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Cat not eating since new kitten arrived.

Species: Cat
Breed: Tabby
Age: 5-8 years
My cat's behavior has changed quite a bit and won't eat. I will explain when he started acting strangely and tell you about him a little bit.
Yesterday I took in my friends 5 week old kitten to take care of him for 4 days while she's gone. Ever since, my cat hasn't been eating from what i have seen and I don't even know if he's been to the litter-box yet. He won't let me get near him he just hisses and growls in a soft tone. He doesn't like the kitten he keeps hissing at him. He did try to go near him and sniff him but once he does he either runs away quickly or hisses and tries to hit him. This is strange behavior to me. About 2 years ago or so my sister has visited us twice when she had cats the first time she only had one cat he was mad and would hiss at her cat but he would slowly approach him and from a small distance would slowly get along. My sister visited a second time with 3 cats the same thing happened they didn't fight he would hiss at them and growl quietly but slowly and also from a distance get along at point he did come close to them. (none of the cats have a problem with him he's the only one who would have problems with them)When her cats were here he would still eat and use the litter box (sometimes he even eats from my sisters cats food or use their litter-box).

So is there a reason he's acting like this with this kitten? Is there a way to get him to eat?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Sorry to hear that your cat is not enjoying your new house guest. I won't have an exact answer for you but I can give you a few suggestions.

First of all, I take it very seriously when a cat doesn't want to eat and even more seriously if he is not using the litter box. Let's start with that first.

Can you tell if he is actually going to the box at all and perhaps just not producing urine? If there is even a remote chance of a urinary blockage then he needs to see the vet right away. It wouldn't be at all related to having a kitten in the house. But, any time that I hear a story of a cat not urinating I always stress how important it is to make sure there is no urinary blockage.

It certainly is possible that he just doesn't like the kitten for whatever reason. I have seen situations where cats will get along fine with some cats and hate other ones. If he is really stressed about the presence of the kitten this can definitely cause him to go off of his food and be grumpy.

It's unlikely that the kitten has passed any sort of disease to your cat that is causing him to not eat given that the little one has only been there for a day.

It sounds to me like you'll need to keep one of the cats in another room for the duration of the stay. If it was for longer, I'd say try reintroducing them slowly after a few days but if there are only a few days left then you might as well keep them separated. If it were my house I would likely keep the kitten in a bedroom with a litter box and food and water in the bedroom and let my cat roam the house.

If your cat still isn't eating by tomorrow then I am a bit more concerned. If cats go off of their food completely they are at risk for getting a condition called fatty liver which is very serious. If he is not eating by the time you get this answer, you can try offering him some canned cat food that has been warmed in the microwave for a few seconds or even a small amount of meat containing baby food. But if he still isn't eating by tomorrow then I would have a vet take a look at him.

Hope things improve soon!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.