Cat Not Eating, But Acting Normal? 9 Things to Try

Cats are very expressive animals, so you’d know if there’s anything wrong with them. You’d immediately notice if they have changes in their eating habits.

There are instances though, that cats can be their usual selves like there’s no problem at all so owners need to be vigilant in checking in on them from time to time.

This is because they’ve also been known to act sick even if they perfectly healthy. In fact, there was a study done where perfectly healthy cats exhibit the same behaviors as those who were suffering from chronic illnesses.

Further research also proved that cats with chronic illnesses actually performed better than healthy ones, which is why even owners who are vigilant with their pets are surprised when told that their cat is very sick.

Feeding Issues and What to Do

Once you see that your cat is not eating during its usual feeding time, you can immediately ask your vet for help. You can also try these tips and tricks to entice your kitty to start eating.

1. Check what you feed them

If you’ve been feeding your cat dry food, check the container as it might have accumulated mildew or gone stale. This might happen if you accidentally left the sack or container open or the food might just be past its expiration date. Make sure to always close your containers to keep the cat food clean and keep them properly labeled.

Try to buy small portions of brands from your pet store and see if your cat will develop a preference for a different brand of cat food. By doing so, it will save you money as well and avoid wastage. This process will help you plan what and when you’ll feed your cat to provide variety to its diet.

2. Change the type of food you provide

So, if you’ve tried buying small portions of dry cat food brands and your cat still doesn’t eat, try buying the wet variety. Don’t forget to buy only small containers to avoid throwing them out in the end because your cat didn’t even try eating it.

Take note of whatever your cat will do during this time so that if there is a need to visit your vet, you can enumerate the steps you’ve already taken so that you won’t have you needlessly repeat what you’ve already done.

The vet might also advise you to prepare the food yourself by providing you certain portions of ingredients that you need to mix and match. This is done to see what will work for your cat and what won’t.

cat thinking to eat or not to eat

3. Vary the type of food at different times of the day

Let’s say, your cat started to eat when you changed from dry to wet food; watch out if your pet stops eating again. In this situation, try changing what you feed your pet at certain times of the day.

For example, after trying wet food, go ahead, and set out dry cat food. Watch out when your feline starts to eat the dry or wet cat food because time might just be the factor why he is not eating.

Remember that if your cat steadily eats at the same time every passing day, make sure to keep up with the schedule so your cat will follow the same pattern. You need to maintain a consistent schedule so if something happens, you have a baseline.

4. Help them feel comfortable

Is something happening at the usual location where you feed your cat? Are the drink or food bowls clean? Is the food close to the litterbox? These questions are what you can ask yourself when your pet stops eating.

Help your kitty get comfortable by making sure that its bowls are clean and that there won’t be anything to startle it when you serve its food.

5. Use supplements or treats

In this situation, always ask your vet’s opinion on what supplements you can give your cat to entice it to eat. Your vet might also advise on how large the portions of cat food that you can give your pet when it needs to be on supplements.

Remember anything that your vet tells you and then advise him/her of any changes after as it will help him/her to see if your pet is improving in its eating habits.

You can also try enticing your felines with treats. It might just be one of those days when he decides to be a bit finicky.

6. Feed them directly

If your cat stops eating, try feeding him small portions of food directly from your hands. He might just simply want your attention. Cats are known to be finicky, so always start from the easiest solution towards the serious ones to avoid unnecessary headaches.

Feeding them directly can also help in making them comfortable with you and establishing a better relationship.

7. Try playing with them

Again, your cat might just be craving for your attention. So, as soon as you realize that your cat is not eating, try to engage it to play. If it follows you immediately, then you only need to give time to your cat.

Play with it up to the point that it walks away from you and starts eating. If you’ve been playing with it and still doesn’t start eating, entice it with small bits of food.

8. Vary the temperature of the food

Once you notice that your cat stops eating, check if their food has turned cold. If you’ve been feeding it warm wet food, it might stop eating if the food turns cold. There might be a chance that your cat won’t be affected by the food’s temperature but it doesn’t hurt to try and change it.

To avoid this from happening, make sure to get your cat’s attention when it is lolling around during feeding time. Check the bowls from time to time and see if it started eating.

9. Check what time you last fed them

Yes, making your cat bigger and fluffier is cute, but be careful not to overfeed it. There is such a thing as getting it too fat for comfort. Try to wean it off or regulate how much and when you feed it.

Veterinarians often see owners concerned over limited appetite, but in-fact the cat is eating plenty of food. These owners have just become accustomed to overfeeding their cat.

cat sniffing, but not eating

Things To Remember

If you’ve done every step and your cat still hasn’t eaten, check if 24 hours have already passed since the time your cat stopped eating. If so, go to your vet immediately. This is not a time for delay. Hepatic lipidosis can quickly set in. This is a serious disease that typically requires hospitalization to recover.

Never hesitate to reach out to your vet once the need arises because you won’t want to lose your pet cat just because you were trying to save money by not asking for help.

There are also instances that your cat might stop eating because of some changes but still act as normal as it has always been. So let’s go ahead and go over these changes as well and learn what you can do once they happen.

Check your cat’s surroundings if it’s noisy or if something has changed. Try to get your cat comfortable in this situation by giving it treats or something tastier than what it is used to. Just don’t force him to eat one type of cat food. Let him familiarize himself with anything new.

If there is a need for you to travel and bring your pet cat, always bring food that he is familiar with. You don’t want to have to find a specific pet store just to find the brand that your cat usually eats.

Even if cats love consistency, providing a bit of variety doesn’t hurt. It also doesn’t mean that you don’t need to look for any changes if your cat suddenly stops eating. Always look at the bigger picture when your cat stops what it normally does at certain times of the day.


To cap it off, just be vigilant with your pet. Anything that they do out of the ordinary – from their eating habits down to when they sleep; should be considered. So, if your cat gets sick, your vet won’t need to get your cat through a battery of tests just to pinpoint the cause of why they are not eating or why they are behaving out of the ordinary.

Jaimee Alsing, an animal nutritionist, holds a BS in Animal Science from Cornell University, where she focused her coursework heavily on animal nutrition. She founded a small award-winning company, Colorado Care Co., which formulated and produced all-natural hermit crab and reptile food. Having worked in the industry, she understands that a lot can be hidden behind a label and strives to do extensive research beyond the ingredient list. For every article Alsing writes, she devotes a significant amount of time to researching each pet food company.

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