Why My Old Cat Is Not Eating: Reasons and What Should You Do

Your old cat might not be eating due to dental problems, sickness, stress, or just not feeling hungry. It’s best to check with a vet to find out the cause and help them feel better.

In this blog, we will explore the common reasons why your old cat may not be eating and provide you with helpful tips on what you can do to encourage them to eat.

It is important to address this issue promptly, as a lack of appetite can lead to various health problems in elderly cats. So, let’s delve into the possible reasons and solutions!

Common Reasons Why Your Old Cat Is Not Eating

  • 1. She is full: One possible reason why your old cat is not eating could be that she is simply full. Cats have small stomachs and may not need to eat large quantities of food. If you have recently fed your cat, or if she has been grazing throughout the day, She may not feel hungry at the moment. Observe your cat’s eating habits to determine if this is the case.’
  • 2. Digestive System Issues: Digestive system issues, such as constipation or an upset stomach, can also cause your old cat to lose her appetite. If your cat is experiencing difficulty passing stools or is vomiting, it is essential to consult your veterinarian. They will be able to diagnose and treat any underlying digestive problems that may be causing your cat’s decreased appetite.
old cat not eating
  • 3. The cat can’t smell the food: Cats rely heavily on their sense of smell when it comes to eating. If your old cat has a stuffy nose due to a respiratory infection or congestion, she may not be able to smell her food properly.
  • This can lead to a loss of interest in eating. Consider using aromatic wet food or warming up the food slightly to enhance its odour and entice your cat to eat.

  • 4. Due to some stress: Stress can have a significant impact on a cat’s appetite. If there have been recent changes in your cat’s environment, such as moving to a new home or the addition of a new pet, she may be feeling stressed and anxious. Provide a calm and quiet space for your cat, and try to minimise any potential stressors to help stimulate her appetite.

  • 5. Spoiled Food: If the food you are offering to your old cat has spoiled or gone bad, she may refuse to eat it. Cats have a keen sense of smell and can easily detect when food is no longer fresh. Always check the expiration dates and ensure that the food is properly stored to maintain its quality. If you suspect that the food may be spoiled, discard it and offer your cat a fresh meal.

  • 6. Dental problems: Dental problems can make eating painful or uncomfortable for your old cat. As cats age, dental issues such as gum disease or tooth decay become more common. These conditions can make it difficult for your cat to chew her food. Leading to a loss of appetite. Regular dental check-ups and proper dental care are crucial to maintaining your cat’s oral health and ensuring she can eat comfortably.

  • 7. A Change in Diet: Introducing a new diet abruptly can cause your old cat to refuse to eat. Cats are creatures of habit and can be resistant. to change. If you have recently switched your cat’s food, consider gradually transitioning to the new diet by mixing it. with the old food. This will allow your cat to adjust to the new taste and texture more easily, increasing the chances of her accepting the new diet

  • 8. Recent Vaccination: Some cats may experience a temporary loss of appetite after receiving vaccinations. This reaction is usually mild and should resolve within a day or two. However, if your cat’s lack of appetite persists for longer or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, consult your veterinarian for further evaluation.

  • 9. Travelling: Travelling can be stressful for cats, and this stress can affect their appetite. If you have recently taken your old cat on a trip, or if she has been exposed to unfamiliar surroundings, she may be hesitant to eat. Give your cat some time to adjust. and ensure she feels secure in her environment. Offer her familiar food and provide a quiet and comfortable space for her to eat.

  • 10. Low-Quality Diet: A low-quality diet lacking essential nutrients may not be appealing to your old cat. Cats require a balanced diet rich in animal protein, animal fat, vitamins, and minerals to maintain their health.
old cat not eating

If you are feeding your cat a subpar diet. Consider switching to a high-quality cat food brand recommended by your veterinarian. Providing your cat with a nutritious diet can greatly improve her appetite and overall well-being.

Serious Reasons Why An Elderly Cat Stops Eating

While most cases of an old cat not eating can be attributed to common reasons, some more serious underlying health conditions can cause a loss of appetite. It is important to be aware of these conditions and seek veterinary care. attention if you suspect any of the following:

  • 1. Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism is a common condition in older cats, characterised by an overactive thyroid gland. Cats with Hyperthyroidism may cause weight loss, increased thirst, and decreased appetite. If you notice these symptoms, In your old cat, consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment options.

  • 2. Kidney failure Kidney:  failure is another prevalent health issue in elderly cats. It can lead to decreased appetite, weight loss, increased thirst, and changes in urination habits. Prompt veterinary care is crucial to managing kidney failure and Providing supportive treatment to improve your cat’s quality of life.

  • 3. Heart Problems: Heart problems, such as congestive heart failure, can cause your old cat to lose her appetite. Cats with heart issues may also display symptoms like lethargy, difficulty breathing, and coughing. If you suspect that your cat’s heart health may be compromised, consult your veterinarian for a thorough examination and appropriate treatment
old cat not eating
  • 4. Diabetes: Diabetes can affect cats of any age, but it is more commonly diagnosed in older cats. Increased thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, and a decreased appetite are some of the signs to look out for. Early detection and proper Management of diabetes is essential to prevent complications and maintain your cat’s well-being.

  • 5. Cancer: Unfortunately, cancer can also be a reason why your old cat is not eating. Tumours, especially in the gastrointestinal tract, can interfere with your cat’s ability to eat and digest food. If you notice unexplained weight loss, abnormal lumps, or other concerning symptoms, consult your veterinarian for a thorough evaluation.

How To Encourage An Elderly Cat to Eat

Now that we have explored the reasons why your old cat may not be eating, let’s discuss some strategies to encourage
her to eat:

  • 1. Animal Protein: Cats are obligate carnivores and require animal protein in their diet. Offer your cat high-quality cat food that contains a significant amount of animal protein. This will not only entice her with the taste but also provide the essential nutrients. She needs to thrive.

  • 2. Animal Fat: Including animal fat in your cat’s diet can enhance the flavour and make the food more appealing. Look for cat food that contains a moderate amount of animal fat to encourage your old cat to eat.

  • 3. Vitamins: Certain vitamins, such as vitamin B12, can stimulate your cat’s appetite. Consult your veterinarian to determine if your cat could benefit from vitamin supplements.

  • 4. Minerals: Minerals like zinc and selenium are essential for maintaining a healthy appetite in cats. Ensure that your cat’s food contains an adequate amount of these minerals to support her overall well-being.

  • 5. Take Your Old Cat to the Vet: If your old cat’s lack of appetite persists despite your efforts, it is crucial to take her to the veterinarian for a thorough examination. The vet will be able to assess her overall health, diagnose any underlying conditions, and recommend appropriate treatment options.
old cat not eating
  • 6. Change their diet: If your cat has been eating the same food for a long time and has lost interest in it, consider switching to a different brand or flavour. Cats can get bored with their food, so offering variety can help stimulate their appetite.

  • 7. Make changes in your cat’s environment: Creating a calm and stress-free environment for your old cat can greatly improve her appetite. Ensure that she has a quiet place to eat, away from loud noises or disruptions. Providing her with a comfortable and familiar feeding area can make mealtime more enjoyable.

  • 8. Provide them with warm food.: Warming up your cat’s food slightly can enhance its aroma and make it more enticing. However, be cautious not to make it too hot, as cats have sensitive tongues.

  • 9. Allow them to eat when they want: Some cats prefer grazing throughout the day rather than having set meal times. If your old cat shows interest in eating at different times, consider leaving food out for her to nibble on throughout the day.

  • 10. Change Feeding Methods: If your cat is having difficulty eating from a regular bowl, try using a shallow plate or a puzzle feeder. This alternative Feeding method can make mealtime more engaging and encourage your cat to eat.

  • 11. Keep a calm dining environment: Avoid placing your cat’s food near her litter box or in a high-traffic area. Cats prefer a clean and quiet space to eat. without any distractions.
old cat not eating

Some Other Queries You Might Be Searching For

  • 1. A 16-year-old cat is not eating much: If your 16-year-old cat is not eating much, it could be due to various reasons discussed earlier in this blog. Assess your cat’s behaviour, and consult your veterinarian if you have concerns about her appetite.

  • 2. An 18-year-old cat is not eating much:  As cats age, their appetite may decrease. However, if your 18-year-old cat is not eating much and shows other signs of illness or distress, seek veterinary attention to ensure there are no underlying health issues.

  • 3. A 20-Year-Old Cat Not Eating: A 20-year-old cat not eating requires immediate veterinary attention. Consult your veterinarian to determine the cause of the loss of appetite and to provide appropriate care for your elderly cat.

  • 4. What to Feed a Sick Cat That Won’t Eat: If your sick cat is not eating, consult your veterinarian for guidance. They may recommend prescription diets or provide alternative feeding methods to ensure your cat receives the necessary nutrition.

  • 5. Old Cat Not Eating But Drinking Water: If your old cat is drinking water but not eating, it could indicate various health issues. Monitor your cat closely, and seek veterinary advice to determine the cause of her decreased appetite.

  • 6. An Old Cat Not Eating Much but Acting Normal: An old cat not eating much but acting normal could be experiencing a minor issue or undergoing a natural decrease in appetite due to age. However, it is still advisable to consult your veterinarian for a thorough examination to rule out any potential health concerns.

  • 7. Old Cat Not Eating But Acting Normal: If your old cat is not eating but is otherwise behaving normally, monitor her closely for any other changes in behaviour or signs of illness. If the lack of appetite persists, consult your veterinarian for further evaluation.

  • 8. Old Cat Not Eating or Pooping: An old cat that is not eating or pooping requires immediate veterinary attention. It could indicate a serious underlying health issue, such as an obstruction or gastrointestinal problem. Contact your veterinarian for an urgent examination and appropriate treatment.


In conclusion, a loss of appetite in an old cat can be caused by various factors, ranging from temporary issues to more serious underlying health conditions.

By understanding the possible reasons why your old cat is not eating and implementing the suggested solutions, you can help stimulate her appetite and ensure her overall well-being.

Remember, if your cat’s lack of appetite persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it is crucial to consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

With proper care and attention, you can help your old cat regain her appetite and enjoy a healthy and happy life.

To read more poems about pet care, visit here..

How do cats say goodbye?

It is common for cats to move to a quiet place when they are very close to passing.

Can a cat recover from not eating?

Cats can survive for about two weeks without eating, but only three days without drinking.

What to do if your old cat isn’t eating?

Always seek veterinary attention for your cat within 24 hours of any noticeable change in appetite.

How long can an elderly cat go without eating?

The average cat can technically survive for one to two weeks.

What are end-of-life signs in elderly cats?

Is My Cat Near Death? What Are the Signs That a Cat Is Dying?
Not drinking.
Not eating.
Lack of coordination.
Breathing slowly.

My Old Cat Is Not Eating
Article Name
My Old Cat Is Not Eating
Your old cat might not be eating due to dental problems, sickness, stress, or just not feeling hungry.
Publisher Name
Publisher Logo