You bring home a new kitten, and you are very excited, but after some while, you start seeing that your little babe kitten does not eat and ask yourself this question: why my kitten is not eating? There is no need to worry at the beginning, especially if it is just the first day, but a pet owner needs to start thinking to seek some professional help if their kitten does not eat for 24h or more. Kittens are tiny and need a lot of nutrients to grow healthy, so it is important to recognize the issue in the early stage. Also, we have many good articles about the best kitten food, and you can read them here.
There can be many reasons why a kitten is not eating and refuses even the tastiest food, and not always it is food quality or taste itself as a lot of times kitten owners might think. We have this impression that cats eat all the time, otherwise, something is wrong, but before being worried you can read this blog to understand the causes and what to do to encourage your kitten to eat.
If nothing helps from what you tried and the kitten is still not eating, then you need to see a veterinarian. Here are some common points why a kitten is not eating.
WHAT CAUSES LOSS OF APPETITE IN KITTENS?
FOOD BOWL LOCATION
I already wrote before that kitten food bowl placement matters, and you should really make sure it is far away from a litter box. Humans would not eat in the toilet or enjoy eating nearby, so why would cats do?
Kittens like their privacy and if there will be some other cats around or many people walking it can be very destructive, and your kitten will not eat. Cats are hunters, even they live at home, so they will usually protect their food from other cats. This is why try to feed your kitten in the same place and keep the food bowl away from other cats or dogs.
DIRTY FOOD BOWL
As we already know, cats have an amazing ability to feel and smell better than humans, so a dirty smelly food bowl can be one of the reasons why your kitten is not eating. Vets suggest cleaning kittens’ food bowls with water and detergent after every meal, which a lot of times cat owners do not do.
THE KITTEN DOES NOT HAVE A ROUTINE AND IS NOT USED TO THE FOOD
To have healthy eating habits, kittens need a routine, and this is where we can help for sure. Especially little kittens require regular and healthy meals to develop and to grow very healthy. Creating a feeding schedule will help to make sure that this plan is achieved.
It is essential to ask the previous owner what type of food your kitten has now and if you want to change something do it slowly, so the kitten has time to adapt to new flavors. Have one bowl of original food and another of the new one and see what going to happen. If you see that the kitten eats new food more, it is a sign you can just keep the bowl with new kitten food.
Kittens while teeth growing prefer wet kitten food, but it does not mean you can not give dry kitten food later on or mix it up. Always make sure your pet has plenty of fresh water to avoid kitten constipation.
YOUR KITTEN HAS EATEN TOO MUCH
As a kitten owner, you might be afraid of your kitten not eating enough that you give the food all the time and do not understand that overeating is not good as well. Your kitten can get fat and this is not good for its health. This is why it is very crucial to read what is written on the kitten’s food label instructions and not go over the suggested amounts. In our best kitten food in 2022 article, we mention also dosages for each food.
KITTEN IS STRESSED
A kitten can be stressed because it comes to a new place and now is separated from its mother and siblings. There is a saying: “cats adapt to the place, but dogs to owners.” Meaning for them, transitioning to the new house is challenging.
One thing that can help here is asking about the previous owner’s kitten’s toy or blanket that is familiar. Make sure your little one has a safe and quiet welcoming home. Give this time and be patient. But if a kitten is anxious and stressed for a long time like one month it can mean some more serious illness, and it is time to see a vet.
YOUR KITTEN IS NOT FEELING HEALTHY
Unfortunately, there are many health issues that can cause a lack of appetite starting from tooth pain and ending with more serious issues such as a gastrointestinal foreign body. In this case, only a vet can help to understand how serious the problem is.
KITTEN DISLIKES FOOD
I think it is the most common idea in a pet owner’s mind that a kitten does not eat because it dislikes the taste or quality of the food. Different cats have different taste buds, and some can like pate, some food with gravy. Here it is on you to offer a mix of flavors, dry or wet food, grain-free kitten food, and so on to see what your kitten likes. I am pretty sure that with time you will find the best choice of kitten food.
HOW DO STIMULATE KITTENS APPETITE FOR FOOD?
When your kitten is not eating at all or eats little in the long term it can develop liver issues, and it is life-threatening for your pet, so before you start doing something on your own please talk with a professional vet.
Here are some natural suggestions that might help:
Mix different food textures to make it more appealing to your kitten. You can also warm up kitten food, but make sure it is not too hot. You can also sprinkle nutritional yeast, and some grated cheese, or add up the chicken broth to the meal. A good trick is to open a can so loud that your per hears a noise and is curious about what is happening.
Now the choice is endless, even for kittens with sensitive stomachs or grain-free options, so this is why I am sure you can find what is needed. For example, Purina Fancy Feats offers 4 flavors in one pack with salmon, turkey, chicken, and whitefish for more choices for kittens.
Change the food bowl because sometimes it can be too small and high, even another type of material for the bowl can help. As I mentioned before, cats are very clean animals and food bowls need to be cleaned on daily bases. No one likes to eat from a dirty plate.
Avoid places with many people and a stressful environment. The sun as well can help more anxious cats, and all sort of activities encourages eating because we all know after some sports we want to eat. Of course, this is only if your kitten does not have a serious illness.
Everything connected with kitten’s health and not eating properly or at all for more than 24h needs to be checked by a vet because only they can examine your kitten properly and give some medications or appetite stimulants if necessary.
Hopefully with this article why your kitten is not eating you will be able to spot any problem in early-stage and be aware of what to do and what can cause this type of behavior.
If you are interested in kitten feeding, please read these articles:
Best Affordable Kitten Food in 2022
Best Grain-Free Kitten Food in 2022