🐱 WHAT Happens If a Cat DOESN’T EAT MEAT? (Did You Know It?)

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You might have seen the eternal connection between Cat & Fish, or perhaps Cat & Mouse – just not the friendly one! Fishes, Mice, Sparrows, etc. have been the favorite food of cats since eternity. Unlike some other pets, cats are not omnivores or herbivores. They are true carnivores and love meat. If you are a new parent to a cat, you might still know how much they love it. Cartoons and animations have always shown the liking of cats towards meat and fish products as well.

Meat provides all the essential nutrients cats need being predators and carnivores by nature. If your cat is not eating meat or meaty dishes, it might soon suffer from health conditions such as protein (taurine) deficiency, lethargies, or general immunosuppressive syndrome. For this reason, cats need to have mainly a non-veg diet. The canned food makes it also possible for the owners to provide other kinds of meat to their cats.

My cat has been eating meat for a long time now, but he stopped having meat a few weeks back. Like any other cat parent, I was worried and began tracking his activities to determine the possible reasons. A few things I observed to make a decision included

  • Is my cat eating other kinds of food other than meat?
  • Is he lethargic and feels weak?
  • Is the cat active and normal other than refusing meat?
  • Is my cat feeling nauseous and gagging? Is he taking other kids of food?

All these questions are crucial while looking forward to finding a solution for your cat’s eating habits. Finding the right answers can help you understand your cat’s situation better and make the right decision. I found out that my cat stopped having meat due to a little mistake I made. Though it took me some time to figure out, I could change it and make my cat comfortable. You might also be able to judge the issue based on the observation.

For instance, if our cat has other kinds of food but not meat, he might have some food problems. Though, if he seems weak and lazy, he might not be physically fit. Remember, if your neighbor’s cat refused to eat meat because she didn’t like the taste, the same might not be the reason for your cat.

Keep an eye on your cat, and upon proper observation, you can decide what could be the cause for your cat stops eating meat.

Reasons a Cat Refuses to Eat Meat

There can be several reasons for your cat not to eat meat. Finding the underlying issue is essential to figure out an appropriate solution

Among the most common reasons are the following:

1. Tired of the same food

Yes, your cat might be tired of eating the same food for weeks, mainly if you have shifted him to raw meat. If you wonder that they have been eating one particular dry or canned food for a long time, why this behavior occurs with fresh meat? It might be the case as the processed food always has additional ingredients that keep your feline hooked to it. Similarly, canned cat food can also keep your cat addicted to it.

2. Sickness

If you encounter the same behavior from your cat even after changing the food, it might be an underlying illness. Your cat might have an acute or chronic condition, and identifying a worsening health condition is vital. Sometimes cats suffer from dental, gastrointestinal, or emotional sickness that they are not able to express.

3. Anxiety

If the cat avoids eating in front of you, members of the house, or other pets, he might be anxious about the presence.

Anxiety among pets is a serious condition and needs to be clarified immediately. Anxiety and stress might halt your cat from eating anything, not only meat. As a pet parent, you should figure out a reason for such a cat’s condition. Often cats do not feel safe around new people or additional pets. Moreover, they might perceive somebody in the house as a potential threat.

2. Digestive Disorders

Likewise, if the cat comes near the food bowl or asks for some other food, he might be suffering from a stomach illness.

Has your cat been gagging recently? If the answer is yes, you can relax a bit as the problem is temporary and solvable. Cats are notorious for their explorative behavior and the wish to eat anything and everything they see. If your cat is gagging, it can be a symptom of eating something he has not been able to digest properly. Usually, the cats eat hairballs resulting in nausea and gagging. The cat might start eating meat again when he gets rid of the hairball inside.

3. Dental Issues

If you see your cat trying to eat the meat but giving up after some time, he might be having a tooth issue that stops him from eating meat.

The difficulties with meat chewing in cats can be the result of different periodontal diseases such as cavities, stomatitis, gingivitis, or other problems. Try to feed your feline a healthy and balanced diet to prevent any dental issues.

! In any case, always consult your vet to find out the initial cause of the symptom and prescribe proper treatment.

What to do if a cat does not eat meat?

If you have switched to raw meat recently and your cat refuses this food, do not worry. It would take him some time to adjust to the new kind of food. However, if it happens for more than two meals, it is important to rule out the problem. Else your cat would be deprived of the nutrients and become weak.

But what to do for the cat to enjoy meat?

1. Add flavor

The most common problem with new raw meat eaters is they get tired of the food too quickly. After eating kibble in the past, they miss the flavor and find meat boring. Adding a new flavor to it can be favorable for your cat, and he would enjoy his meal again. Don’t use artificial flavorings or additives as they can be harmful to your feline, try to use natural ingredients only.

2. Variety of proteins

Other than adding flavor to your food, you can also try altering types of protein. If your cat does not stick to the flavored food, this can be beneficial. You can add up to three proteins to your cat’s diet and offer alternatively. I usually change the meat type every week to provide a change of taste. The cats appreciate and would be happy to go back to the previous one after two weeks. However, do not add two variants at once. Start with one, then two, and then protein number three after a couple of weeks.

Cats can tolerate raw meat in almost every form except for cats that are immunocompromised. For such cats, it is better to cook meat before serving. Though, for cats with no medical conditions, a variety of protein options are available, like

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Duck
  • Veal
  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Fish
  • Other seafood

3. Try another texture of meat

Your cat loved chicken chunks but now despises them? Maybe because he is tired of eating the same kind of food every day. If you have been giving him pieces of meat, try shifting to mince and vice versa. Having your cat change his diet takes lots of effort and patience, so be ready!

4. Regular Food

All of us have heard that the value of something is known when we lose it. Why not try this with your cat? You can add one or two varieties of meats to your cat’s diet. But what if he gets tired of these too! Giving regular food every once in a while is healthy for them to enjoy the raw meat and devour the next meal you provide.

5. Offer treats

Giving treats too frequently might not be the best option, yet they are sometimes good if they make your cat happy. If you know a meal, in particular, your cat likes, adding a little bit of it to the regular diet can make a drastic change. Even the slightest hint of the cat’s favorite food in the bowl would make him finish the food to an end. Though ensure to offer a healthy treat as your cat might get accustomed to it. Any unhealthy food can potentially harm your pet.

6. Don’t add medicines

Sometimes cat owners add medicines to the cat food to avoid the mess. And that is the mistake I made. I tried giving medication to my cat by masking it in food without knowing that the pill had a bitter taste. Adding a bitter medicine to the meat would convince your cat that there is something wrong with it, and he would not want to eat it.

Always ask the vet before adding any medicine to the food in powdered form to avoid such situations.

7. Visit the vet

If you are wondering that you have tried these remedies and still see no improvement in your cat’s condition, it is recommended to ask for medical assistance from a vet.

The cat might be suffering from an underlying sickness that you are unable to understand. Going to a vet is the only option in such a case. Also, do not delay the visit as if a cat stays hungry for long, it can negatively affect his health.

What happens if a cat DOES NOT eat meat?

Cat’s naturally love to eat meat. Meat is attractive to cats not only due to its appearance, aroma, or taste but also because it fulfills all the nutritional needs of your pet

But, what if your cat stops eating meat for any of the reasons mentioned above? Is it okay to leave the cat by himself and let him eat whatever he wants? Though it is possible, yet not the best idea if you want a healthy cat. Trying to change someone’s instinct never comes with positive outcomes. Meat has essential nutritional value for the cat, and its absence might cause health issues.

Some of the vital nutrients in meat are,

· Protein

Proteins are the most critical component of a cat’s diet. Cat bodies are intended to hunt and eat, making the demand for proteins in the body higher than in other animals. Other sources also provide proteins, but they are less in quantity as compared to meat. So cats need to have enough proteins from meat to stay active and healthy.

· Taurine

Taurine is an essential amino acid for cats that is vital for proper heart function. It is only found in milk and meat, and no other sources provide enough taurine to the cats. Humans and dogs can produce taurine, cats are dependent on other meat sources to fulfill their needs. 

If a cat does not get enough taurine, he might develop a heart condition called the DCM. DCM or Dilated CardiacMyopathy refers to the weakening of the heart’s wall and decreased cardiac function. This illness can lead to fatal conditions due to the reduced blood supply to bodily organs. Additionally, prolonged taurine deficiency can also lead to blindness in cats.

How to choose the right meat for your cat?

If you are buying raw meat, be sure that your cat does not have hypersensitivity and accept it. You can select any of the meat options mentioned earlier.

However, if you are buying canned foodalways check the label to see if it has the essential nutritional value for your cat.

While checking the label, look for

  • A natural protein source should be mentioned at the beginning of the ingredients list. If it says “meat,” it is better to look further for more detailed information on the package.
  • Cat food should be compliant with the AAFCO’s requirements for “Complete and Balanced Pet Food.”
  • Always check the expiry date to ensure the food is fresh.
  • Avoid boxes that say “By-products” or anything mentioning “Digest” along with the meat source.
  • Look for pet food containing No additives, flavorings, or preservatives.
  • Avoid foods that have excess carbohydrates.
  • Try to choose either Superpremium or Holistic cat food brands from small, proven manufacturers.

Final Words: Can my cat be a vegan?

A vegan diet might be favorable to many humans, but it is NOT made for cats, as they are natural carnivores.

If your cat has suddenly stopped eating meat, it might not be entirely correct to shift your cat to a vegan diet. Plant-based food does not provide the nutrients essential for a cat’s proper growth and health.

Carbohydrates present in a vegan diet are difficult for the cat to digest. As your cat would not be able to digest the food properly, he might face gastrointestinal issues. A carbohydrate-rich diet does not provide calories the way cat bodies are designed.

Taurine and proteins are not present (abundantly) in plant sources.  The cat needs meat to fulfill its everyday food needs.

Cats can be tricky at times, but timely vigilance can save your cat from any health issues. If your cat is not eating meat, check for the possible reasons and do not oversee this behavior for more than two meals.

Consult your vet to figure out what might cause such a sudden change in your cat’s eating behavior as soon as possible.

Happy Cat-Keeping!

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