This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission when you buy something using the links in this post, thanks!
A loss of appetite can be worrying, but will a cat starve itself to death? Perhaps you have purchased a new food that you believe is better for them, yet they are rejecting it. There are other reasons a cat can lose its appetite. Some are more serious than others, but we are going to take a look at some of the main reasons behind a lack of interest in their food, and what can be done to help.
Why Won’t My Cat Eat?
Some of the most common reasons seem obvious. For example, a cat could be ill, have a dental issue, or may not like the way a new food smells.
Other causes include kidney failure, infections, cancer, and others. Also, consider anorexia, where a loss of appetite has occurred for a health reason. Some cats can be picky eaters and take a little while to adjust, especially if they have been through a new life change recently such as moving house. Still, you can never be too careful. This is why it is best to make sure you keep an eye on how your cat is behaving, and if they still haven’t touched their food in 24 hours, take her to a vet to check her over.
Will My Cat Reject New Food?
Every kitty is different. Some will embrace the change as though nothing has happened and happily eat the new offering from their kind humans. Still, much like humans, every cat is different. If you are worried that your feline companion will reject their food, there is an approach that often works.
Start by scooping a mix of 3/4 old meals, 1/4 new, and every couple of days, increase the proportion of new until they are eating only the new brand. This is a proven method, but it doesn’t always work.
Don’t Be Scared To Change Cat Food
So your cat has turned its nose up at new food and continues to do so. Still, will a cat starve itself to death? It is possible, but there are things that can be done to help. Sometimes there is little or no choice, they must change the food. It might be that they need to go on a diet, and food with fewer calories is necessary. Sometimes, it is the age group they are entering that requires different food and ingredients.
Other times it can be because they have some form of illness, such as kidney disease where certain food is much better for them. A good approach can be to keep the new food as similar as the previous if possible. A similar flavor, main ingredient profile, even size of the kibble, and texture should be as close as possible. This will help to make the transition easier for everyone.
So, Will A Cat Starve Itself To Death To Avoid New Food and How Long To Wait?
If your cat has walked away from the food bowl when it is usually meal time, do not dismay just yet. There is a chance they will come back and investigate, possibly even sample the new food before you need to worry. It is best to not leave it more than 24 hours before taking action.
Hepatic lipidosis can develop in cats who do not eat for over a day or two. This is where excess fat moves to the liver from areas usually used to store food as a result of not eating. Because they are not able to process food in this way, the fat collects in the liver. This is common in obese cats as well, but can be fatal.
This is why some people ask will a cat starve itself to death. The best thing to do is to take your kitty to the vet if they have not touched their food for 24 hours, and certainly if it has reached 48 hours, just to be safe.
Consider Their Environment
Stress can be a major factor that stops anyone from eating, human of feline. Because cats can be sensitive souls, it is always good to be considerate. Any major change in their life can cause them to lose appetite. This can be moving house, moving the area where they eat, or the introduction of a new pet into the home.
Try keeping their feed time as regular as possible, in the same place. If nothing has changed and they are not eating, try the opposite. Move their bowl to a quiet spot, away from the noise of the home so they feel safe. Try not to leave food to spoil, and the fresher the better as it will have a stronger scent.
How Can I Help My Cat Eat?
There are ways you can make a meal more tempting, whether it is new or not. Here are some of the best ways:
- Serve food that has a strong scent – fish is an obvious choice
- Keep food fresh – they may not be hungry now, but wet food that has been left to spoil for a few hours is less tempting
- Use fresh tuna – or pour a little water from a tin of tuna onto their food
- Sprinkle nutritional yeast powder – it has a strong scent that cats seem to love!
- Use a strong-smelling dry cheese and sprinkle some on top
- Clean their bowl before serving
- Move the dish to a quiet spot
- Move it away and try again later
- Try to make her curious by putting some on your fingertip and holding it close to her mouth
How Long Can A Cat Go Without Eating?
Although some can survive for up to two weeks without food, no cat should go more than 24 hours without eating. If you notice this has become an issue, do not delay in taking your kitty to the vet. Anything around 3 days without food is a serious cause for concern.
Since protein is so vital to their diet and survival, a lack of it can start ti cause health issues pretty fast. Also, a cat can only go 3 days without water so always make sure they have access to a clean bowl that is regularly topped up with fresh water.