Help! My New Kitten Won’t Eat

Kitten not eating

You’ve thought of it all: toys, food bowls, a litter box, a scratching pole, and even a comfy bed. There’s been no expense spared for your precious new arrival. You’ve also gone the extra mile and stocked up with some delicious-looking, kitten food.

One week later and… Houston, we have a problem. Your new kitten is not eating. He seems to sneer at his new food bowl and move on. Is it the food? Is he sick? What is going on? Read on to find out.

Food Glorious Food!

It’s understandable to think that he just doesn’t like the food you’ve put in front of him. Could the flavor be wrong? Is it too cold for his mouth? Both are possible explanations, although when a growing kitten is hungry, they’ll tend to try and eat almost anything.

It’s possible that the food you give your kitten may not be what they’re used to. Check with the person who gives you the kitten what they’d been feeding them before and if there were any feeding issues. 

If you do alter the type of food you plan to feed your kitten, do so gradually over a week or so. Put small quantities of the new food onto a saucer next to a bowl with their regular food. Slowly increase and decrease the respective amounts.

Is the Bowl the Right Shape?

Aside from food, there could be something else going on. Next up is the bowl. Kittens don’t like their whiskers touching the sides of their bowl. Their whiskers are extremely sensitive and kittens may experience what some people call “whisker fatigue.”

Think of this as a kind of overload of information in the whiskers that could stress a kitten out. In the vet community, the jury is still out on whether “whisker fatigue” really is a problematic condition.

It’s better to be safe and sure, so go for flat food bowls that are wide and shallow or serve their food on a saucer or small plate.

Location, Location, Location!

Where you put the food bowl can be vital. If your new kitten isn’t eating, try moving the bowl to a new place. Cats do not like anything disturbing them while they eat. Keep the bowl away from their litter tray and put it somewhere your kitten can eat in peace.

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If you have other pets, it’s a good idea to keep them apart at mealtimes. That means putting their bowls in different places too. 

Kittens Like Cleanliness

Always keep your kitten’s bowl clean, and make sure you rinse it well to prevent any detergent residue affecting the taste and texture of their food. 

Ceramic bowls work best as they don’t retain smells in the same way that plastic ones can.

Too Much Stress

Some kittens have a more sensitive nature than others. When you bring them to their new home, there’s a lot to get used to. They do need time to adjust to their new surroundings. 

They might find that the move from a breeder or shelter can make them feel anxious. That, in turn, can make them lose their appetite. 

When you pick up your new kitten, ask the person who hands them over for an object they’re familiar with. This will help your kitten to settle in. 

Dental Issues, a Sore Mouth or Feeling Ill

If only we could talk to our animals. Then we’d be able to ask them if they’re experiencing any aches from teething along with painful gums. These kinds of problems could be enough to stop your kitten from eating.

Kittens will lose their appetite if they’re feeling poorly. There are plenty of illnesses and conditions that could lie behind your kitten not wanting to eat. These could be things like:

  • A clogged up nose
  • Parasites in the intestine
  • Constipation or stomach problems

If you’re in any doubt about why your kitten is not eating, you should seek professional help. Your vet has the experience to know if your kitten needs some medical attention or if they are simply a nervous eater. 

A Few Things to Try

These are some suggestions that could help your kitten regain his appetite:

  • Try a selection of food flavors and textures 
  • Ensure the food is around normal body temperature
  • Use a wide ceramic food bowl or plate and always keep it clean
  • Do not let anyone interfere with your kitten while they eat

Remember that some cats tend to snack or graze on their food. You can try leaving out some kitten biscuits so that they can graze if they get peckish during the day or at night. If doing this make sure to keep an eye on your cat’s weight as they might consume too much!

Get in Touch with Us

If you have any concerns at all that your new kitten is not eating, you should take them to see a professional. A video consultation with one of Cooper Pet Care’s qualified veterinarians is only a few clicks away. Fast, simple, and secure – get the answers you need. 

We are also delighted to be able to offer straightforward, hassle-free, pet insurance for your kitten. This will give you constant peace of mind during your new pet’s long and happy future. 

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