What To Do When Your Cat Is Lethargic And Not Eating?

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Cats’ eating habits can be difficult to please. Sometimes they refuse to eat anything altogether even if you present them with their most favorite treats - no matter how painstakingly prepared it was. If the situation is prolonged, it will be life-threatening for your fluffy ball. And this has never failed to drive the owners crazy!

So, if your beloved cat is lethargic and not eating, then you have to find out the causes and apply any available treatments for such condition, just in case.

Why Is Your Cat Lethargic and Not Eating?

Domesticated cats are forever better than us at relaxing and enjoying life. All they need to do (and are excellent at) are eating, sleeping, and being cute. However, these normal routines can easily be interrupted whenever the cat feels uncomfortable.

Feeling unwell suppresses their appetite and makes cats lethargic. But the root causes for this are usually of either physical sickness or mental illness.

They Are Afraid

For any living being, having to live alone or with strangers in an unfamiliar environment is definitely a terrifying idea! And this is of no exception to cats, either.

It could be a little frightening during the first few days for your new cat. That’s why they will be highly alert, usually skip meals, then go find a corner to hide, and sleep much longer you would think they are in a coma.

Other than alien habitat, things like loud noises from a nearby construction, the fire alarm, a gun, etc. can be your cat worst nightmares as well.

They Are Sick or Having Food Poisoning

Aside from Parvo or FPV, just like dogs getting flea, cats can catch parasitic worms as well. This often happens due to the owner’s neglect to deworm their cat periodically, which leads to the parasites multiply quickly inside the cat’s intestines and metabolize all of the sustenance. The cat during this time is very tired, so you will constantly see him lethargic and not eating anything.

Sometimes, cats avoid meals because of the hot weather. However, the situation is direr than you think if your cat is not just drowsy and refuses to eat but also continuously throws up, or that there is blood mixed in vomits or stool.

Those may be the first signs of him suffering from food poisoning. Or worse, he is facing heart-and-liver-related diseases like heartworm, diabetes, even liver tumours.

They Get Medicine Side Effects

Visiting a veterinary is never a cheery occasion for cats. To them, a vet clinic means funny smells, lots of poking and utterly distasteful pills.

What happens all the time with us after taking medications or a surgery will also happens with animals. There are numerous of medical substances that gravely influence your pet cat’s body, even if lethargic appearance and meal-avoidance is the only signs he displays.

Tommy, You Little Trickster! – Or Is It His Owner’s Fault?

As has been acknowledged for a long time, domesticated cats are cunning creatures. These sneaky little things are experts at enjoying life, so they will know what is better when they see it and will remember it well, too. So as to they may get the same indulgence whenever they go on a hunger strike.

And let’s face it, part of why your cat is lethargic and not eating is your own fault.

Because as good as a cat’s memory is, how could he possibly know which is tastier than which if, in the beginning, his owner didn’t introduce the better-smelling food for him to compare?

What To Do When Your Cat Is Lethargic And Not Eating?

Supervise Your Cat

If your cat is uncharacteristically gloomy (or gloomier than usual) and stops eating, you could first assume that they are being ill, but you must keep a clear head because panic definitely won’t be helpful in such situation.

Though the chance of furry friend catching a bug is not always happen, being alert will keep you on your toe and more observant of other symptoms.

You may call a veterinarian to ask for advice if the drowsy state prolongs for more than a day. Tell him what you have noted down and he will decide whether your cat need immediate medical attention or not.

Change to a Tastier Diet

In order to cure a cat whose lethargic due to his own eating habit, you should first try all lenient methods available. Some suggestions include luring and coaxing him with alluring treats, together with some affectionate gestures he likes.

If this is all for naught, the last resort to employ is to take him to the clinic where experienced vets could give him an injection to boost his appetite, as well as to aid his digestion.

Wait for Your Cat to Get Acquainted with the New House

Only cats with skittish trait noted as chronic need veterinary attention. Otherwise, a newly adopted cat will need some time to get acquaintance to his new home. During this time, it is un-alarming when your new cat is lethargic and not eating.

However, it is not to say that you may not call a vet. It’s just that you need to monitor your feline pet a little more before making that consulting call.

All cats are cautious by nature, so they will be extra discreet in a new environment. But after a while, when they have got used to the house and your present, you’ll see them getting back to their true, active self in no time!

Check for External Injuries

Immediately check for external injuries or skin-parasites (like cat flea) and gently prod him all over, then call the vet if you detect dramatic changes in your normally healthy cat after he comes home from the outside.

When a curious cat is out of your sight, he could be anywhere – on the roof, under the stairs, out in the (neighbor’s) garden, etc. He could have ingested god-knows-what, too. So the chance of your curious fellow swallowing something he shouldn’t – or worse, something poisonous – is high.

Also, due to cats’ tendency to mask sicknesses or go hiding when they are sick, it can be even harder to note. 

Feed Your Cat Nutritional Gels

An intense surgery or injury treatment, which could take days to perform, could make your beloved cat lethargic and not want to eat anything. So, for the purpose of helping him speedily regain his health, you can feed him nutritional gels available at any pet store. Because those are high-calorie supplement, you will only need to feed your tired cat twice a day, and his body will still be provided with enough vitamins and minerals.


Normally, a cat’s sleeping hour is roughly 12 hours a day. Therefore it’s nothing unusual if your cat spends the rest of the day lying awake and doing nothing while his peers go out playing and strolling.

That is not to say the situation can’t take a sudden turn for the worse. Specifically, if your cat is lethargic and not eating either, you should start observe your cat more closely to recognize other abnormal symptoms. After that, you could determine whether you need to make a consulting call to your veterinarian or you should bring him to the vet clinic immediately.

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