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7 Reasons Your Kitten Might Not Be Eating & How to Act

little kitten sitting by a bowl of milk
Image Credit: Impact Photography, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Christian Adams

It’s always exciting to get a new kitten. By nature, kittens are playful, inquisitive, and somewhat fussy creatures with an independent streak that cat lovers find endearing. While you probably bought top-quality kitten food and were looking forward to watching your little one feast, sometimes kittens will turn their noses up at the food they’re offered.

But don’t worry! We’re here to help. Here are the most common reasons a kitten may not eat the food that he’s being offered.

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The 7 Reasons Your Kitten Might Not Be Eating

1. The Bowl Isn’t Quite Right

A kitten’s whiskers are very sensitive and they’re used to provide the animal with information about the environment. If you’re using a food bowl that’s too small, your little kitten’s whiskers may be brushing up against the sides of the bowl when he eats. This could be enough to irritate your kitten and cause him to stop eating. Switch the bowl to one that’s wide and shallow and see if that makes a difference.

2. The Food Is Not in the Right Place

Kitten eating food from bowl
Image Credit: Marian Weyo, Shutterstock

Kittens do not like to eat near the location of their litter box. If you’ve placed your kitten’s food bowl too close to his toilet, he may not eat. The food bowl should also be away from high traffic areas in your home and not placed anywhere your kitten doesn’t feel safe. Cats like to eat alone and they don’t appreciate being surprised or interrupted during mealtime. Give some thought to the location of your kitten’s food dish and pick a spot that’s nice and quiet where your kitty will feel safe.

3. Your Kitty Feels Stress & Anxiety

It’s common for a kitten to feel a little stress and anxiety when it’s taken away from its mother and put into a new environment. If your kitten feels unsure of his new home, he may refuse to eat.

It’s up to you to help your kitten make a smooth transition into your home. You can make your cat feel safe by keeping him away from other pets and lowering sound levels in your home. Give your kitten ample time to explore his new home. Show him where the litter box and food bowl are kept and put something warm and cozy in his cat bed like a fuzzy blanket or soft toy he can snuggle up to.

4. Your Kitten Is Sick

sick kitten_Quangpraha, Pixabay
Image Credit:
Quangpraha, Pixabay

Kittens tend not to eat if they’re not feeling well. Many health issues that can result in kittens not eating include internal parasites, upset stomachs, and constipation. If your kitten flat out refuses to eat anything for more than two days, seek immediate help from your veterinarian. Your vet will examine your kitten and get to the bottom of his lack of appetite.

5. Your Kitten Isn’t Used to the Food

If you started feeding your kitten a type of food he’s not used to, he could refuse to eat it. It’s important to feed kittens the same food they’re used to eating. If possible, speak to the breeder who sold you the kitten and ask what type of food they used.

Try warming the cat food in the microwave to make it smell better to your kitten. If you do this, be sure the food is just slightly warm and not too hot. Cats and kittens don’t generally like changes made to their feeding routine. If you do change cat food, do it gradually by mixing the new food with the old.

6. Your Kitten Has Already Eaten Enough

bowl of cat food ang two kittens
Image Credit: MaraZe, Shutterstock

It’s essential to know how much to feed your kitten at each meal so you don’t over or underfeed him. It’s possible that your kitten isn’t eating his lunchtime meal because he’s still full and satisfied from the food he ate in the morning.

Maybe you are simply giving your kitten more food than he can handle. This is why it’s important to read feeding instructions on cat food and to speak to your veterinarian. It’s also possible that you’re giving your kitty too many treats throughout the day. Try abstaining from giving your kitten human food treats and kitten snacks. Maybe your kitten has an upset tummy from too many treats!

7. The Food Dish or Feeding Area Is Unclean

Kittens, like their adult counterparts, don’t like to eat from dirty bowls or in unclean areas. Felines are very clean animals that favor eating and drinking from clean bowls. Always be sure that the feeding area is clean and free from stuck-on, dried up kitten food. The same goes for your kitten’s food dish. While it takes a bit of work on your part to do the daily cleaning, it will be well worth it because your kitten will be happier!

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When a kitten won’t eat, it’s common for the owner to look for answers in the food itself. Maybe the temperature of the food was off it wasn’t moist enough, or it was the wrong flavor. But as we’ve discovered, there are other, more practical reasons your kitten might not be eating. We hope this article helps you find the right solution!

Featured Image Credit: Impact Photography, Shutterstock

About the Author

Christian Adams
Christian Adams
Christian is the Editor-in-Chief of Excited Cats and one of its original and primary contributors. A lifelong cat lover, now based in South East Asia, Christian and his wife are the proud parents of an 11-year-old son and four rescue cats: Trixie, Chloe, Sparky, and Chopper.

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