Cat Seems Hungry But Won’t Eat

Cat Seems Hungry But Wont Eat

You handpicked kitty’s favorite ingredients and put your heart into it fixing him a sumptuous and healthy meal.

You present the final gourmet to your feline eagerly waiting for him to take the first chomp.

Sadly, your cat refuses to eat even when you know he is hungry.


Cat not eating much but acting normal may be due to several reasons. Maybe your cat has an underlying disease that makes him too distressed to eat. It could also be due to pain, a change of diet, or discomfort only known to your cat.


“Help, my cat acts hungry but won’t eat”, this a common complaint vet doctors receive.

Your feline was once a healthy hearty eater and then all of a sudden, he won’t touch his favorite meal.

Why is that?

A cat that was once eating well but stops eating is experiencing some discomfort.


This discomfort could be due to:

  • Disease
  • Pain
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Habit





Cats seem to go the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want

-Joseph Wood Krutch



One thing a cat is good at, it is asking for the timely delivery of its meals.

So when you serve your feline his favorite chicken chop food and all he does is take a few nibbles and walk away; he could be sick.

Any disease that causes discomfort to a cat will undoubtedly affect its eating habits.


If your cat loses appetite, he may be suffering from:

  • Organ disease (heart, liver, kidney)
  • High blood pressure
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Musculoskeletal disease
  • Cancer

The only way to know what ails your cat is to take him to a professional vet.

Even feline asthma, a disease you are less likely to suspect, can cause your cat to stop eating.

Only a trained vet will help you get to the bottom of things.



Pain is another source of discomfort for cats.

Tooth pain can slow down your cat’s appetite or stop him from eating completely.


Common dental problems in cats include;

  • Chipped tooth
  • Cracked tooth
  • Loosely hanging tooth
  • Dental abscess
  • Inflamed gums
  • Mouth ulcers



❗ Important

Do not insert your finger in a cat’s mouth to check for dental issues. You could cause them more pain or they could bite you and cause injury.



Even feline teething can leave a cat eating less but acting normal.

If your cat acts hungry but won’t eat they may also refuse to groom themselves if it is a dental problem.

Some cats won’t let you touch their face especially if they are ailing from an abscess.

VIDEO: How Can You Tell If Your Cat Has Dental Disease?


Stress and anxiety

Stress or anxiety can have a cat eating less or not eating at all.

Feline stress may stem from a devastating experience or something so subtle that you barely recognize it as the problem.


A sudden change in the environment would immediately distress a cat.

The new place is void of the layout and scents he is used to.

Your cat feels like a stranger in a strange space and that can fill him with anxiety.


If your cat went through trauma, like losing her kittens or a beloved owner, they are likely to feel stressed out for a few weeks.

Cats like the Persian Munchkin are likely to suffer separation anxiety which leads to a lack of appetite.



A cat has absolute emotional honesty…

-Ernest Hemingway



Also, diseases can cause stress in cats.

Adopting a new pet, dog, or cat, that ends up bullying your cat will leave them distressed.

Changing their daily routine without their consent will, no doubts, leave them anxious and stressed.

VIDEO: 10 Tips to Relieve Cat Stress


Poor eating habit

Some cats are sworn, picky eaters.

They tend to favor only one type of food and will reject all other options on the menu.


The sad part is that your cat could reject healthy kibble for a sumptuous slice of Hawaiian pizza.

If you are leaving with a picky cat, it can be disheartening watching him miss out on important nutrients and grow scrawny every day.


But there are ways to serve your cat what he likes and still throw in a few healthy ingredients he wouldn’t notice.


Cat acts hungry but won’t eat, how can you stop it?

cat dislike food

The only way to help your cat start eating again is by solving the cause of its discomfort.

For a picky eater, mixing his favorite food with the new food almost always works.

As long as the cat can smell and taste the food he likes, he won’t know if a new delicacy has been added.


Watch out for when your cat gets allergic reactions to a new food.

If your cat is sneezing or swallowing a lot, he may be experiencing nausea associated with the new food.

Find out what ingredients are in the new wet food or kibble to establish what he is allergic to.


Try a variety of cat food to find out if there is any other brand your cat loves.

Sticking only to one brand may cause your cat to miss out on nutrients in other foods.

Always mix the old with the new brand of wet food or kibble to keep your picky cat interested.



Learn More:



Schedule a visit to the vet to find out if your cat has an underlying ailment or condition.

Treating this condition or managing it is the only way to restore your cat’s appetite.


In the case of gastrointestinal diseases, you may have to switch your cat to a soft food diet until he recovers completely.

Correct dental defects at the vet’s as well. In the case of teething, providing your kitty with soft chew toys helps soothe his gums.

There are pet medications that help clear dental diseases or abscesses.


Prioritize your cat’s well-being to eliminate incidences of pet anxiety.

If you are moving homes, carry most of the cat’s old stuff to the new house.

Your cat is less likely to feel anxious when he has all his favorite toys with him.

Keep your new pet in a crate until your cat gets properly acquainted.


Once the two pets are accustomed to each other’s scents, you can supervise their interactions until they eventually get along.

Seek advice from your vet or a professional breeder on more ways to eliminate stress in your cat’s life.



If your cat acts hungry but won’t eat, find out the root cause of his discomfort.

Let your vet address any disease or condition that may affect your cat’s appetite.

If you are living with a picky cat, mix new foods with his favorite diet to keep him healthy.


See Also

Frequently Asked Questions

Appetite boosting drugs like Mirtazapine can help your cat start eating again. Adding chicken broth to your cat’s regular food can raise their appetite too.

Try feeding them different brands of food and see if they find a favorite. Do this moderately to prevent stomach upsets. Also, you can add tuna or anchovy flavored water to their food to entice them to eat. Other options are meaty baby food or wet food consisting of seafood.

Cats can survive a week without food but drinking water. But if your cat goes for two days without food, find out why they are not eating. Prolonged lack of food can cause a cat to develop cat liver disease or hepatic lipidosis.

Maybe your cat does not like the texture or flavor of kibble. He may also find it hard to chew and digest kibble especially if he has an oral disease. The opposite is true as well, a cat may dislike wet food and go for kibble which has a preferable flavor and texture.


A pet owner who loves to share useful facts and information about a variety of animals.