A cat's appetite can wax and wane, depending on their age, activity levels and overall health. However, if your cat has completely lost interest in food, it's important to take them to the vet for a check-up. Read on to find out why.
They could develop a taurine deficiency
Cats need to consume adequate amounts of animal protein on a regular basis in order to stay healthy. The reason for this is that animal protein is a good source of an amino acid called taurine. Taurine contributes to the growth of a cat's organs and bodily tissues and plays an important role in numerous metabolic processes.
If your cat loses their appetite and does not, therefore, ingest enough taurine, they may start to become deficient in this amino acid. If this should happen, they could end up experiencing a lot of serious health complications; taurine deficiency can, for example, cause tooth decay, heart problems, digestive issues and retina damage.
As such, it is vital to bring your cat to the vet if they lose their appetite for more than a few days. During your visit, the vet may take blood and urine samples to check your pet's taurine levels.
If they find that your cat has developed a deficiency, they may provide you with a liquid supplement that you can add to their drinking water to increase their taurine levels. They may also perform further tests to determine the root cause of your cat's loss of appetite.
It could be a sign of an underlying disease
As mentioned above, a cat can sometimes experience a change in their appetite as they get older or become less active. As such, it is not always cause for alarm.
However, occasionally, a loss of appetite can be a symptom of an underlying health condition. For example, it can be an indication of heart failure. If this is the case, your vet may need to prescribe medication to reduce inflammation in your cat's heart muscle and prevent the disease from progressing any further.
Likewise, a reduction in appetite can sometimes be a sign of cancer. Many types of cancer can make a cat nauseous, which can, in turn, lead to them losing interest in food. In this situation, your cat may need medication, surgery or chemotherapy.
In short, it is very important to go to your vet so that, if your pet's appetite issues are the result of an underlying illness, they can receive the treatment they need to recover.