Cat Asking For Food But Not Eating – Behavior Explained

Have you ever wondered why cats ask for food but don’t eat it?

Cats are known for their stubborn nature. It makes them hard to train. However, they also have their own way of communicating. If your cat asks for food but doesn’t eat it, there could be several reasons.

Cat asking for food but not eating

This blog post will discuss why cats ask for food and then refuse to eat it.

Reasons Why A Cat Might Ask For Food But Not Eat

1. Dietary Issues

Your cat’s diet should consist mainly of high protein foods such as chicken, fish, beef, lamb, eggs, etc. These foods might cause stomach upset in some cats.

Therefore, if your cat asks for food not eating, you may have to change its diet.

2. Nutritional Deficiencies

A lack of certain essential vitamins and minerals in cats’ health can lead to behavioral problems such as excessive begging for food but not eating it.

You must ensure that your cat gets all the nutrients required by them.

3. Stressful Life Events

Stress can lead to health problems in animals, including behavior problems. When an animal experiences stress, it becomes more sensitive to its surroundings.

They may start showing signs of distress when exposed to stressful situations.

4. Unhealthy Environment

An unhealthy environment can make your cat sick. The smell of smoke, chemicals, garbage, etc., can cause your cat discomfort.

Also, if your home is too hot or cold, then your cat may suffer from heatstroke or hypothermia, respectively.

5. Mental Health Problems

Some mental disorders can affect your cat’s appetite. A cat with separation anxiety may ask for food but not eat it.

Similarly, a cat who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder may ask for food repeatedly.

6. Medical Issues

If your cat has a medical problem requiring them to take medications, they may be suffering from nausea or vomiting. In such cases, they may ask for food even though they do not feel like eating.

It includes:

Gastrointestinal Problems

Gastrointestinal problems include stomach ulcers, colitis, and other digestive disorders. These diseases can lead to anorexia or weight loss.

The symptoms of gastrointestinal problems may include vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation.

The most common causes of these problems are bacterial infections, parasites, stress, and certain medications.

Kidney Disease

Kidneys help in regulating blood pressure and maintaining fluid balance in the body. When kidneys fail, it leads to dehydration and low blood pressure.

As a result, cats become lethargic and lose their appetites.

Tummy Troubles

Some cats ask for food but do not eat if they have tummy troubles. The most common reason is constipation. In some cases, they may have worms or parasites.

To treat these problems, you must make sure that your cat’s diet includes plenty of fiber. You should also give him plenty of water.

Liver Disease

Liver disease is another condition that affects the appetite of cats. It occurs when liver cells stop functioning properly. Cats with liver disease often have yellowing of the skin and eyes as well as poor appetite.

Neurological Disorders

Neurological disorders such as brain tumors, epilepsy, and spinal cord injuries can also affect your cat’s appetite. A neurological condition can cause seizures, which may interfere with regular feeding behavior.

Gum And Dental Disease

If your cat has gum and dental disease, they will have difficulty in eating such that they will ask for food but fail to eat. The gums become swollen and infected, making it difficult for your cat to chew.

Some of the symptoms include bad breath, drooling, and loss of appetite. Your vet can diagnose this condition with a simple blood test.

Cat asking for food but not eating – causes

Infectious Diseases

Infections like parvovirus, panleukopenia, and distemper can make a cat ask for food and not eat it.

Parvo is a contagious viral infection that can cause severe diarrhea, weakness, and respiratory distress. Panleukopenia is a deadly infectious disease that attacks white blood cells.

Calici fever is caused by a type of bacteria called Rickettsia Distemper is a serious illness that can cause high fever, convulsions, and coma.

Feline Leukemia Virus

Feline leukemia virus can cause several health problems in cats, including a decrease in appetite. FeLV is a type of retrovirus that affects cells throughout the body.

Other symptoms include:

  • Weight loss
  • Decreased activity
  • Increased thirst
  • Fever
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

It will be best to take your cat to the veterinarian if he’s losing weight without eating. He could be suffering from an illness that makes him lose interest in food.

Older cats are more likely to develop health problems that affect their appetites.

7. Hunger

If your cat is constantly asking for food but isn’t eating it, they might just be hungry.

This can happen if the cat has been fed on time but hasn’t eaten yet. It usually occurs when mealtime comes around, and the cat realizes that there is still food left in its bowl.

8. Anxiety

Another reason why a cat might ask for food but not eat it is that it feels anxious.

Your cat may feel anxious about something happening at home, like another animal coming into the house or even a loud noise. When an animal becomes anxious, it will start looking for comfort in any form.

9. Learned Behavior

Your cat may have developed a bad habit of asking for food even if it’s not hungry. In these cases, the cat learns that people always give them food whenever it wants it.

10. Age

Sometimes old cats can ask for food but fail to eat it. As cats get older, their appetites naturally decline. Older cats may begin to eat less than younger ones.

11. Unfamiliar Surroundings

A cat is a creature of habit. A new home can really throw them off. They become depressed and anxious, and the first thing that gets thrown out is the appetite.

If your cat has been in an unfamiliar place for a long time, he may ask for food and not eat I when given. He might even start throwing up or have diarrhea.

It helps if they are given their old dishes and other familiar items around the house. They will usually begin eating as soon as they start feeling more at home.

If they do not, an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication may help.

12. Foreign Body Ingestion

Foreign bodies include hairballs, bones, and various objects such as toys. These foreign bodies get stuck in the throat and cause choking. When this happens, the cat might have the urge to eat but can’t eat.

The best way to remove these foreign bodies is by using a syringe. Once the object has been removed, you should administer fluids and vitamins to your cat.

13. Psychological Problems

Cats can suffer from psychological disorders when they feel threatened. One of the leading causes of this behavior is separation anxiety.

Some cats are afraid of being alone. They may ask for food out of fear that they won’t find anything else to eat.

To help with separation anxiety, try keeping your cat near you when you’re away from home. You can also give them treats to comfort them.


In conclusion, there are many reasons why your cat may refuse to eat. However, if you notice any unusual behaviors, you should take action immediately.