When Your Cat Goes on Hunger Strike: Key Steps to Ensure Their Health and Well-being


It can be distressing for any cat owner to witness their beloved feline companion going on a hunger strike. Cats are known for their selective eating habits, but when they completely refuse to eat, it's important to take action to ensure their health and well-being. In this article, we will discuss the key steps you can take to address a cat's hunger strike and ensure they receive the necessary nutrition and care they need.

Rule out underlying health issues:

The first and most crucial step when your cat goes on a hunger strike is to rule out any underlying health problems. Loss of appetite can be a symptom of various medical conditions such as dental issues, gastrointestinal problems, or infections. It's essential to consult with your veterinarian to conduct a thorough examination and diagnostic tests to identify any potential health concerns.

Assess the environment and routine:

Cats are creatures of habit, and any changes in their environment or routine can cause stress, leading to a loss of appetite. Evaluate any recent changes such as a new pet, a move, or renovations in the house that may have triggered their hunger strike. Try to provide a calm and familiar environment for your cat and maintain a consistent daily routine to help reduce stress and anxiety.

Offer a variety of appealing food options:

If your cat refuses to eat their regular food, it may be helpful to offer a variety of different options to entice them. Experiment with different flavors, textures, and brands of cat food to find something that captures their interest. You can also try warming the food slightly or adding a small amount of broth to enhance the aroma and make it more enticing.

 Try hand-feeding or food puzzles:

Some cats respond positively to hand-feeding, especially if they associate it with positive attention and bonding. Offer small amounts of food from your hand and praise them when they eat. Additionally, food puzzles or interactive toys that dispense small amounts of food can stimulate their natural hunting instincts and encourage them to eat.

Ensure proper hydration:

Dehydration can further worsen a cat's appetite, so it's crucial to ensure they have access to fresh water at all times. Consider offering a variety of water sources, such as a water fountain or multiple water bowls placed in different areas of the house. Some cats prefer running water, so a water fountain can be a great investment to encourage them to drink more.

Maintain good dental hygiene:

Poor dental health can cause discomfort and make eating painful for cats, leading to a loss of appetite. Regular dental care, including toothbrushing and dental check-ups, is essential for maintaining your cat's oral hygiene. You can also provide dental treats or incorporate dental-friendly food into their diet to promote healthy teeth and gums.

Monitor weight and seek veterinary guidance:

During your cat's hunger strike, it's crucial to monitor their weight to ensure they're not losing too much body condition. Weigh them regularly and keep a record of their weight. If you notice significant weight loss or if the hunger strike persists for more than 24-48 hours, it's important to seek veterinary guidance promptly. A prolonged loss of appetite can lead to serious health complications in cats.


When your cat goes on a hunger strike, it's essential to take prompt action to ensure their health and well-being. By ruling out underlying health issues, creating a stress-free environment, offering appealing food options, and maintaining good dental hygiene, you can encourage your cat to eat and regain its appetite. Remember to closely monitor their weight and seek veterinary guidance if the hunger strike persists. With patience, care, and professional assistance, you can help your cat overcome their hunger strike and get back on track to a healthy and happy life. 

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