Why Is My Cat Not Eating Or Drinking?

Have you ever experienced the panic of seeing your cat refuse to eat or drink? As a cat parent, you know that your feline’s appetite is a reflection of their well-being. So, when they suddenly stop eating or drinking, it can be concerning.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into some of the most common reasons why cats may lose interest in food and water. From dental issues to stress and underlying health problems, there are several factors that can cause your pet to become finicky with their meals.

But how do you distinguish between normal fussy eating behavior and a genuine loss of appetite that requires veterinary attention? We’ll help you identify the warning signs so that you can take action if necessary.

We’ll also share tips on how to encourage your cat to eat and drink more, including advice on choosing the right food and water bowls and establishing an ideal feeding schedule for your furry friend.

As a responsible pet owner, it’s crucial to understand why your cat may not be eating or drinking enough. By reading this blog post, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to identify the underlying cause of any appetite changes and take appropriate steps to ensure your cat remains healthy and happy. So let’s get started.

Common Reasons Why Cats Don’t Eat or Drink

While cats are known for their picky eating habits, a sudden and prolonged loss of appetite can be a cause for concern. As an expert on this topic, I have identified five common reasons why cats don’t eat or drink and have explained them in detail below.

Firstly, illness is one of the most common reasons why cats stop eating or drinking. Many illnesses can cause a loss of appetite in cats, including dental problems, kidney disease, diabetes, and gastrointestinal issues. If your cat has suddenly stopped eating or drinking, it’s important to take them to the vet for a check-up as soon as possible. Delaying treatment could lead to dehydration, weight loss, and other serious health issues.

Secondly, stress can also cause cats to refuse food and water. Cats are sensitive creatures and can become stressed easily due to changes in their environment such as moving to a new home or introducing a new pet. Additionally, changes in their routine or loud noises can also cause stress in cats. If stress is the culprit behind your cat’s loss of appetite, try to create a calm and stable environment for them by providing plenty of hiding places and familiar items.

Thirdly, if you’ve recently changed your cat’s diet, they may need some time to adjust. Cats prefer consistency in their diet and any sudden changes can cause them to reject their food or water. Gradually changing their food over several days can help avoid this issue. However, if your cat continues to refuse their food after several days, it’s important to consult with your vet.

Fourthly, aging can cause digestive issues that can make it difficult for senior cats to eat and drink. Dental problems, arthritis, and digestive issues are just some of the age-related health issues that may affect older cats and lead to a decrease in appetite. If your senior cat is not eating or drinking, speak with your vet about how best to manage their condition.

Lastly, environmental factors such as dirty water bowls or food dishes, unpleasant smells from litter boxes or cleaning products, or even loud noises can cause your cat to avoid food and water. Make sure to regularly clean their bowls and litter box and provide a quiet and comfortable space for them to eat and drink.

In conclusion, there are many reasons why cats may refuse food or water. It’s important to identify the underlying cause and address it promptly to ensure your cat stays healthy and happy. Don’t hesitate to seek veterinary care if you’re concerned about your cat’s loss of appetite.

Dental Issues

One of the most common reasons for this is dental issues that can cause severe pain and discomfort in a cat’s mouth, making it difficult for them to chew or swallow. Gum disease, tooth decay, and oral infections are some of the dental issues that can cause cats to stop eating or drinking.

Periodontal disease, a severe gum infection that affects the teeth’s supporting structures, is one of the leading causes of tooth loss in cats. Tooth decay occurs when harmful bacteria in the mouth produce acids that erode the enamel, leading to cavities. Oral infections can also cause pain and inflammation in the gums and teeth, making it difficult for cats to eat or drink.

As responsible pet owners, it’s crucial to watch out for signs of dental issues in cats such as bad breath, swollen gums, drooling, and bleeding from the mouth. If you notice any of these signs, take your cat to the vet immediately for a dental check-up. Your vet may recommend a dental cleaning procedure or even tooth extraction in severe cases.

Prevention is key when it comes to keeping your cat’s teeth healthy. You can help prevent dental problems by providing your cat with a balanced diet that includes chewy and crunchy food that helps clean their teeth. Wet food has been known to stick to a cat’s teeth and can increase their chances of developing dental issues. Regular brushing of your cat’s teeth can help remove plaque and prevent tartar buildup. Your vet can recommend appropriate dental care products for your cat.


Our furry friends are sensitive creatures, easily overwhelmed by changes in their environment, routine, or loud noises. When stressed, cats may lose their appetite and refuse to drink water, leading to dehydration and other health problems.

So, what causes stress in cats? Let’s take a closer look at some sub-topics:

Environmental changes: Cats are territorial creatures, and changes such as moving to a new home or introducing a new pet can be unsettling. They may feel unsafe or unsure in their new surroundings, causing them to lose their appetite.

Routine changes: Consistency is key for cats. Any sudden changes in their routine, such as feeding time or litter box location, can cause stress and a decreased appetite.

Loud noises: Cats’ sensitive hearing makes them vulnerable to loud noises like fireworks or thunderstorms. Such noises can be terrifying for them and result in stress-induced loss of appetite.

To reduce stress in your cat, it’s essential to create a comfortable and safe environment. Stick to a consistent routine and offer plenty of playtime and exercise opportunities. Using pheromone sprays or diffusers can also help calm anxious cats.

If your cat is experiencing stress-related loss of appetite or dehydration, consult with your veterinarian immediately. Your vet can assess your cat’s overall health and provide recommendations for treatment, which may include medication or dietary changes.


While stress and environmental factors can play a role, illness is often the culprit. There are numerous illnesses that can cause your cat to lose their appetite, such as dental problems, digestive issues, kidney disease, and respiratory infections.

Dental problems can be particularly challenging for cats. Tooth decay and gum disease can cause pain and discomfort, leading to a loss of appetite. On the other hand, digestive issues like inflammatory bowel disease can also result in vomiting or diarrhea, which can further deplete your cat’s appetite. Kidney disease is another major concern, as it can lead to dehydration and malnutrition if left untreated. Finally, respiratory infections like feline upper respiratory infections (URI) can cause congestion that makes it difficult for your cat to smell their food and lose interest in eating.

If you suspect that your cat may be ill, it is important to take them to the vet for a check-up. Your veterinarian may recommend diagnostic tests such as blood work or X-rays to determine the underlying cause of your cat’s symptoms. Based on the diagnosis, treatment options may include medication, dietary changes, or even surgery.

Hospitalization or intravenous fluids may also be necessary in some cases to address dehydration and malnutrition. As a responsible pet owner, it is vital to monitor your feline friend closely and follow your vet’s recommendations for treatment. With proper care and attention, your cat can recover from illness and return to their playful, loving selves.

Quality and Type of Food and Water

Cats are notorious for being picky eaters, and the quality and type of food and water they are offered can play a significant role in their eating habits. As an expert in feline care, I have found that there are several factors to consider when it comes to the food and water you offer your furry friend.

Why Is My Cat Not Eating Or Drinking-2

Firstly, let’s talk about the quality of the food and water. Cats may not enjoy new flavors or textures, so it’s important to introduce any dietary changes gradually. Additionally, stale or old food can be unappetizing to cats, so make sure to offer fresh food and water every day. Your cat prefers drinking cool, clean water as well. Hence, make sure to change their water frequently and keep their bowl clean.

Moreover, the type of food you feed your cat is crucial. Every cat has different dietary needs, so choosing food that meets those specific requirements is essential for their health and wellbeing. For example, cats with diabetes or kidney disease may require a specific diet. Always consult with your veterinarian before selecting a particular type of food for your cat.

Signs to Look for When a Cat Is Not Eating or Drinking

Cats can be finicky eaters, but when a feline friend stops eating or drinking altogether, it’s crucial to take notice. As a responsible cat owner, you need to keep an eye on your pet’s behavior and look out for any signs of distress. Here are some common signs to look for when a cat is not eating or drinking:

Firstly, loss of appetite is the most obvious sign that your cat may not be feeling well. If your cat is not eating, it could be due to an underlying health issue. It’s essential to monitor your cat’s eating habits and offer high-quality meals regularly.

In addition, changes in behavior can also indicate that something is wrong with your pet. If your cat is not eating, they may also show signs of lethargy, hiding, or being less social than usual.

Dehydration is another critical factor to consider if your cat is not drinking water. You don’t want your cat to become dehydrated, so gently pinching their skin is a quick way to check. If the skin doesn’t snap back into place quickly, it could be a sign of dehydration.

Weight loss is also a significant concern if your cat is not eating. Regularly weighing your pet at home can help keep track of their weight and alert you if there’s a problem.

Vomiting or diarrhea can also be signs of underlying health issues that require attention. In addition, bad breath can indicate dental problems or other health concerns that need addressing.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, do not ignore them. Contact your veterinarian immediately as these signs could indicate a minor issue that needs treatment or could potentially indicate a more serious health problem that requires urgent attention.

How to Help Your Cat Eat and Drink Again

If your cat is not eating or drinking, it can be a cause for concern. However, there are several steps you can take to help your furry friend start eating and drinking again. Here are five sub-sections to consider:

Identify the Underlying Cause

The first step in helping your cat eat and drink again is to identify the underlying cause of their loss of appetite. This could be due to a medical condition, stress, or even the quality of food and water that you are providing. If it is due to a medical condition, such as dental problems or kidney disease, it is crucial to seek veterinary care immediately.

Provide a Comfortable Environment

Cats can be easily stressed, so providing a quiet and calm environment can help reduce stress levels and encourage your cat to start eating and drinking again. Make sure your cat has a comfortable place to rest and that there are no sources of stress, such as loud noises or other animals.

Offer a Variety of Food and Water Options

Cats are known for being picky eaters, so offering a variety of food and water options can help entice them to eat and drink. Try different brands and flavors of food, and consider adding water to their food or offering a different type of bowl for their water. You can also try warming up the food slightly or adding low-sodium chicken broth to make it more appealing.

Monitor Eating and Drinking Habits

It’s important to keep track of how much your cat is eating and drinking each day. If you notice a significant decrease, contact your veterinarian. Your cat may have an underlying health issue that needs to be addressed. You can also monitor their weight and hydration levels during this time to ensure they are getting the nutrients and fluids they need to stay healthy.

Consider Appetite Stimulants or Hydration Therapy

In some cases, appetite stimulants or hydration therapy may be necessary to help your cat start eating and drinking again. Your veterinarian can provide guidance on the best course of action for your cat’s specific needs. This may involve syringe-feeding them or providing subcutaneous fluids, which should only be done under veterinary supervision.

Professional Advice on What to Do If Your Cat Is Not Eating or Drinking

If you notice that your cat is not eating or drinking, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue. As a responsible pet owner, it’s essential to take immediate action and seek professional advice. Here are some steps you can take to help your furry friend if they are not eating or drinking:

Observing Your Cat’s Behavior

The first step in addressing the issue of your cat not eating or drinking is to observe their behavior. If your cat is lethargic, vomiting or exhibiting any other symptoms, it could be a sign of a severe underlying health issue that requires immediate attention.

Checking Their Food and Water Bowls

Cleanliness is essential when it comes to your cat’s food and water bowls. Ensure that the bowls are clean and filled with fresh water and food. Your cat may refuse to eat or drink if their bowls are dirty or if the water has been sitting for too long. Remember to change the water every day and clean the bowls regularly.

Offering Different Types of Food

Cats can be picky eaters, so it may take some trial and error to find something they enjoy. Try offering them different types of food such as wet food or treats. It’s also crucial to provide high-quality food that meets their nutritional needs.

Consulting with a Veterinarian

If your cat continues to refuse food or water for more than 24 hours, it’s time to consult with a veterinarian. A vet can perform a thorough examination and run tests to determine if there are any underlying health issues causing the problem. They may also recommend appetite stimulants or fluids to help your cat recover.

Taking Immediate Action

If a cat has been refusing food or water for more than 24 hours, dehydration can quickly set in, leading to more severe health complications. Pet owners should try tempting their cats with wet food or canned tuna juice to encourage them to drink water. However, it’s essential not to force-feed the cat as this can lead to further stress and health issues.


To wrap things up, it’s crucial to keep a watchful eye on your cat’s eating and drinking habits. If they suddenly lose their appetite or refuse water, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue that requires immediate veterinary attention. The reasons behind why cats stop eating or drinking can vary from dental problems to stress, illness, or environmental factors.

To help your feline friend regain their appetite and thirst, it’s crucial to identify the root cause and create a comfortable environment for them. Offering different food and water options can also entice them to eat and drink again. In some cases, monitoring their eating and drinking habits while considering appetite stimulants or hydration therapy may be necessary.

Prevention is key when it comes to ensuring your cat stays healthy. Providing high-quality food and water, scheduling regular dental check-ups, and reducing stress levels are all significant contributors to maintaining good health in your furry friend. Always consult with your veterinarian if you notice any changes in behavior or eating patterns.

With proper care and attention, your cat can enjoy a long and healthy life by your side.