Why Is My Cat Not Eating Food But Only Eats Treats?

Your cat’s diet varies between breeds and size.

Overall, your aim is for him to stay healthy and fulfilled. If he’s exhibiting any of these symptoms, it may be beneficial to consult your vet.

So, why is my cat not eating food but only eats treats? So you’ve put your cat’s food down, and he has ignored it and eaten your pack of treats instead.

This behavior can be worrying and uncomfortable for both you and your kitty. Your cat is actually exhibiting a very common behavior known as food hoarding.

Let’s dive into this problem now.

Why Is My Cat Not Eating Food But Only Eats Treats?

Inflammatory Digestive Diseases

Another cause of a rapid change in appetite could be a nasty infection that has spread to the cat’s stomach or intestines.

Your cat may avoid eating food if he’s experiencing severe nausea or vomiting.

This is less probable if your kitty takes a commercial diet, but can still occur if your cat is eating dry food that hasn’t been heated or canned food.

Nonetheless, it is prudent to consult your veterinary if your cat has stopped eating entirely or to eat only treats and is losing weight.

Your cat might be suffering from gastrointestinal difficulties in which small food particles are moving too slowly through the intestines to be digested and absorbed.

Parasitic Infections

Parasites may have also entered your cat’s body through a flea bite or from some other source.

This might be preventing your kitty from being able to absorb nutrients from the food that he tries to eat.

There are several microscopic parasites, but the most common is hookworms which get inside your cat’s body through the skin or through the mouth and consume blood.

Parasites seldom cause substantial injury or worry, but their feeding habits can result in anemia or weight loss in cats.

Gum and Tooth Disease

Your cat may potentially have dental problems with inflamed gums and infected teeth.

There are many kinds of periodontal disease, but the most common is gingivitis, or inflammation of the gums.

Whereas periodontitis and tooth reshaping can be more serious conditions.

Gingivitis is simple to diagnose with your veterinarian.

Because dry food is more difficult to chew, even though your cat will eat it, it may actually be increasing the risk of gum disease and tooth loss because the teeth don’t get brushed properly.

A trip to your veterinarian will help alleviate the symptoms associated with gum disease in cats with procedures that range from a thorough cleaning to plastic surgery to correct oral deformities.

Finding Alternative Food Sources

If you observe your cat not eating much, then it might be due to some other reasons which you might not know.

Instead, they may be obtaining food elsewhere, such as from an outside source or even from your cupboards and refrigerator.

Of course, this is only a temporary solution, and you should try providing your cat with an alternate food source as soon as possible.

If you do allow your cat outdoors, make sure they have access to fresh drinking water at all times.

This should dissuade good Samaritans from feeding your cat.

It’s also possible that your kitty is not eating as much because he’s sick, either physically or emotionally.

Altered Recipes Or Spoiled Food

It is also conceivable that your kitty is eating but just not in the quantities he used to.

Check the date on the box, and if it looks like it was manufactured recently, throw it away and buy some more, preferably from a different manufacturer.

Consider if the food will deteriorate quickly if it isn’t kept refrigerated.

This is frequent throughout the summer months because dry foods go bad quicker when warm temperatures prevail.

Replace your supply and get rid of any food that looks to be spoiling.

To avoid cat food from rotting in the cabinet or refrigerator, store them in individual containers or in airtight plastic bags in your cabinets or in the refrigerator.

For long-lasting freshness, keep frozen food for no more than three months.


It is also conceivable that your cat has excessive thirst and is drinking more water than usual, but he is still getting in less food.

This is particularly probable if they consume wet food that is low in moisture, like canned green beans or salmon.

Make sure there is always fresh water available for your kitty to drink, and when he is finished, refill the drinking dish with fresh water.

No Feeding Routine

Your cat may have stopped eating recent if you feed him the same food all the time.

This is inconvenient for them since they are not used to changing their food daily or even weekly.

In fact, maintaining a consistent feeding schedule may even make cats less likely to eat after a while since they become dependent on the routine.

The first step is to avoid leaving the same food out all the time and to give him a variety of foods by changing the food in the bowl frequently throughout the day.

Instead, keep to a feeding schedule that includes several meals a day instead of feeding 3 meals a day.

Your eating schedule should include at breakfast, dinner, and a snack as your cat needs it.

Too Many Treats

Another frequent reason your cat only wants to eat treats and is probably why my cat is not eating food is because of treats.

This might seem like a catch-22 situation: your cat not eating cat food because you want him healthy, and you want him healthy because he wants to eat cat food.

And so the cycle continues as your cat’s weight increases and he loses interest in eating other foods other than treats (or dry food).

Cats, on the other hand, are cunning animals, and they have evolved both mentally and physically to snatch treats from humans, and then turn back to their bowls of dry food.

This may lead to a picky attitude toward food and occasional health problems like obesity, dental issues, and hairballs or vomiting.

Environmental Changes

Changes in your cat’s surroundings may be another reason my cat is not eating food but is only eating treats or dry food.

This is particularly true for domestic cats, who tend to crave human interaction.

Any slight alteration might lead your cat to prefer only playing with you and ignoring his food.

You may not have noticed you’ve been letting things slide a bit at your house lately, and your cat’s getting a chance to talk to you whenever he wants.

If the shift is irreversible, such as when you obtain a pet sitter or go away on vacation, it may be best to consult your veterinarian for advice.

Why Is My Cat Not Eating Wet Food But Eats Treats?

Spoiled Wet Food

It’s also possible that your cat’s not hungry.

Check the expiration date on the box, and if the cat’s not eating wet food at that point and the container smells fine, take the cat to the vet to make sure it’s nothing serious.

Take a sniff to sniff out spoiled wet food.

Consider if the food will deteriorate in your cat’s stomach or intestines and make it hard for him to digest it.

This happens often throughout the summer because wet food can act as a breeding ground for bacteria.

Restock your supplies and help keep that bacteria at bay by keeping all of your wet cat food in the refrigerator until you’re ready for it.

To preserve long-term freshness, store wet cat food in airtight containers; don’t leave it open as it spoils quickly after opening.

No Established Routine

Because there is no set feeding schedule, it can be very tempting to leave a bowl of wet food out for the cats all day.

This is inconvenient for them, and it certainly doesn’t help with your waistline or your budget.

In fact, keeping to a feeding schedule is actually good for cats and helps manage their weight.

The first thing you should do if you routinely find that the cats aren’t eating their wet food, is to establish a feeding schedule.

Maintain a feeding plan and stick to it. By sticking to the plan, your cats are sure to stay on track.

After leaving your cat’s food out for around 20 minutes or more, you run the risk of the food going bad and making it unhealthy for your cat to eat or possibly even toxic.

Why Is My Cat Not Eating Dry Food But Eats Treats?


It’s also conceivable that your cat is dehydrated and is unwilling to eat his meals for this reason.

This is particularly probable if they have been sick or are eating less.

Make sure your cat has access to fresh water at all times by placing it in a shallow bowl or purchase a water fountain.

Overdose Care

Another frequent reason your cat only wants to eat treats is that it has been overfed dry food and as a result may be overweight.

Because your cat eats seldom, you encourage overeating by leaving out too much dry food each time.

As a consequence, your cat’s diet is unbalanced and doesn’t comprise enough wet food which is important for proper hydration.

Cats, on the other hand, are intelligent animals that can find food on their own and won’t starve if they don’t have your attention all the time.

Over time, this may lead to a fussy eater that is unwilling to eat anything except snacks when you’re around.

Change In Environment

If feasible, revert to former practices, such as feeding at set times and putting away the dry food when you’re not home.

You may not have noticed you’ve been ignoring things but your pet can sense the change.

If the shift is permanent, such as when you obtain a pet sitter or board your cat while you’re away, consider switching to canned food.

It may take some time for your cat to adapt, but studies have proven that cats prefer wet food to kibble (dry food) and are generally healthier as a consequence.

What If My Cat Will Only Eat Treats?

If your cat exclusively consumes treats, she’s probably overweight and has intestinal worms due to the poor nutritional value of the treats she consumes.

Excessive treats cause weight gain and intestinal worms as wells as dental problems as kibble (dry food) contains many minerals and vitamins which help keep your kitty’s teeth clean and her gums healthy.

Every day, your cat needs to get enough vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to maintain her health and prevent her from getting ill.

Stop providing your cat additional meals or treats unless there’s an emergency or you’re training her.

Because cats graze, provide a little water bowl for her and encourage her to drink.

Wait until you’ve eaten the appropriate amount before offering a treat, and do so at regular meal times.

Can Too Many Cat Treats Be Harmful To A Cat?

Yes, giving a cat too many cat treats can be harmful to a cat.

If your cat consumes too many treats without extra food to compensate for them, her diet’s nutritional value decreases and she’s more likely to become obese.

Finally, too many goodies lead to cat obesity which can lead to health problems as well.

Can I Feed My Cat Only Cat Treats?

No, you should not give your cat solely dry food.

Dry cat food alone is not sufficient for your cat’s health. Dry cat foods contain insufficient amounts of water and don’t give your cat adequate hydration.

After regular dry food consumption, most cats develop urinary tract disease due to the low water intake.

Additionally, dry cat foods are unhealthy for cats in that they don’t support proper digestion and can also contribute to hairballs.

Also See: Can Cats Eat Cold Food?


In conclusion, why my cat is not eating food but only eats treats can happen for a number of reasons.

You must keep the number of goodies at reasonable levels or your cat may become overweight or develop health issues.

Excessive eating of sweets and fatty foods may weaken your cat’s immune system and make her more susceptible to disease.

Try some of the strategies mentioned in the article to help your kitty eat better.

Take her to the vet for a thorough checkup to make sure that she has the underlying health conditions that can cause why my cat is not eating food but only eats treats.