What to Do If Your Sick Cat Won't Eat

A sick cat may be lacking appetite and will refuse to eat. This may lead to more severe problems such as anemia or hepatic lipidosis. There are a few ways to make your pet eat and avoid other health problems.

Feed Your Cat by Hand

If your cat avoids his food bowl, he may do this because he has lost his sense of smell (i.e. when the cat has a respiratory infection). You can make your cat eat by feeding him a bit of food yourself. Put a bit of food on your finger and allow the cat to lick it; he will most likely start to eat from the bowl.

Moisten the Food

The cat may avoid eating as the food may be too hard to chew and this may cause pain (i.e. when the cat has dental problems). Replace the dry food with wet food or moisten the dry food using some water, canned pumpkin or lemon juice.

Heat the Food

Heating the food may make the food more appealing for your cat. The smell will be more powerful and your cat may be tempted to taste; this may also be due to the fact that wild cats hunt for prey that is still warm. Use the microwave or the oven, but make sure that the food is not too hot; otherwise it will burn the cat’s mouth and this will lead to further appetite problems.

Prepare the Food Yourself

If you prepare the food for your pet yourself, your cat may be interested in the smell, which will stimulate his appetite.

Cook some chicken, turkey or fish or whatever the usual ingredients of your cat food are. Ideally, the meat should be boiled; you may also add some vegetables, to stimulate the digestion.

Baby Food

Baby food that contains meat may be fed to cats; the food may be more appealing for the cat. Read the labels and make sure that the food doesn’t contain onions or garlic, which may be toxic for your cat.

Tuna Oil

Typically, cats like the taste of tuna and adding tuna oil may make the food tastier for your cat. In addition, the tuna oil is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which are great immune system stimulants and may help in the healing process of a sick cat.

Diet Supplements

There are a number of dietary supplements that may be fed to cats that are sick and lack appetite. Talk to your vet about some appetite stimulants that are recommended for your pet.

There are also appetite stimulant drugs that may be administered to cat; cyproheptadine is a commonly used appetite stimulant for pets.

If your cat doesn’t eat for 1 or 2 days, this is not a cause for concern; however, if the cat refuses to eat for more than 2 days, he must be force fed. If none of the above techniques work, the vet will use a stomach tube which will be used to feed the cat.