How to check for changes in your cat’s appetite at home

  • Mochi
  • September 17, 2023

Monitoring changes in your cat's appetite is crucial as it can be an early sign of health issues. Here's a detailed guide on how to check for changes in your cat's appetite at home:

Establish a Routine

  • Consistent Feeding Times: Feed your cat at the same times every day. This makes it easier to observe any deviations in their eating habits.
  • Measured Portions: Always provide a consistent amount of food. This way, you can easily notice if they're leaving more food behind or finishing it faster than usual.

Observe Eating Behavior

  • Duration: Note how long it takes for your cat to finish their meal. A sudden increase or decrease can indicate a change in appetite.
  • Interest Level: If your cat seems disinterested in food or walks away without eating, it's a clear sign of reduced appetite.

Monitor Weight

  • Regular Weigh-ins: Weigh your cat at least once a month. A digital scale can provide accurate readings. Any sudden weight loss or gain can be indicative of health issues.
  • Body Condition: Familiarize yourself with the ideal body condition for cats. You should be able to feel their ribs without pressing hard, but they shouldn't be visibly protruding.

Check for Physical Signs

  • Hydration: A cat that's not eating might also be dehydrated. Pinch the skin at the back of their neck; if it doesn't snap back quickly, they might be dehydrated.
  • Mouth and Teeth: Dental issues can affect appetite. Check for red or swollen gums, bad breath, or broken teeth.

Monitor Behavior

  • Energy Levels: A decrease in appetite might be accompanied by lethargy or decreased activity.
  • Vocalization: Some cats become more vocal when they're hungry or if they're experiencing discomfort.

Keep Track of Treats and Snacks

  • Limit Treats: Overfeeding treats can reduce their appetite for regular meals.
  • Monitor Consumption: If your cat is refusing treats they usually love, it's a cause for concern.

Environmental Factors

  • Stress: Changes in the environment, like moving to a new house or introducing a new pet, can affect appetite.
  • Food and Bowls: Cats can be picky about their food type or even the bowl. Ensure the food hasn't expired and the bowl is clean.


  • Food Journal: Maintain a daily journal to record your cat's eating habits, including the amount consumed and any leftovers.
  • Transitioning Foods: If introducing new food, do it gradually over a week to avoid upsetting their stomach and to monitor their acceptance.
  • Consultation: Any prolonged or significant change in appetite should be discussed with a veterinarian.

Remember, while changes in appetite can be due to benign reasons like a slight change in daily routine or weather, they can also indicate underlying health issues. Always consult with your veterinarian if you're concerned about your cat's eating habits.