As you may have already guessed, cat anorexia is a condition wherein your cat loses his or her appetite and either refuses or is unable to eat. Because appetite is a psychological factor rather than a physical one, there are many causes of cat anorexia. Your biggest concern should be whether there is some more serious underlying condition causing the anorexia as a loss of appetite in cats may signify a variety of illnesses from digestive system diseases to diseases of the kidneys, blood, eyes, mouth, nose, throat, skin, and even brain. On the other hand, your cat may be refusing to eat simply because he doesn’t like the food you’re serving. Likewise, behavioural causes, like stress or anxiety, can lead to cat anorexia. Whatever the causes, a loss of appetite severe enough to diagnose anorexia is a very serious problem that must be treated.
Diagnosing anorexia can be a bit tricky because of the range of causes and because many people don’t associate anorexia with cats. A veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical exam including a complete blood panel and urinalysis, x-rays of the chest and abdomen, and fecal examination in order to make an accurate diagnosis. From there, your vet should be able to tell the causes of the anorexia and therefore the best treatment plan. For example, if your vet determines that an intestinal parasite is causing your cat’s loss of appetite then treatment will be focused on removing/killing the parasite. However, some causes of anorexia are not directly treatable meaning the anorexia itself requires treatment. This usually includes IV administration of fluids, hand feeding, or the use of appetite stimulants. These treatments are designed to get your cat healthy again but may not completely solve the problem of anorexia. Changing your cat’s diet or coaxing it to eat may still be required.