Cat begging for food but won't eat food

by Shannon
(Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada)

At first my cat Garry eats the new food I buy and seemes to like it. Unfortunately he always eats too quick and barely chews. This is why I feed him three small meals a day. Then he threw it up and now refuses to touch that kind of food. I can't afford to keep buying new foods to try, so I tried mixing little bits of cheese and chicken in with the food. He will pick them out of the cat food carefully and then cry for more. I'm so frustrated! In the last four days he's only had a little bit to eat and I'm worried he'll get sick. I should also mention he has anxiety/licking fur off issues. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

P.S. I had to lock him out of the room to type this and he's crying and scratching at the door. Sigh.

Answer by Kate
I am wondering if there are other issues here. Cats like to eat food which has a very strong smell, this encourages them to eat. Now when a cat gets a cold or some other problem which can affect their sense of smell they also loss the desire to eat.

Also cats do go through periods of being fussy with the food they eat and it can take a little while to find something they like.

If I were you I would buy a high quality wet cat food which has a high quantity of meat or fish in which ever your cat normally likes and try feeding them only that. If they still refuse I would suggest that you take him to the vets to be checked over in case their is an issue which is affecting his ability to eat or swallow.

I know this can be extremely frustrating for you as I had a cat who had a thyroid problem and so was hungry all the time no matter how much they ate and the constant crying for food became very wearing. However as long as you keep in mind that your cat is not doing this deliberately and that there must be something wrong with either your cat or the particular food.

i hope the issue is sorted out soon

best wishes Kate

Comments for Cat begging for food but won't eat food

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This worked for me
by: Cakebuff72

A few months ago, my cat stopped eating for at least a week after throwing up. The vet gave her fluids & applied a dab of Mirataz appetite stimulant ointment to the inside of her ear. She ate that night, but stopped again. As a last ditch effort, the vet sold me a tube of this medicine. I applied it once, and she’s been eating ever since! My theory is that once she threw up, her stomach got a bit queasy & she was aversive to eating. I also keep two bowls of food on the floor, one with Purina One Sensitive Skin and Stomach, the other with Rachel Ray’s Inner Health with prebiotics. That way if she is leery of one, she has another option. I buy one bag of food while the other is half full, staggering the purchases so it’s not expensive. I give her way less of the ‘optional’ food too. I’m broke & this works for me. Of course, I would not recommend using an appetite stimulant for more than a couple of days. But it’s worth a try if there is nothing else wrong with your cat.

Fussy eater
by: graytabbycat

Our cat is 11 yrs old. It has just been the last year or so that he has started to get really picky. He quit eating all dry food. He used to eat it when it was a brand new bag. But, now has quit all together. I moved to wet food and he loved it. But, now he is only eating Iams wet chicken flavored cat food. But, he has no problem eating plain chicken, ham or plain pork. Are some cats just meat eaters? He also loves cheese in small amounts. Our cat also sits by his bowls like he is hungry. We are kind of wondering if it maybe it is his teeth?

Cat won't eat
by: V. Rogers

My cat died from lack of eating. I found too late that a LOT of cats suffer IBS and are nauseous. My cat's tests came back normal 2 times, 2 different vets, 1 1/2 years apart. NADA wrong. Cat kept losing weight despite the fact I fixed his nausea and he ate every hour for days. Died of jaundice with a full stomach??? There is something out there that flies under the radar for tests and parasites. I'm bereft that I could have possibly done something for him had vets paid better attention to the weight loss and anemia in SPITE OF the tests. Do not let a vet shrug it off because tests are normal or your cats will die. I have no idea what it is but this site shows me a LOT of cats are threatened by jaundice and death for unknown causes.

by: Shannon

Hi, it's hard to tell when there are replies without a date stamp. But as an update, after a couple different veteranarians, I found one that put my cat on prescription food. I found out he has food allergies because the food made all of the difference. It's Hills Prescription diet canned food. He had been licking a lot of his fur off, and after the Rx food change, he is completely normal.


Cat not eating
by: Anonymous

No idea how old this thread is but I notice the first cat had fur pulling. Two years ago our did too. Vet said they can suddenly become allergic to any flea or mite and gave a injection and our cat stopped fur pulling immediately.
Now our same cat is not eating more than a few crumbs of anything. Had some treatments and blood tests - nothing. Now going to ask for injection given 2 years ago in case it is another allargy. Fingers crossed! Hope all cats here got better.

Cat refuses to eat...
by: Alicia

I have the same problem, I took her to the vet and gave her an injection of cortisone which the vet said would like 3 weeks..Now after the 3 weeks same problem again...She asks for food all day long and when I give it to her, she makes "a face" and turns her head like the food is nasty..I give her Friskis all types of different flavors, including fish, salmon, and others...
Today I forced her to eat and ate more than half o f a can of salmon...with a little bit of vanilla Boost...

I will keep on this procedure so that she does not get sick again...since I cannot be taking her to the vet every 3 weeks and pay money for nothing...

by: Ingrid

Thank you Kate. I'm glad I discovered your website. I hope Shannon's cat starting eating again. Best wishes to you and your kitty Shannon. Ingrid

by: Ingrid

Shannon and Kate, I have bad news regarding my cat Molly. I stopped force feeding her because it was causing her (and me) too much stress. It was too late anyway because she had total liver failure and turned yellow with jaundice. I had her "put to sleep" yesterday. Sooo sad! Has your cat started eating Shannon?

So sorry Ingrid to hear that news but I did suspect from what you were saying that it may have been too late for your cat.

You did the right thing for her and now she is at peace. Best wishes Kate

by: Ingrid

Shannon, I tried to update you on what is happening with my kitty yesterday, but I must have done something wrong because I don't see that comment here. I took my Molly back to the vet, but he can't figure out why she won't eat. He can't find any obvious reason for it, and he claims she can smell. He told me that I must force feed her, and they do this with a syringe at the cat clinic using watered down Hill's science diet a/d critical care canned food. I've been doing the force feeding with the help of a friend, but I find that it is less messy just feeding her the food as it comes out of the can, using my finger to shove it into her mouth. If your cat doesn't eat for a long time, he will get liver disease and die, so you must force feed until such time as he starts eating again.

by: Ingrid

I took my cat back to the vet today, and they kept her all afternoon to try to get her to eat. The vet said that she can smell because they offered her some really stinky wet food and her nostrils moved, but she refused to eat it, so they had to force feed her. The tech showed me how to do it by mixing the food with warm water and squirting it into the cat's mouth. It's a messy operation, but it has to be done, otherwise the cat will suffer liver damage and die if it doesn't eat for a long time. My Molly has not eaten properly in about two weeks, but tonight she showed the first sign that she may be about ready to eat again. She licked some melted vanilla ice cream when I was eating some. I hope our cat starts eating again too, otherwise you will need to do that force feeding. Good luck.

same problem here
by: Ingrid

My cat had dental work done and has recovered well, but now seems not to be able to smell. Her appetite has come back and she constantly asks for food, but then refuses to eat it and walks away. She apparently doesn't recognize it as food, no matter what I offer because she can't smell it. I phoned the vet and his tech said I should keep trying to get her to eat. Not very helpful! I've tried everything already, all kinds of wet ca food, warmed up, human chicken and fish, lunch meat which she used to love. I'm at the end of my rope!

Thank you
by: Shannon

Thanks for the suggestions, I will try them!

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