Kitten not eating: A comprehensive guide to causes and solutions

Kitten not eating

Bringing home a new kitten is an exciting and joyous experience. These little balls of fur bring so much happiness to our lives. However, as a responsible pet owner, monitoring their health and behaviour is essential. One concern might arise when your new kitten isn’t eating as much as you expected. In this article from Parliament Animal Hospital, we’ll explore why your kitten not eating, what you can do to help them, and when it’s time to be concerned about their lack of appetite.


why Kitten not eating

Reasons Your Kitten Might Not Be Eating

If your kitten is not eating, it can be a cause for concern, as kittens require proper nutrition for healthy growth and development. There could be various reasons why a kitten may refuse to eat:

The Bowl Isn’t Quite Right

Believe it or not, the type of bowl you use can impact your kitten’s eating habits. Some kittens might be picky about their food dishes. It’s best to use shallow and wide bowls, as they are more comfortable for kittens to eat from, especially those with short snouts. Additionally, avoid using plastic bowls, as they can retain odours and might not be appealing to your kitten. Stainless steel or ceramic bowls are excellent alternatives.

The Bowl Might Not Be Clean Enough

Kittens are naturally clean animals, and they prefer to eat from clean dishes. If the food bowl isn’t washed regularly, it can accumulate dirt, bacteria, and old remnants. It can be a major turn-off for your kitten and may discourage them from eating. Ensure you clean your kitten’s food and water bowls daily with mild soap and water to keep them fresh and tasty for your furry friend.

The Food Is Not in the Right Place

The location of your kitten’s food and water bowls can also affect their eating habits. Cats, by nature, like to have their eating area in a safe and quiet environment. If the bowls are placed in a noisy or high-traffic area, your kitten might feel stressed or threatened, causing them to avoid eating altogether. Find a quiet corner in your home where your kitten can enjoy their meals without distractions.

Feels Stress & Anxiety

Moving to a new home can be a stressful experience for a young kitten. The change in environment, new smells, and unfamiliar faces can be overwhelming. Stress and anxiety can lead to a loss of appetite in kittens. Give your new feline friend time to acclimate to their new surroundings and offer plenty of love, patience, and reassurance. Creating a secure space with familiar toys and bedding can also help reduce their anxiety.

An Illness Could Be Causing a Lack of Appetite

If your new kitten is not eating, it could indicate an underlying health issue. Several illnesses can lead to a loss of appetite in cats, such as upper respiratory infections, gastrointestinal problems, or dental issues. Monitor your kitten closely for other signs of illness, like lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you notice any concerning symptoms, taking them to the veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment is crucial.

They’re Not Used to the food

Sometimes, a change in diet can affect a kitten’s appetite. If you’ve recently switched the brand or type of kitten food, they might be hesitant to eat it. Cats can be creatures of habit, and sudden changes can put them off their meals. To avoid this, gradually transition your kitten to the new food by mixing it with the old one and increasing the proportion over several days.

They Have Toothache

Dental problems can be painful for kittens, just like humans. If your kitten is experiencing pain in their mouth due to dental issues, they may avoid eating altogether. Check for any signs of dental problems, such as difficulty chewing, drooling, or bad breath. If you suspect a toothache, schedule a vet visit promptly. Regular dental check-ups for cats are essential to maintain your kitten’s oral health.

They Have Already Overeaten

Kittens are tiny creatures with small tummies. If you have other pets at home, particularly adult cats, your new kitten might struggle to get enough food if they share a communal bowl. Adult cats tend to eat more than kittens, and the little ones may not have enough to sustain themselves. Ensure your kitten has separate feeding times and a food bowl to avoid this issue.


Kitten not eating solutions

What Do I Do When My New Kitten’s Not Eating?

If you’ve ruled out any immediate health concerns and you’re sure that your kitten is simply adjusting to their new environment, here are some steps you can take to encourage them to eat:

Create a Safe and Quiet Space:

Set up a cozy and quiet area for your kitten to eat without distractions or disturbances. Provide them with a comfortable bed or blanket to relax before and after meals.

Stick to a Feeding Schedule:

Establish a regular feeding schedule and try to feed your kitten at the exact times each day. Cats are creatures of habit, and a consistent routine will help them feel more secure.

Warm Up the Food:

If you’re feeding your kitten wet food, try warming it up slightly to enhance the aroma, as cats are more inclined to eat warm food. However, avoid overheating the food to prevent burns.

Offer Tempting Treats:

Introduce some irresistible kitten treats to entice them to eat. However, use treats sparingly to avoid spoiling their appetite for regular meals. Look for treats that are specially formulated for kittens and avoid those with ingredients harmful to them.


Sometimes, kittens respond well to hand-feeding, especially if they feel anxious or stressed. Gently offer them small pieces of food from your hand, which can create a positive association with eating.

Interactive Play Before Meals:

Engage your kitten in some playtime before mealtime. Interactive play helps stimulate their appetite and strengthens the bond between you and your furry friend.

Stay Patient and Supportive:

Be patient with your new kitten and offer love and support. They might take time to adjust to their new home, and forcing them to eat can add to their stress.


Sum Up

Bringing a new kitten into your home is a truly heartwarming experience. However, being mindful of their health is essential, mainly if they’re not eating as expected. Remember that moving to a new environment can stress them out and temporarily affect their appetite so may you see that your Kitten not eating.

If you ever have concerns about your kitten’s eating habits or overall health, don’t hesitate to consult with Parliament Animal Hospital. With love, patience, and proper care, your new feline friend will settle into their new home and enjoy many happy, healthy meals with you.


Frequently Asked Questions

What to do if kitten refuses to eat?

If your kitten refuses to eat, ensure a clean bowl, a stress-free environment, and offer tempting treats. Stick to a regular feeding schedule and monitor closely. Seek veterinary attention if the issue persists or if there are other concerning symptoms. Professional care will ensure your kitten’s well-being.

Why is my kitten not eating but acting normal?

Cats can go through phases of reduced appetite, making it essential to monitor their food intake closely. Even if your cat appears to act normal, a decrease in appetite could be due to factors like boredom with their food (picky eaters), dental problems, or stress. Being attentive to their eating habits can help identify any underlying issues affecting their appetite.

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