You’ve likely heard someone say their cat is a picky eater. You might even have said it yourself. But could it be more than that? Just like people, eating disorders can be a problem in felines. One example is anorexia. If it applies to your family, it is a scary issue that can even be life-threatening. Find out more about it in this guide, from common symptoms of cat anorexia to treatment options.
Symptoms of anorexia in cats
Typically the pattern is that your furry pal starts eating less and then eventually stops eating so much that you notice a rapid loss of weight. This loss of appetite can be a common cat health issue. If you see that they have not eaten at all in a day, get them to a veterinarian right away.
Missing one meal may be from stress but a whole day is something to worry about as a caring parent. It could signal a devastating medical condition, such as kidney disease, diabetes, dental disease, or cancer. And not eating for a long period can damage internal organs that aren’t getting proper nourishment.
If the loss of appetite in your cat is attributable to anorexia, along with a decreased appetite you may notice these other signs:
- Weight loss
- Shorter breaths
- Distended stomach
Looking at causes
Only once the underlying condition is found can a game plan to find a long-term solution be found. It could be that you’ve recently moved homes, for example, and they are feeling anxious about the new environment and, in turn, eating less. Or they might have food allergies. Digestive issues may also lead to your cat eating much less than usual.
Stress can also be a factor. Perhaps a close caregiver has passed away, or the cat was in a kennel for a few days. These events can cause trauma for your furry loved one, just as they would for you or me. Whatever is the reason, your cat is deciding not to eat.
Treating cat anorexia
A reputable vet will look at the full medical history of your favorite feline to find the reason for the diminished appetite. Lab tests will likely be part of this examination, including blood count testing and x-rays. As some of these tests aren’t cheap, it’s good to have insurance in advance, for situations such as this one. Cat health insurance can help reduce medical costs, so you’re not in debt.
Your veterinarian will also find ways to help your cat increase its appetite, whether you visit their clinic or have a mobile clinic come to you. It might take the form of adding flavor enhancers to foods to encourage the cat to eat more, such as beef stock. Or switching to wet food instead of dry.
Alternatively, mixing an egg into their food may help. Over time decrease the amount of human food you give them until they’re only eating cat food again.
If necessary, a feeding tube may even be put in place to improve nutrition. The veterinarian may also suggest certain medications to help stimulate the appetite. This professional can offer the best treatment options for your unique and beautiful cat who suffers from anorexia to get the necessary treatment.