Failure to Eat, especially for Fat Cats, can be Deadly

Question:

Our 2 year old cat Zipper REFUSES to eat canned food. He pretends to cover his wet food as he would items in his litter box. He just waits until we give him dried food. How long can he go without food?

 

Dr. Nichol:

Cats can get into big trouble if they completely stop eating. Consistent food intake is a matter of survival, especially for the chunky monkeys, many of whom have infiltrated their liver cells with fat as they’ve gradually expanded their girths. Sudden weight loss due to illness, stress, or simply refusing a healthy diet for a few days can send a cat into liver failure. A surgically implanted feeding tube will turn some of them around but others can die despite our best efforts, simply because they were fat and did not eat.

 

Zipper’s attempts to bury his canned food makes it clear how he feels about it. Try mixing only small amounts of wet food in with his dry. As he learns to eat dry food “contaminated” with a little canned, you can gradually mix in more wet stuff and less dry.

 

He may fuss and howl but he will eat. Completely transitioning him to canned food could take a year. Cats can be crafty. Watch him carefully to make sure he doesn’t sneak his canned food to the dog under the dinner table.