• APPETITE LOSS & DRINKING
If your cat has suddenly stopped eating anything at all over several normal mealtimes you should call a vet for direct advice. If they have simply gone off their food, try other brands.
There are many medical reasons for an unusual loss of appetite, just for example - anemia, kidney disfunction or they may simply have dental problems or a furball. Your vet should be your first port of call for appetite loss to rule out health problems.
It is not uncommon however for cats to go off their food from time to time, they enjoy variety (it is a natural instinct to vary behaviour patterns to avoid predation, maintain a healthy variety & avoid dependancy on one form of prey).
It is also usual that they go off their food for a time when they are relocated, or are feeling anxious, worried or afraid. They need to feel secure & usually unobserved wherever they are to be fed, animals can feel vulnerable when they are eating. Too much human, or indeed any other animals, attention to their food may make them feel insecure or that it is unsafe.
Cats can survive for weeks without food, but only days without water. Leave fresh water for them even if you do not witness them drinking it (they will at their comfort & convenience).
Cats generally prefer their water source to be well away from their food source!
(This makes sense to their wild instincts, as decaying animals will contaminate fresh water.)
Giving them time, space & peace is often the best cure for the appetite loss of a newly re-homed cat. Allowing them to settle quietly into a room, while routinely leaving food & always providing fresh water for them. Leaving them alone to investigate their meals for themselves, is generally all that is required. Licking their lips is a sign of anxiety but also of hunger.
Even if they do not eat it, provide fresh food in a clean bowl at mealtimes, offer variety & leave them alone with it.
A cats nose is sensitive, they are instinctually reluctant to eat food that is not fresh.
As cats age, their nutritional requirements change, they may eat less or appear to go off their usual meals. Ask a vet for advice on the correct food for your cats age.
If a cat has been unwell, s/he may go off their food. Plainly cooked chicken breast meat is very easy for them to digest & is recommended by vets for stomach upset recovery.
Never give an animal anything cooked which could have bones in it! When cooked, bones become brittle and can splinter dangerously if bitten. Sharp objects can be lethal if ingested.
Beware of over enthusiastic feeding guidelines on some pet food packaging! These can be wildly exaggerated to generate more sales by the overfeeding of animals. Mostly, cats will eat only what their body size requires. (this is instinct - a fat cat cant hunt successfully) Your vet can recommend an appropriate food, &/or increasing or decreasing food intake, judging by the animals weight.
A little specially formulated cat milk, can also be left down for them as a treat. (this should never be a substitute for fresh water!)
It is not uncommon for cats to drink water without their keepers ever seeing them do so, they will still need several fresh water bowls around the house to encourage them (especially if they are on a dry food diet). This is important even if you don't believe that they use them often, a low water intake can cause health problems.
To encourage drinking, pet water fountains are available. The constantly moving water will be oxygenated by the fountain & will remain fresh for longer. This will taste better to cats, there will also be a filter inside cleansing the water of impurity. The movement & sound of the fountain should also attract cats attention.
If a day or two has passed & they still aren't eating properly & you are worried, please see the following page
Cats could be put off their food because of health reasons, anxiety & stress, if the food is not fresh, or they are bored of it
The licking of lips can be a sign of hunger, but also anxiety
Watching a cat eat can make them self conscious & may put them off
Leave food near their safe den & leave the cat in peace with it, don't pressure them
Fresh water must always be available, even if you don't see them drinking it
Tasty treats offered with a spoon can be a way of acclimatising a nervous cat to you