Have you noticed your cat has recently lost their appetite? It can be concerning to see your beloved pet not interested in their food. You may be wondering what the cause of this could be, and what you can do to help.
According to Dr. Kathryn Primm, owner of the Applebrook Animal Hospital in Ooltewah, Tennessee, and host of the Nine Lives with Dr. Kat podcast on Pet Life Radio, it’s important to never dismiss changes in your cat’s behavior or appetite. It’s important to reach out to your veterinarian and work together to identify the issue and find the best solution.
What could be the cause of your cat’s lack of appetite? Anxiety and stress, effects of aging, nausea from medications, dental issues, diseases such as diabetes, intestinal lymphoma, urinary tract infections, and liver disease, ingestion of foreign objects, and eating poisonous plants are all potential causes.
It’s important to be aware of changes in your cat’s behavior and report any changes to your veterinarian. Cats are more subtle in expressing their feelings than dogs, but you may see changes in eating habits due to separation anxiety, the introduction of an energetic new kitten, or changes in mealtime routines.
There are some simple solutions you can try to help your cat get back to their normal eating habits. Firstly, it’s important to tone down the mealtime feeding atmosphere. Some cats feel stressed when all the pets are congregated in the kitchen while the person is preparing their food bowls. Consider placing the pets in closed rooms while preparing the food.
It’s also important to keep younger cats away from senior cats. Older cats cannot defend themselves around younger cats, so it’s important to give them their own safe place to eat without other cats lurking around.
Furthermore, it’s important to resist the temptation to buy a bunch of different cat foods. Cats associate feelings of nausea with what they hunted and ate, so you risk your cat associating all these new cans of food with the feeling of nausea.
You can also try treating your cat to baby food. Beech-Nut Stage 2 chicken-flavored baby food can help boost appetites in cats. It contains 90% water and most cats like the texture of this baby food, as it’s easy for them to digest.
Another solution is to disguise needed pills or liquid medicine in lickable treats. Lickable treats such as Churu or Hartz Delectables are no replacements for a complete and balanced diet for cats, but they can help get a cat to take medication or to top a bowl of food to help a cat to get past the initial reluctance and to start eating.
If your cat is texture-driven, you can try crushing freeze-dried treats into a powder and sprinkling it on top of the food to jumpstart them to eat. Freeze-dried chicken treats are a great option for cats who love crunchy textures.
It’s also important to create the right environment for your cat. Providing an enriched environment for your cat by introducing food puzzles, scheduling one-on-one play with your cat, and making sure there is one litter box per cat plus one can help reduce stress and lack of appetite.
Finally, it’s important to double check the identity of your houseplants. Lilies are deadly to cats, and other plants such as philodendrons can cause stomach upset, irritation to the mouth, and difficulty swallowing. You can find a complete list of safe and toxic plants to cats on the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control page.
Your veterinarian may also be able to help. There are new appetite stimulants to boost appetites, such as Mirtazapine, a gel that is rubbed into a cat’s ear. Cerenia, a pill that can be crushed to fend off nausea and vomiting, and Solensia, a pain medication given subcutaneously to treat chronic pain like osteoarthritis, may also help.
It’s important to never dismiss changes in your cat’s behavior or appetite. It’s essential to reach out to your veterinarian and work together to identify the issue and find the best solution. There are a variety of solutions you can try, from toning down the mealtime atmosphere to disguising needed pills or liquid medicine in lickable treats. You can also create the right environment for your cat, double check the identity of your houseplants, and ask your veterinarian about new ways to fight nausea.
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