cooked feline foods, since raw diets have not been found to be suitable for domestic cats.

If your cat continues to refuse to eat, a veterinary checkup is a must to rule out any medical conditions that might need treatment.

The latter should only be done after consulting a veterinarian.

How Can You Stop a Hungry Cat From Eating?

The only way to get your cat to eat is to make the starving cat realize that food is in abundance and available at any time.

Mixing his favorite meal with the meal you serve your cat will trick the cat into thinking there is plenty to eat and he will be less likely to go hungry.

As long as the cat can smell and taste the food, it is more probable that it will get back on the food cycle and will eat regularly again.

Keep an eye out for signals that your cat is sick and needs medical assistance.

If your cat is sneezing or swallowing its food without chewing it thoroughly, it might be a sign of cat flu.

Find out what components are in the wet cat food you are feeding your cat and if there are any ingredients that may be poisoning the cat.

If you just feed one brand, chances are that there is something wrong with it, so buy several types of cat food that your cat likes and feed it one kind at a time on a daily basis.

To keep your fussy cat engaged, use a food bowl and teach the cat to eat out of the bowl instead of just digging in a meal from the floor or countertop.

Make an appointment with your veterinarian to find out more about cat food ingredients and what is healthy for cats to eat to avoid food poisoning.

The only method to restore your finicky cat’s appetite to its normal state is to observe the length of its nose and ears to see if they are normal.

To reduce pet obesity, it is recommended that you cut back on the dry food you are feeding your cat and add more wet food to its diet.

Carry most of the cat’s previous food in the litter box itself and wait for the cat to sense its presence and get back to the food cycle on its own.

When your cat has all of his meals in the same spot, it may get accustomed to the smell and associate it with its meals, and the cat may stop eating altogether.

Keep your new pet in a clean environment and make it familiar with its surroundings and people right from the start to avoid accidents and sickness.

Try several brands of cat litter to find one that your fussy cat likes.

How Much Should I Feed A Starving Cat?

Wet food and canned food are the greatest solutions for a finicky cat.

You may provide your rescued cat with dry food or mix it with its favorite wet food or canned food to get your cat eating regularly again.

This will help the cat’s digestive system adjust to the new type of food.

Also Read: I Hit My Cat – Will It Hate Me?


If you noticed that your cat isn’t eating and it’s showing symptoms, it’s your responsibility to check thoroughly.

You need to check your cat’s eyes and teeth for problems and make sure your pet is in good health. If your cat has health problems or doesn’t eat enough, consult a vet instantly.

If your cat is healthy but won’t eat, you might want to try feeding it wet food and see if it starts eating again.

If your cat is old and sick or recovering from an illness, it might only be able to eat wet food.

If your cat is picky and won’t eat wet food, try feeding it canned food instead.

Determine the source of your cat’s problem and get your pet back in good health as soon as possible.

Allow your veterinarian to treat any illnesses that your cat has suffered from before introducing new foods to its diet.

If you have a finicky cat, make sure it stays healthy by making sure it is eating right.