Loss of appetite in cats is typically a sign of sickness, so visit your veterinarian as soon as you detect a change in your cat’s feeding habits. The faster you respond to the situation, the more likely you are to be able to help.

When a cat is sick and has no appetite, they appear hungry but refuse to eat. It’s also possible that the food has gone bad. Alternatively, the cat may be bored with the current meal and seek something new.

For owners, a decrease in appetite might be worrying. It should be fine unless the cat refuses to eat for longer than 48 hours.

In this article, we are going to discuss these weird reasons why your cat seems hungry but continuously refuses their food!

Cat Seems Hungry But Wont Eat

Why Is My Cat Asking For Food But Not Eating?

Your cat isn’t eating much yet acting normally because your cat is suffering from an underlying illness that prevents him from eating. It might also be caused by pain, a change in food, or discomfort that only your cat is aware of.

Cats’ inappetence can be caused by a variety of factors. A lack of appetite is seen as an indication of a more serious problem. It might, however, be related to a cat’s natural fussiness, a stress response, or a tooth problem.

A loss of appetite, whether it is an inability to eat, a lack of interest in eating, or a total unwillingness to eat, should be treated as soon as possible.

Cats, unlike other pets such as birds, may not hunger as rapidly. Appetite loss, on the other hand, is frequently a sign of health problems.

Our cats appear hungry at times, but they don’t pick at their food. Here are a few theories to explain this behavior:

Why Is My Cat Not Eating But Seems Hungry?

1. Anxiety And Panic

Even the most intelligent creatures may be ruled by anxiety and stress. A worried cat may either refuse to eat or will take only a few nibbles. Depending on the source of the stress, this might last one or more days.

Stress and anxiety are effectively hidden by cats. The signs may go missed if you don’t know what to look for. Anxiety or stress can be detected by looking for the following signs:

If left untreated, a panic attack might develop into generalized anxiety. If another animal in the house is continually assaulting the cat, for example, the cat will instinctively feed unsafe and worried. To fix the problem, action must be taken.

Stress can also be triggered by changes in the environment. A cat’s anxiety might be heightened by moving or having a new roommate, pet, or visitor. Give it some time, and it should go back to normal.

2. Injuries

Your cat may be physically unable to eat if it licks at food but does not consume any. There might be trauma that makes eating difficult or unpleasant, in addition to the oral problems described above.

Trauma can range from the serious, such as a fractured jaw, to the small, such as a bone splinter trapped in the gums. An obstruction in the throat or farther down the digestive tract is also possible. Keep a close eye on your cat when it drinks or tries to eat. It may be in discomfort if it looks to struggle or makes yowling noises.

Cats get themselves into all sorts of trouble that can lead to harm. If your cat agrees, gently open and check its mouth for the following items:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Injury

In the meanwhile, feed it soft or liquid meals to keep its stomach full. Then you should take it to the veterinarian.

3. Diseases

Food allergies may affect cats, and they can learn to avoid specific foods that cause them to react. It’s a natural survival drive, as well as a desire to avoid the unpleasant consequences of an unsettled stomach. Other allergy symptoms in cats include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Coughing
  • Itchy skin
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing

Cats that have previously displayed similar signs may have had an allergic response to their diet. As a result, a special diet for the cat will be required. Hypoallergenic food may be necessary depending on the severity of the allergy or the allergen.

4. Dislike Of Food

Every cat owner has been in this situation: your cat begs for food but refuses to eat what you provide. Cats can be fussy eaters, however, this isn’t true of all felines. It’s not unusual to find out that your cat has stopped eating wet food.

Cats may go off certain foods at any time, especially if they are only fed one variety. This may be avoided by providing a continuously diversified diet. Make sure to try a variety of meals from your favorite brands.

Cats are extremely sensitive to any modifications in the food that the manufacturers make. They can be turned off food by even a single changed component.

You should also evaluate the food’s expiration date and if it was properly packaged. It’s terrible to smell, let alone eat, stale kibble or rotten food. Your cat has excellent olfactory and gustatory senses.

Entice it with a range of meals to see if another meal can tempt it. If it doesn’t work, there are always goodies.

You might also like to know the reason behind cat not eating food but eats treats

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

If your cat is hungry but refuses to eat food, then start offering him different kinds of food because he is bored of eating the same kind of food.

If the cat continues to avoid food despite your attempts, keep an eye on it over the next 24-48 hours. If the cat eats little or nothing during this period, see a veterinarian. Your veterinarian may prescribe hunger stimulants if required.

These, as the name suggests, cause hunger and a feeding reflex. Some have even included extra calories to aid nutrient-deficient animals. Depending on the severity of your cat’s problem, you can get them at your local pet store or via prescription.

Typically, they are pastes that are applied to the cat’s foot. Even if the cat doesn’t want to eat, it will generally lick the stimulant off its foot when it cleans it. These aren’t always effective, but they can assist with finicky or anxious cats.

If your cat still refuses to eat, a vet will most likely employ a hand-fed liquid diet or a feeding tube to help him. Only a qualified veterinarian or veterinary nurse should try the latter.

If your cat suddenly loses its appetite, keep a close check on it. Some people refuse to eat as a kind of protest, but things will soon return to normal. Other cats may go days without eating and require veterinary assistance.

You might also like to read about possible reasons behind cat licks food but doesn’t eat

How Much Should I Feed A Starving Cat?

For a starving cat, wet food and canned food are the best options because their stomachs aren’t in excellent shape, giving them hard food might induce irritation and diarrhea.

You may feed your rescued cat a choice of wet food options. For starters, infant meals such as turkey and fish broth are high in calories and simple to digest.

As a result, they will be beneficial to your rescued cat as well. Second, any ordinary semi-wet dish may be combined with homemade beef or pork broth.

This will improve the cat’s digestion while also meeting its calorie requirements. Finally, egg yolk can be given. I know it’s not a good idea to feed eggs to cats. Organic eggs, on the other hand, are a good source of protein and will help the cat gain weight quickly.

Cans of food come in a variety of shapes and sizes. However, not all of them are appropriate for cats.

So, for your rescued cats, try to get canned meals from a pet store. It will reduce the chances of it containing hazardous components for cats.

Aside from that, you may always feed tinned fish to your rescued cat. We’re all aware of how much they like fishing. You may also combine canned items with homemade beef and pork broth.

Find out more details about how long can cats go without food

How Do I Feed A Starving Cat That Won’t Eat?

If your cat is starving, offer it very tiny amounts of high protein wet food rather than dry food, which is frequently heavy in carbs. You may also use very little amounts of fish oil or Brewer’s Yeast to give extra nutrients to the wet food.

How Do I Feed A Starving Cat That Won’t Eat?

The average cat is slim and thin, having very little body fat. A cat that refuses to eat for an extended period of time may usually survive for up to two weeks without food.

It may last a little longer if the cat can handle little pieces of food. If the cat refuses to drink, the period is cut in half, to about three days.

There’s also the possibility of developing hepatic lipidosis. This is the most prevalent kind of liver illness in cats in North America, according to Veterinary Clinics. It’s a disease that affects overweight cats that have fatty livers.

A cat devoid of nutritional protein, on the other hand, must rely on its fat stores.

The liver is in charge of processing these reserves and converting them into energy so that the body can operate. The liver eventually becomes overwhelmed by the quantity of fat it must process.

Hepatic lipidosis causes loss of appetite, as well as:

  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Jaundice
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

It is a curable disease with a high recovery rate. However, this is only true if veterinary treatment is offered as soon as possible.

It’s easy to become bored of eating the same thing every day. Cats believe the same thing. If you feed your pet the same food at every meal, it will rapidly lose interest. As a result of avoiding that food, the cat may develop an allergy to it or suffer from a slight nutritional deficit.

Providing diverse food for cats is beneficial in every way. Every day, the cat receives something new, which keeps it interested in its food and motivated to eat. It also guarantees that the cat receives nutrients from a variety of sources.

Most decent cat feeds to meet all of a cat’s nutritional requirements. A fish-based dinner, on the other hand, will include more natural fish oils and healthy fats than a chicken-based lunch. The same may be said for any sort of meat used in cat food.

You might also like to read about how to force-feed a cat

What To Feed Your Cat When They Won’t Eat?

You can start offering him foods that are exceptionally good in smell so cats get attracted to eat the food.

What To Feed Your Cat When They Won’t Eat?

There are a few things you may do to get your cat to eat more. The smell is a powerful hunger stimulant, and it may be enhanced by warming food to about body temperature. To avoid your cat’s mouth being burned, test the food by touching it to ensure it is not too hot.

You might also try hand-feeding, which can be an effective stimulant for certain people. If this fails, try experimenting with various feeding alternatives, such as alternative cat food or plain boiled chicken.

If your cat isn’t eating but appears to be healthy and happy, you might attempt a few methods to get them to eat. If your cat is anorexic and exhibiting other signs, you should get medical assistance from a veterinarian.

If you need to modify your cat’s food, select something gentle on their tummies and readily digested, as a drastic change in diet might induce diarrhea. The danger of dehydration will also increase in this circumstance.

A cat that is not eating is already more prone to get dehydrated since wet food contains a considerable amount of fluids.

You may try to get them to drink more by feeding them the cooled-down cooking liquid from boiling chicken or white fish, which will be more appealing to them than plain water.

If you have more than one cat in the house, ensure sure there are enough food and water dishes for each cat, plus one extra. Even though they appear to get along well, they may prefer to dine in separate areas.

Should You Force Feed A Cat That Won’t Eat?

If your cat doesn’t seem to be hungry, don’t keep the food out, and never use a syringe to force-feed it.

Because the cat links that meal with the feeling of being sick, it will strive to avoid it. When a cat loses its appetite, you want to do all you can to get it to eat again.

Check with your veterinarian to see if certain foods are prohibited and whether your cat has to avoid too much salt or another component as part of its therapy. The veterinarian may even recommend a special diet to help with recuperation.

If being close by reassures the cat and helps it relax and eat, offer it little treats and praise it regularly. If the cat refuses to eat, take away the food and try again later.

Interesting Read: Cat Not Eating After Spay: Reasons & Solutions

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can a skinny cat go without eating?

Cats can go nearly two weeks without food, but only three days without water. However, the longer your cat goes without food, the weaker they become, so contact your veterinarian if you think they haven’t eaten in a day or more.

Will a cat starve itself?

Yes! Not on purpose, but your cat may and will starve to death due to the way their livers metabolize fat. Unlike people, your cat will never become so hungry that it will simply eat.

How can I get my cat’s appetite back?

Commercial canned cat food is a superior option. If human food helps your cat eat again, gradually reintroduce kibble or wet cat food into mealtimes. If you leave canned food out in the kitty’s bowl for too long, it will become bad and your cat will avoid it.

Final Words

Cats can sense when their meal isn’t providing them with what they require and will avoid it until absolutely essential. Low-quality cat chow might be the animal equivalent of junk food on occasion.

They’re empty calories since they’re poor in nutritious worth. To avoid this, offer your cat high-quality food and a diverse diet whenever possible.

Drop your questions in the comments section below!

Also, check out Why Is My Nursing Cat Always Hungry?


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