Older Cat Not Eating But Drinking

Your older cat may be experiencing some physical issues.

If he’s refusing to eat, it’s essential to diagnose the problem. Fortunately, many veterinarians recommend consulting a veterinary nutritionist.

So, why is my older cat not eating but drinking? Older cats may experience a variety of health challenges as they age.

Dental disease is often a problem in older cats, especially if they haven’t been properly cared for over the years. If your cat is having trouble chewing food, he may be experiencing dental problems.

Additionally, older cats can develop kidney or liver disease that makes it hard for them to eat solid food. Finally, older cats can experience digestive disorders that make eating difficult or painful.

If your cat is having problems with eating, consult your veterinarian for an evaluation.

Why is My Older Cat Not Eating But Drinking?

Your senior cat not eating but drinking might be due to the fact that senior cats are more likely to develop kidney disease than younger cats.

Some of the most prevalent causes for a cat to not eat but drink include pain, dental disease, digestive problems and kidney disease.

Food Allergy

Your elderly cat may not eat due to food allergies or sensitivities to ingredients such as ingredients found in dry food.

Allergies may arise at any point in a cat’s life but are more common after a cat reaches its senior years.

Even if you haven’t altered your elderly cat’s diet recently, a sudden change in diet may result in allergies.

If your cat suffers from a food allergy, it will experience itchy skin, hives and other symptoms if fed the allergen.

They may also have digestive problems such as diarrhea and vomiting.

When your cat vomits but otherwise appears healthy, it may suffer from a food allergy.

Take your cat to the doctor to determine the underlying cause of the vomiting other than a food allergy.

Decaying Teeth

Another reason your cat isn’t eating, but drinking is because your older cat is suffering from dental disease.

This is especially probable in older cats who haven’t had their teeth cleaned regularly during their lives.

Plaque may accumulate on the teeth which hardens into tartar and plaque.

This wears away the teeth and exposes the root of the tooth where bacteria can accumulate causing a dental infection.

As a result, when cats with dental disease open their mouths to eat, their gums bleed and this hinders them from eating properly and can lead to malnutrition.

As a result, they lose their appetite for food but continue drinking fluids to keep their body hydrated and functioning normally.

Kidney Disease

Your geriatric cat might suffer from kidney disease which can also cause intermittent loss of appetite, but increased drinking.

As cats become older, their kidneys are slower to process their bodies’ waste products and this could cause them to smell bad and appear sick, but their kidneys could remain healthy.

As a result, this is a very treatable condition with the help of your vet and your cat will begin eating again if the CKD is managed properly.

The kidneys are responsible for producing urine and filtering waste and toxins from the blood into urine using reabsorbtion and recycling processes.

When the kidneys do not function correctly, this causes waste products to build up in the blood resulting in a variety of symptoms including loss of appetite, decreased grooming and recurrent vomiting.

When detected early, your older cat’s kidneys could be saved with the help of medication and vets may advise that your pet be put on a special diet to help the kidneys.

Diabetes Mellitus

Another possibility for your senior cat not eating is that he might have diabetes which is characterized by hyperglycemia or high blood glucose levels.

This is yet another hormonal issue in cats, which must be treated carefully with the assistance of a veterinarian.


Hyperthyroidism is a medical disorder that is characterized by hyperthyroidism with an older cat not eating but drinking and weight loss despite increased appetite.

The thyroid gland in cats produces too much thyroid hormones which inturn affects the entire body.

This hyperactive gland generates and releases an excess amount of hormones that speed up almost all the bodily functions, including respiration, heartbeat and metabolism.

There are a few clinical indicators to look out if your cat is suffering from hyperthyroidism such as increased heart rate and enlarged eyes, diarrhea, increased thirst and aggression.

Other symptoms you may observe are hair thinning and weight loss despite increased appetite and water intake.

If you suspect your cat has hyperthyroidism, take him to your veterinarian for diagnosis and for the appropriate treatment.

How Do You Make An Elderly Cat Eat?


Healthy snacks in between meals can help your senior cat get his nutrients without stressing his digestive system too much.

Try tempting your cat with a few high-protein, simple snacks such as dry cat food with chicken or beef as main ingredients.

Reduce Your Cat’s Anxiety

A happy cat is a well-fed cat and old age can take a toll on your cat’s emotional well-being.

Cats are solitary creatures that often prefer to be left alone, away from the constant attention of family members and strangers.

As a result, they may become very depressed and anxious when they are constantly exposed to limited shut-eye and constant companionship.

It is normal to want your aging feline companion to lie down by your side and cuddle up with you, but high-anxiety levels can lead to erratic behaviour.

However, if you give your cat a little time and reassurance, this behavior will eventually let up as your cat adjusts to his new life.

Feeding Snacks

Healthy snacks For your cats can consist of things like dry kibbles, like Feline Greenies or Purina Pro Plan Healthy Weight Adult Cat Food.

Try tempting your cat with a few high-protein, simple snacks such as dry cat food with chicken or beef as main ingredients.

Preparing Wet Cat Food

Cats are enticed to their food by the smell of it and the texture of their meal.

Warming wet food makes it smell stronger and more appetizing to your cat.

Place your cat’s food in a glass measuring cup and heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Most cats like to be fed twice a day to avoid overfeeding and to ensure that your cat gets regular meals throughout the day.

Small And Frequent Meals

A cat’s stomach is much smaller than a human’s stomach, so they must go for frequent meals throughout the day to prevent feeling hungry and achy.

As a result, it is normal for a cat to prefer to eat many small meals rather than one or two large meals throughout the day.

Whether your cat likes dry food, wet food, or both, plan his mealtimes around the feeder and the type of food he eats.

What Should You Do If Your Senior Cat Stops Eating?

Provide All Required Resources

You should also ensure that your cat has fresh water on a daily basis.

This includes lots of fresh water, a clean water dish with fresh drinking water in it and clean water that is easily accessible.

Getting a suitable litter tray for your cat and ensuring that there is sufficient litter in it is also important.

Change Cat Food

In most cases, you will simply be able to change the type of cat food that your cat eats if he stops eating it.

In general, cats prefer wet food, so switching your cat to wet food may help him eat again if he has been refusing to eat dry food.

Cats with dental problems are more picky about the texture of their food, so switching to a softer texture may also help them eat again.

If you choose to stay with dry food, you will probably have to switch brands.

Your veterinarian may have some suggestions for brands of cat food that your cat may like better than the one that he has been eating.

Go to the Vet

Finally, the most vital thing you can do is take your cat to the veterinarian for a check-up and to discuss any health concerns that he may have.

Monitor your cat’s behavior and keep an eye open for signs of illness.

The more specific you are about each symptom and how long it has lasted, the easier it will be for the vet to detect problems.

Once verified, your veterinarian will be able to determine the underlying cause of your cat’s loss of appetite and will prescribe treatment accordingly.

Also Read: Are Coffee Grounds Toxic to Cats?


To diagnose the cause of your cat’s nutritional issues, a veterinarian may recommend a veterinary nutritionist.

A veterinary nutritionist is a veterinarian with additional training in animal nutrition. They can evaluate your cat’s health history and provide tailored advice to help him improve his health and appetite.

Additionally, a veterinary nutritionist can recommend complementary therapies such as vitamins and supplements that can help your cat feel better and get proper nutrition. If you’re concerned about your cat’s health or appetite, don’t wait to contact a veterinary nutritionist.

They can help diagnose the problem and provide treatment to improve your cat’s health and quality of life.

The health of senior cats is more fragile, so it’s important to provide them with the appropriate nutrition and supplements.

Most diseases may be kept in check by treating the symptoms early.