Cats are renowned for being finicky eaters.
They will refuse to eat certain foods at a whim and become stubborn about it. This is why many cat owners assume each situation is the same and their cat is simply being fussy. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
There are situations where the cat has a legitimate issue whether it’s physical and/or psychological.
One of those situations can involve a cat that suddenly stopped eating dry food.
Cats can stop eating dry food due to environmental or physical changes. This can include stomach pain, moving to a new house, parasites, an inflammatory digestive issue, anxiety, depression, or a lack of routine. It’s best to find the root cause of the problem to get a cat eating dry food again.
If you don’t do this, the cat will continue to refuse dry food.
This article is going to look at 11 reasons a cat has stopped eating dry food and what to do about it.
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Reasons Your Cat Stopped Eating Dry Food
1. Found Another Food Source
If your cat is constantly spending time outdoors then it has likely become a keen hunter.
This is common in cats that wander around looking for prey. They will eventually end up learning how to hunt through practice. Once this happens, it’s easy for a cat to start finding food sources outside the home.
Therefore, when they arrive home, the cat is already full. This eliminates their desire to eat indoor food sources such as dry cat food.
In situations such as these, you will want to reduce the amount of time a cat is spending outdoors on its own. It’s the only way to regulate what the cat is eating without force-feeding.
Parasites can be a problem in cats.
Depending on what the cat has eaten or where it has been spending time, parasites start to spread through the digestive system.
These parasites bring along with them several symptoms including fatigue, dehydration, nausea, and more. It is essential to get rid of the parasites in a cat to make sure it can start eating again.
It’s important not to underestimate how painful parasites in cats can be. It will alter the cat’s eating behavior until the health issue is rectified.
3. Inflammatory Digestive Issue
With a cat not eating as much as usual, you will want to account for a digestive issue.
It’s common for cats to develop symptoms associated with an inflammatory digestive issue. This can cause the cat to always feel nauseous, deal with stomach aches, and/or vomiting throughout the day.
The goal is to consult with a vet to determine what the issue is and whether or not it has anything to do with the digestive system.
Inflammatory digestive issues can have a troubling effect on the cat’s body. It will leave the cat fatigued, disinterested, and confused for the most part.
4. Gum Disease/Dental Issues
With a cat not eating dry food while losing weight, it’s common to look at their teeth and gums.
Since the first point of contact with dry cat food is the mouth, the oral cavity needs to be in good condition. Unfortunately, this might not be the case with your cat as it might be dealing with cavities or gum disease.
You will want to make sure the gum disease is treated so the cat doesn’t feel pain. Vets will be more than happy to assess the teeth and see what’s going on.
The pain from chewing on hard cat food makes it a common reason why cats refuse to eat dry food.
Cats are just like most living beings.
They do deal with mental health issues and this can start to take a toll on their routine. For example, a senior dog might refuse to eat dry food because of its aches. This happens as the dog gets older and older.
Due to this, the dog might be suffering from anxiety or depression.
Each case is different but the impact of a mental health condition cannot be underestimated. A cat can associate dry cat food with negativity. This is why it’s important to work on the dog and help improves its mental health over time.
6. Sudden Change in Environment
Has the cat been moved to a new house recently?
In adopted pets, this can be a reaction. Cats are not used to the idea of being picked up and dropped in a new environment without getting an opportunity to snoop around or get a hang of the scents.
If there are other cats in the home, the cat may deal with territorial issues too.
When this happens, the cat is going to be in survival mode and might not think about eating. In this case, you will want to comfort the cat and make sure it feels at home.
7. Lack of Routine
It’s possible the cat doesn’t have a routine.
Most cats will have a set routine for when they are going to go to sleep and when they will eat. If this pattern is thrown off or non-existent, the cat is going to have more of a wild streak to it.
This can cause the cat to want to it as it wishes on a separate timeline from everyone else. You have to nip this in the bud by creating a strong routine the cat gets used to.
8. Excess Treats
If a cat stopped eating dry foods but eats treats then it might have to do with availability.
Cats can refuse to eat dry cat food when they have overexposure to treats. Those treats are designed to give them an immediate dopamine hit and that can make eating traditional dry cat food quite unappealing.
As a result, cat owners need to remain vigilant and cut down on the treats. It’s the only way to make sure the cat doesn’t overeat snacks and refuses key nutrients that come through other more important food sources.
9. Spoiled Cat Food
This is a simpler reason and one that should not be ignored.
It’s possible your dry cat food has gone stale and doesn’t taste fresh. When this happens, the cat is going to have enough of an understanding to know when the food is not good.
Make sure to look at the packaging to ensure the dry cat food is not expired.
A cat may refuse to eat dry cat food because it is expired. They will notice the change in taste and that will cause them to run in the opposite direction.
Is it hot indoors?
In the summer months, a cat will start to feel dehydrated. This is a common issue where a fresh bowl of water is not regularly available for the cat to drink from.
Due to this, the cat feels dehydrated and doesn’t enjoy eating dry cat food as it makes them thirstier.
The best approach is to keep the cat in a climate-controlled room and ensure they are getting enough water to drink during the day.
Fatigue is one of the more underrated reasons a cat will stop eating dry food.
If a cat refuses to eat dry food, this might mean it is simply too tired. A cat that isn’t getting rest when it needs to sleep will become fussy. This is quite common to humans as they will need to get enough sleep to feel energized the next day.
When this doesn’t happen, the cat’s routine will turn upside down. This includes how it feels about doing things or being around you.
One of the effects of not getting enough sleep is for a cat to ignore dry cat food. It might look for other food sources or simply not want to do anything.
You have to make sure to set a routine where the cat gets enough rest and eats food at the same time every day. This is the only way to eradicate the problem.
These are the main reasons your cat stopped eating dry food.
A cat can stop eating dry food because it’s anxious, depressed, eating too many treats, lacking a routine, dealing with an inflammatory digestive issue, or has parasites. In situations such as these, it’s best to consult with a vet for more information on the cat’s case.
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