Cat Licks Food But Doesn’t Eat – What Happens?

Cats are quick to detect food that needs eating, and they don’t hesitate when it comes to feeding.

Some cats will lick their meals, but it doesn’t mean that they’ve tasted all the food. Sometimes they’ll simply refuse a particular food.

So, Why does my cat lick his food but doesn’t eat? There are several reasons why cats lick their food but don’t eat it.

First, cats may simply not be hungry or thirsty enough to eat the food that’s been prepared for them; for instance, if they are feeling depressed or lethargic. Second, cats may have a weak appetite; they may simply not be hungry enough to eat their food at the moment.

Third, cats may not like the taste of their food; they may have a food allergy or intolerance to certain ingredients. Finally, cats may have an upset stomach or gastrointestinal problems; for instance, caused by eating spoiled food.

Let’s dive into it now!

Why Does My Cat Lick His Food But Doesn’t Eat?

Your cat is licking food because she refuses to eat and seems to be something not quite right with her mouth.


Cats are clean creatures by nature, and they don’t feel comfortable eating from a messy bowl.

If you feed them from a soiled bowl, your cat’s tongue becomes dirty and she doesn’t want to eat from that dirty dish.

It’s also worth noting that, although your cat may not eat her meal, she will eat the leftovers in her bowl later – so make sure your kitty has clean bowls and that her food is fresh.

Before feeding your cat, give her a bath to get the dirt off her fur and off her mouth and claws.


Cats dislike deep dishes with steep edges because they can’t easily climb in or out of them and because they can’t reach their food without balancing themselves on the dish.

When it comes to eating, cats are especially picky about their food – it’s not only a matter of taste, but also a matter of balance.

As a result, keep the bowl or dish shallow and wide so that your kitty can easily eat the food from the top without putting too much strain on her joints and back.

Choose shallow-sided bowls to also make it more comfortable for you to wash your cat’s dishes.


Cats dislike it when their whiskers hit the food while they’re scooping it out of their bowls.

If the diameter of your dish is too small, the whiskers come into contact with the food and make your cat refuse to eat from it.

They may also lick their food from a dish instead of eating it, in order to avoid touching the food with their whiskers.

For the greatest outcomes, give your cat a medium-sized bowl made of ceramic, glass or stainless steel.

Food Bowl Issues

The food dish might reflect inverted glare and cause the cat to stop eating.

Food bowls can reflect a lot of heat that can hurt a cat’s eyes; as a result, they stop eating and drinking water when they are in the line of sight of the bowl’s surface reflection.

One way to avoid this from happening is by placing food bowls on dark-colored surfaces or by using bowls made of dark-colored or translucent materials.

Another way to avoid a cat’s eye from being harmed is by positioning the food bowl away from direct sunlight or bright lights.

Some cats may be sensitive to such light reflections; therefore, it’s a good idea to gradually introduce the food bowl to the cat by placing it in different locations before permanently placing it on a particular surface.

Access to the Food Bowl

If you have an elderly cat or one with limited mobility, take care not to position their food bowl in a difficult to reach area by placing their food and water bowls up front.

Cats with arthritis dislike excessive walking, and they may refuse to eat or drink if their food and water is placed in hard-to-reach areas.

The Environment

Your cat need never be lonely and bored again, just set up a camera and watch as your cat explores and plays in their own environment no matter what the distance is.

To give consistency to your feeding schedule, you should place the cat’s food and water bowls in the same place every day.

Cats want seclusion and security, and they prefer to eat away from their companions or other animals.

If you attempt to feed them in noisy or distracting surroundings your cat may refuse to eat the food or may vomit the food up.

When they believe they will always receive goodies, such as treats or petting when they eat, they are more inclined to eat the meals you provide.

Some cats may get used to eat canned food only, while others may prefer dry food exclusively.

Give The Cat Too Many Treats

Cats like snacks, and nothing satisfies their instinctive wildcat hankering quite like catnip, the leafy green plant that gives them the munchies.

However, overfeeding your cat leads not only to obesity but also to health complications like diabetes and bone and joint problems.

No Feeding Routine

If you feed your cat at various hours of the day and as they demand, they won’t feel hungry at specific times of the day and may not eat regularly.

When you offer your cat consistent meals and prompt feeding every day, they will learn to expect a meal at a regular time each day.

If you’re at work during the daytime and can’t feed your cat yourself, you can plan to feed your cat in the morning before going to work and in the evening after you return home from work.

Why Does My Cat Only Eat Wet Food?

Cats lick only wet food since they have a tongue that is highly adapted to licking it up.

Furthermore, high-quality dry food has more water in it than low-quality dry food.

It would be hard to convince the cats that dry food is superior in quality to canned cat food, since they’ve never known anything else.

Try an alternative snack, like a treat filled with natural flavors like chicken or fish.

Evide nce to g ood news.xamine the package to ensure that the product is healthy and not made with high amounts of sugar or sodium.

Why Is My Cat Not Eating Much But Acting Normal?

The basic reason why your cat isn’t eating much is stress.

Cats’ senses degrade as they age, and cats get stressed more easily and more quickly than when they were kittens or felines.

This will happen if your cat feels anxious or unsafe.

Cats may also no longer desire to eat, which happens if they feel sick, like when they have dental problems or arthritis.

Another option is that you and the cat belong to a cat household where the other cats eat all the time.

Perhaps you wanted to acquire your fat cat an eating buddy; In that case, you have toy cats to feed your fat cat at the same time.

Why Is My Cat Requesting Food but Not Eating?

Begging for food but refusing to eat might be due to a lack of appetite or illness.

Cats have special dietary requirements and find it extremely helpful to have wet food.

Bring her to the veterinarian for a checkup to make sure she’s healthy, and get her on the vet’s recommended diet.

Why Does My Cat Only Eating Gravy From Wet Food?

Cats, like humans, lick the gravy from wet food so it is absorbed better.

In my view, the gravy provides moisture and doesn’t pack much nutritional value, so I’d stop offering it for a while.

I usually buy cat dry food without gravy or sauce so my cat will eat it and get all the nutrition from the dry food.

If I come across a can that seems to contain just meat scraps drowning, I collect the parts and feed them to my cat.

By adding tap water to canned cat food you can make a homemade cat food that tastes better and is more nutritious than commercial cat food.

If your cats dislike canned meal cubes, try creating cat food stew: our cats love this meal and it’s really easy to make.

That’s pate-style canned food blended with heated chicken or beef stock – like the sauce from a can of tuna fish – and some chopped greens.

How Can You Make Your Cat’s Feedings Better?

Regulations for Food Dishes

Remember that if your cat’s food bowl is too deep, he’ll have to swim to reach it, and swimming is tiring.

This is attributed possibly to the naturally low metabolism that cats have and to an increased reliance on carbohydrates in their diet.

Cats do not like their whiskers to come into contact with their water bowls as they can then become water logged and infected.

Water bowls should also be cleaned efficiently with pet shampoo and rinsed thoroughly so that it does not contain any of the cleaning solution, which may dry out your cat’s skin.

The food and water dishes need a non-slip surface, so they can’t slide around on a table or nightstand and be knocked over.

You also need to be sure there are enough food and water dishes, so that your pets have room to eat comfortably.

Texture and Mouthfeel of Food

Some cats enjoy jelly food, but others won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole.

If your cat is licking but not eating, try to offer canned food or a finger food like canned tuna as an alternative.

Wet And Dry Food Options

Unless your cat has unique dietary limitations, the following is a good guideline for feeding a healthy cat with a normal weight: When to stop serving dry foods completely is a judgment.

However, your cat may still need the less processed diet if she has difficulty eating the dry foods because of dental conditions such as gum disease or missing teeth.

Your cat’s palette may be changed with age or an illness, so you may not notice when your cat stops eating the dry food.

Your cat may have no difficulty eating dry kibble, but may prefer the softer texture of canned food or soft food instead.

Your cat may even gain weight eating dry food – some cats are just more efficient at digesting and using energy from the food they eat.


Your cat’s major three places should be the kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms.

If you have many cats, make sure each cat has their own litter box to avoid scooping or cleaning more than one box per day.

These stations should be cleaned daily and thoroughly.

Do not expect your kitten to use the same litter pan as adult cats either, or the same problem will occur – be prepared to purchase more than one litter pan for your kitten.

Also Read: Why Does Your Cat Lick Your Fingers?


If you’ve double-checked that your pet is secure and acting normally, try waiting it out and see if your pet settles down and resumes eating on her own.

Remember that your cat can sense your anxiety about this issue and this can cause distress for your kitty too.

This discomfort may drive people not just to stop eating the food, but to keep away from it altogether.

In addition , it is likely to make them sick later on.

An eating disorder in cats is serious, and it should be treated as soon as possible.

For example, a cat that is eating less than normal may suffer from diabetes or hyperthyroidism.

Other cats suffer from cachexia syndrome, a condition where the body is so depleted of nutrients that it can’t function properly.

The cause for this can range from hyperthyroidism or cancer to malnutrition or other serious illnesses.