Updated: July 8, 2014
Anorexia is a term used to describe the situation where an animal loses his appetite and does not want to eat or is unable to eat. Appetite is psychological, dependent on memory and association, as compared with hunger, which is physiologically aroused by the body's need for food.
There are many causes of anorexia in cats. Often, a loss of appetite is the first indication of illness. Diseases of the digestive system (esophagus, stomach, intestine, liver, pancreas), the kidneys
, the blood, the eyes, mouth, nose, and throat, the skin, the brain, and many other organs in the body can cause a loss of appetite. Pain of any cause
can also make a cat less willing to eat.
Alternatively, cats will occasionally refuse food for reasons that are much less serious, such as dislike for a new food, or behavioral reasons (new home, new animal or new person in household, etc.)
Regardless of cause, loss of appetite can have a serious impact on your cat's health if it lasts 24 hours or more. Very young animals (less than 6 months of age) are particularly prone to the problems brought on by loss of appetite.Diagnosis
Because of the numerous causes of anorexia, your veterinarian will recommend certain procedures to pinpoint the underlying problem. These may include: Physical examination including buccal exam (looking at the gums), auscultation (listening with a stethoscope), abdominal palpation (feeling the size and shape of the organs in the belly), and taking the temperature and weight
Complete blood panel and urinalysis (urine test), to screen for certain diseases of the internal organs
X-rays of the chestand the abdomen
Fecal examination (microscopic evaluation of the stool to look for parasites)
Additional tests, depending on initial test results