Anytime a cat’s eating habits change we want to hear about it. All cats are individuals, and what may be normal for one cat may be completely abnormal for another. Only you know what is normal for your cat, and only you can tell us if something changes.
Cats can change eating habits for many reasons. Stress, changes in exercise patterns, illness, metabolic disorders and infections can all lead to changes in food consumption. The list of rule outs is extremely long, but may include:
Urinary tract infections, Upper respiratory disease, valley fever, cardiac disease, cancer, food intolerance, GI upset, GI blockage, transient viral infection, ingestion of a toxic substance, mouth or throat pain, thyroid disease, and dietary indiscretion.
Even eating more can be a sign of illness. Some cats suffer from a metabolic disease (hyperthyroidism) that causes and increase in food consumption (often coupled with concurrent weight loss).
As you can see from the list above, changes in eating habits can be complex. Because of this we want to have as complete a picture as we can regarding what has changed in your pet’s habits. If your pet has any changes in food consumption. We want to hear about it as soon as we can so that we can begin looking for the answer.
Any time a pet stops eating altogether it is a medical emergency. Cats especially can have fatal reactions to anorexia (not eating). Kittens experiencing decreased appetites should be seen immediately as their reserves are small and they can get into trouble quickly.