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What to Do When You’re Cat Refuses Food

Although there can be many reasons that your cat starts refusing food, it is always worrying, and at worst is the result of a health issue. Sick cats can lose their appetite, and don’t have the ability to consider the consequences of being malnourished due to not eating enough high-quality cat food.

Also, cats may associate their nausea or digestive issues with the food they’ve been eating recently, which can make their inability to eat even worse. Cats can only survive for about two weeks at the most without food, so the sooner you can get your cat back to eating the better. It’s very difficult to force feed a cat, but there are a few tricks you can use to get your cat to eat before it becomes a serious problem.

Heating your cat’s food can be a great way to motivate them to eat. I think most people would agree that a warm meal is most always preferable to something cold - so warming up your cat’s food could motivate them to eat. Adding heat enhances the taste and smell of the food, and you can warm any type of cat food including canned varieties and kibble. Be careful not to heat the food too much and risk burning your cat’s mouth.

Another good option for cat’s refusing to eat is trying out food that’s formulated specifically for kittens. These types of cat food are richer with protein and fat, which makes them naturally taste better compared to adult cat food. However, try not to overdo it - especially if your cat already suffers from health complications due to excess weight.

Trying to feed fish to your cat is another idea that tends to work well for even the most finicky felines. This is one of the reasons we always use real chicken or fish as our number one ingredient in Snappy Tom premium cat food - cats prefer it that way. Using a feline appetite stimulant (such as catnip) may work if all else fails.

Another common approach is to use hand feeding (although this technique usually doesn’t work on stressed or irritable cats) if your cat is comfortable enough with you to do so. The extra attention and care may give them motivation to eat more.

Perhaps the most unusual method for getting a sick or picky cat to eat is acting as if you’re eating food at the dinner table - when it is their cat food - but you then share it with the cat. Cats tend to believe that human food taste better than theirs, and if they see you eating something, they’re more likely to be interested in it.

Be attentive to a cat that won’t eat, and if more than one day goes by and they still haven’t eaten make sure to contact the veterinarian.

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