If my cat is not eating, how long should I wait before calling my veterinarian?
Never let any cat go for more than two days without eating and, if she does, take her to a veterinarian right away!
Cats do have a reputation for being finicky, and it’s not that unusual for them to skip a meal here and there, but when they won’t eat for two days or more, it usually means they are suffering from a disease that makes them feel nauseous, or sick in some way. When cats go off their feed, they often completely lose all interest in food, and the longer they go without eating properly, the less they seem to respond to food. It is critical to not let a cat get into this downward spiral.
There are other things you can try, such as heating or moistening the food or adding a adding a little tuna oil. You can also try preparing the food yourself and, as long as it contains meat and no onions or garlic, you can give her a little baby food. As a last resort, “bribe” your cat to eat with fried chicken. While this should definitely NOT be something you do three times a day, it’s okay to use chicken once every other day to make sure they eat. Your cat will smell the chicken more than any other food. Make sure it is warm and don’t give her chicken skin or big chunks that could cause choking.
If that doesn’t work, you can try “assist-feeding.” You should definitely research options carefully and speak to your veterinarian. Most people use either the finger-feeding or syringe-feeding method. At this point, you’ll unquestionably need to use an emergency recovery food, such as Hill’s A/D. Very digestible, it’s also high in protein and calories, which the cat will now need.
If that fails, though, you’ll need to go to the vet and force-feeding may be necessary.