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What Does It Mean When a Cat Hides and Doesn’t Eat?

If your cat has started to hide and refuse food you may be genuinely concerned. But, what is happening and what can you do?

What does it mean when a cat hides and doesn’t eat?

When your cat hides from you and refuses to eat, this usually indicates that there is a problem. Unfortunately, cats don’t always let us know when they’re not feeling well. If your cat isn’t eating, that’s a sign that something isn’t right.

So, now you know some potential reasons for this. But, what should you do now? Could this behavior be a reaction to a new guest or family member? Could pregnancy cause this? Keep reading for these answers, and so much more…


Why would a cat suddenly start hiding?

What does it mean when a cat hides and doesn't eat?

Cat hiding.

If your cat normally doesn’t hide from you when you return home, this behavior change might indicate a problem. Although cats often hide to feel safe, if this behavior is out of the norm for your cat, you should keep an eye on him.

Feeling stressed out

A cat will hide if someone or something is causing him to feel stressed. You might notice that your cat hides when you have a guest in your home This is perfectly normal, especially if he comes back out when your guest leaves. A new pet or baby can also cause your cat to want to hide.

Longer durations could be worse

If your cat hides for prolonged periods of time, this might indicate a deeper issue. If a cat is injured or sick, he may disappear for a bit, withdrawing to a safe place until he feels better. It’s always a good idea to make an appointment with your vet if your cat is acting differently than normal.

Top 10 Cat Breeds

What can happen if your cat keeps refusing food & hiding?

When a cat refuses to eat, it can quickly become a dangerous situation. Not eating can lead to a lack of energy, which can cause liver issues due to a lack of protein reserves. Be sure to have your cat checked out by your vet immediately. Cats can crash quickly. It might be hard for them to recover if not treated.

It is important to schedule an appointment with your vet if your cat stops eating. If your cat is otherwise healthy, the behavior might be due to stress, anxiety, or fear. If there have been any changes in the home, this might contribute to the behavior.

What should I do if my cat is not eating?

If your cat refuses to eat, you might try switching to canned, wet food. Your vet might also want to prescribe a nutrient-rich canned food that will provide your cat with all the nutrients it needs. It is also usually very appealing to cats and will encourage him to eat.

Warming the food

You can also warm your cat’s food in the microwave. Perhaps add a bit of low-sodium chicken broth to improve the flavor and entice your cat to eat.

Diluting food

If your cat still refuses to eat, you can dilute wet food with water and force-feed your cat with a dropper. Your vet should be able to provide one. This will ensure your cat is still getting the nutrition it needs even if he refuses to eat on his own.

Ask your vet if a feeding tube will help

In extreme cases, your vet can place a feeding tube in your cat. Although this might be uncomfortable for your cat, there are long-term side effects and your cat will likely begin eating on his own when his appetite returns.

Could a new guest or family member freak out your cat?

A new guest or the arrival of a new baby could definitely cause your cat to be stressed out. Cats like routine. If your cat feels like his space is being invaded, he might hide or stop eating.

You should not try to force the new guests or family members and your cat to interact. If you give your cat some space and time to adjust, he might just come around and come out on his own. Your visitor might also try to give your cat a treat. Perhaps then your cat will see the visitor as friendly and will come out of hiding.

If you have a new pet in the house, your cat may be feeling neglected. As a result, he might decide to stop eating. This is another stress response.

What are the signs that your cat is going off its food?

Many things can signal that your cat is going off its food. Although cats can be naturally picky eaters, a total loss of appetite is a cause for concern. If your cat is not hungry or not eating, especially if this is accompanied by pain or vomiting, a visit to the vet is necessary.

What health issues can cause your cat to stop eating?

When your cat stops eating, underlying health issues may be a cause. If your cat has any pain or discomfort, he may not want to eat his food.

Respiratory problems

Respiratory problems can also contribute to his loss of appetite. This is because it might affect his sense of smell which might affect his appetite. Respiratory issues can be cleared up with a round of antibiotics.

Digestive system issues

Diseases of the digestive system could also cause your cat to not want to eat his food. There may be something stuck in his intestines or stomach. If your cat has vomiting or diarrhea as a result of intestinal issues, his appetite will likely decrease.

Dental issues

Dental issues might also be a cause. If your cat has pain in his teeth or gums, it might cause him to not want his food. Again, a trip to the vet will be necessary to resolve these issues.

Does cat pregnancy cause a loss of appetite?

A pregnant cat needs extra nutritional support. If your cat is pregnant and refuses to eat, this is a cause for concern. She is eating for two, after all. A high-quality kitten food will give your pregnant cat all of the nutrition she needs. It also might be more palatable than regular cat food.

Your pregnant cat might have a sensitive stomach and not want to eat as much due to nausea. If your cat completely stops eating, you will need to take her to the vet to ensure she is getting all of the nutrition she needs to support the pregnancy.

Why do elderly cats tend to hide sometimes?

When a cat is in pain or feeling stressed, it might hide or retreat to a safe place until the issue is resolved. When older cats are ill or are nearing the end of life, they will also tend to hide. In the wild, a sick cat is a target, so they instinctively hide to feel safe.

What if your vet says your cat is fine, could it be finicky?

When your cat is hiding or not interested in food, it can be a cause for concern. If you’ve taken your cat to the vet and no underlying health issues are found, your cat could just be finicky.

It’s also possible that a change in routine has caused this stress-response but, when everything gets back to normal, your cat will likely return to normal as well.

It is also possible that your cat is depressed or is feeling a bit of anxiety. A cat’s emotional well-being can be affected by changes in their environment or routine. Changes in brands of food might also be a cause. Cats take a long time to adapt to changes. So, keep an eye on your cat, but he will likely come around on his own.

Lindsey Browlingdon