My cat eats little - Causes and what to do

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The anorexia or loss of appetite in cats It is a frequent and nonspecific sign of veterinary consultation, as well as of great concern to its caregivers. Anorexia can cause health consequences in our cats such as dehydration, weakness, loss of muscles, decreased immunity, even serious diseases such as fatty liver or intestinal function alterations that, in turn, would complicate the diagnosis of the cause. primary loss of appetite. The first thing that usually comes to mind as a cause of anorexia is a disease, however, there are multiple other responses that can alter the feeding behavior of our feline, from environmental alterations external to the animal that cause stress to intoxication or their own reproductive cycles.

In this AnimalWised article we will classify the possible causes associated with decreased appetite in our little felines.. ¿Why does your cat eat little? ¡Here we will help you to solve your doubts!

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  1. Why does my cat eat little if he shows interest in food?
  2. Why does my cat eat little and is down?
  3. Other reasons that cause a cat to eat little
  4. What to do if my cat eats little?

Why does my cat eat little if he shows interest in food?

If you notice that your cat seems to have an appetite but then does not eat, especially if you feed him with dry feed, it may happen that the cat has pain that prevents or makes eating difficult. Possible causes of these problems are diseases of the mouth such as those affecting the gums and teeth (gingivitis, feline chronic gingivostomatitis, periodontitis, tooth resorption, tumors or foreign bodies in the mouth or tongue), as well as orthopedic or neurological disorders of the the jaw. In any case, it is important to examine the animal's mouth and go to the vet to diagnose the cause..

Why does my cat eat little and is down?

In cases in which we bring the food closer and the cat rejects or ignores it and is no longer interested in its preferred food, we must think that something is happening internally. Possible diseases that cause your cat to eat less, be down, vomit or have other warning symptoms are:

Renal disease

Besides eating less, ¿your cat drink or urinate more than usual? If the answer is yes and, therefore, you have noticed that your cat eats little and drinks a lot of water, it could be a kidney disease. One veterinary visit a year is recommended for cats older than seven years to perform a kidney check-up and measure their blood pressure..

Abdominal diseases

¿Do you have other symptoms such as abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea? If so, it may be a gastrointestinal disease caused by inflammations, tumors, or foreign bodies in the stomach or intestine that will significantly reduce your kitten's appetite. It may also be due to liver or liver disease pancreas, and even the intestine, liver and pancreas or only two and it is a feline triaditis. The latter can only occur in felines due to the particular anatomy of the duct that leaves the pancreas and the duct of the liver that end in the same place in the intestine, which can lead to the spread of infections or inflammations between the three organs..

Infectious diseases or disorders that affect smell

Cats are very sensitive to loss of smell and, unlike other animals, they only breathe through their noses. Loss of smell is a cause to consider as possible loss of appetite in cats and may be due to nervous disturbances or derived from a nasal disease caused in most cases by the so-called "feline respiratory syndrome ", in which various viruses and bacteria intervene.

If your cat shows clinical signs such as breath sounds, eye signs, sneezing or a runny nose, it may be affected by this syndrome, but it will usually regain its usual appetite with proper treatment and cleaning..

Other infectious diseases

¿It is tested from leukemia virus and of the feline immunodeficiency? ¿You have a young kitten less than two years old? ¿Is of _____ race? The virus gelin infectious peritonitis It usually affects young cats from breeders, but it can also affect older cats of any breed and it is a very serious disease that can start with nonspecific symptoms such as anorexia, fever, and weight loss. These same symptoms in young cats can make us think of a virus similar to parvovirus in dogs, the so-called feline panleukopenia. Small bacteria involved in a disease calledfeline infectious nemia may cause a decrease in appetite, as well as symptoms of hemolytic anemia such as pale or yellowish mucous membranes, depression and increased heart and respiratory rates.

For all the above, if you notice that your cat eats less and sleeps a lot, is down, vomits or has diarrhea, do not hesitate and go to the veterinary clinic to examine it and determine the cause. Only a professional can guide the best treatment after performing the relevant tests.

Other reasons that cause a cat to eat little

The above causes are not the only ones that can explain why your cat eats little. Here are other common reasons:

Change of food

Sudden changes in brand or type of food may be the cause of reducing your intake due to not like or for needing a habituation period the same. Therefore, in cats it is recommended to change it progressively, starting by mixing the new food with the old one..

It should be noted that cats are considered strict carnivores, so they need more protein in the diet and could never be fed a vegetarian diet. For this reason, non-meat foods that do not allow them to obtain the essential nutrients they need, such as the amino acids arginine and taurine, can have a very serious impact on the health of your cat.


If your cat eats little it can also be a symptom of having taken a spoiled food or have tried one toxic plant (poinsettia, lilies, aloe vera, oleanders, ivy or hydrangeas) or some food "prohibited " for our felines, such as onion or grapes.

On the other hand, it is always important to remember that some drugs cause toxicity, so it is important to emphasize the importance of never administering ibuprofen to cats because it causes serious damage and also a loss of appetite. In case of poisoning, it is essential to go to the vet as soon as possible.


When a cat is in heat she may experience a reduction in her appetite. Sterilization of cats is always recommended, it also prevents diseases such as breast or uterine tumors and pyometers.


Cats are very sensitive to changes at ambient, even the most subtle can be very stressful for them. Stress means that your cat eats little, is nervous or shows other changes in his behavior. Stressful situations can range from small changes in the house to changes in the arrangement of your feeders, renovations in the house, a move, introduction of a new animal, having a child, a loss of a relative or a new person in the house. It is important to identify the cause of stress in order to treat it and restore the animal to its emotional stability. Likewise, synthetic pheromones can also be great allies in these cases..

Discover in this video different ways to relax your cat.

What to do if my cat eats little?

For all that we have seen in this article, we have verified that there are many possible causes that explain the reduction in the appetite of our cats, sometimes they can even occur simultaneously. If the problem is that you don't like the food, just try a new food and introduce it gradually. Likewise, if the cat eats little due to stress, you can try to identify the cause and treat it as much as possible..

Now, when the problem is a disease and, therefore, the cat manifests other symptoms, the best option that can save the life of your beloved feline in the worst cases is take him to a veterinary center where they will carry out a correct medical history, physical examination, diagnosis and apply the best treatment according to the case.

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