Re-homing a cat can be a difficult process and there are many things for new owners to worry about during the process. Seeing a cat show no interest in food when they come into their new home can be worrying.
Re-homed cats can avoid their food for a number of reasons. While some causes are normal, others can be a sign that there is something seriosy wrong with your cat’s health. You should take steps to getting your new pet to eat as soon as possible. Here are some steps you can take to make feeding your re-homed cat easier.
5 Reasons your re-homed cat isn’t eating
While most re-homed or newly adopted cats will continue eating whatever is provided to them, it isn’t too abnormal for a new cat to avoid eating their food. However, it is still a serious problem you need to address quickly. Some cats will actually starve themselves, even if they have food available to them in certain circumstances. While they won’t exactly starve themselves to death, skipping multiple meals can causes reactions in their liver which can be deadly.
They are stressed from the move
This is a cause that particularly effects re-homed cats. Much like humans, big and unexpected changes can cause stress and anxiety for your cat. When cats feel like this, they can have reduced appetites and avoid meals all together for a while.
Let re-homed cats adapt to their new homes at their own pace but take efforts to show that it is safe. A happy cat is more likely to eat their food. It’s very common for re-homed cats to hide and be shy for the first days or even weeks they come to a new home.
They are scared during meal times
You may be unintentionally making feeding time scary for your cat. If this is the case, they will be avoiding eating during the day in front of others. Cats feel vulnerable while they eat. In the wild it would be the perfect time for a predator to attack.
Unfamiliar humans, animals, or even objects and noises can make a re-homed cat think twice before eating. If your re-homed cat isn’t eating, you can try leaving some food out at night or while you are gone. If you can see that the cat is curious about their food bowl but fearful of getting close to it, give them space or leave the room entirely to make them feel safer.
Its normally not ideal to always leave food out for a cat, but in this situation, it can be the right move to ensure they are eating something.
They don’t like their new food
Cats can be very particular about everything in their life including their diet. A re-homed cat will have been used to a particular schedule and diet of food. Picky cats may even ignore premium wet foods and treats that you would expect the average cat to love.
You can try to contact the cat’s previous carer to find out what diet they were on. You can try to match the type of food (wet or dry) and the ingredients in it. Some cats will love particular sources of protein like chicken, salmon, or beef and hate others. It really depends on your cat. You could even go to the lengths of getting the exact same brand of cat food to give your new cat something more familiar to eat.
In time, you can switch your new cat’s diet to something you think is more suitable with the advice of your vet. This is a change that may take a while and come at some effort, but most cats will be able to change their food habits given time.
Their food bowl is in an undesirable location
Cats can also be picky about where their food bowls are placed. A common mistake is putting a food bowl next to a litter box. Even if the litter is cleaned, cats will naturally want to separate where they eat from where they do their business.
Particularly anxious or scared cats may also avoid eating if they have to face a wall. This means that their backs are exposed to unseen attacks from the rear. This will be made even worse if you try to pet your re-homed cat when they don’t want it or aren’t expecting it.
Make sure your food bowl is far away from a litter box. If they have to be in the same room give them at least a couple feet of separation. You can also try to move your food bowl far enough away from the wall
Their food bowl is uncomfortable
Unfortunately, a lot of poor food bowls are available to purchase, and you may have bought one while preparing for your new cat. Cat food bowls should be large, shallow, and have rounded edges so they can fit their faces in and eat food easily.
Cat whiskers are sensitive to touch and are effectively an extra limb to your cat’s body. It can be uncomfortable for them to be constantly pressed onto the side of a food bowl while eating which can be enough for some cats to avoid meals all together. Cats that constantly have their whiskers pressed can suffer from cat whisker fatigue, this is very uncomfortable for your cat and can cause long term problems.
They are ill or injured
Avoiding food is also a behaviour in cats that can show that there is a serious medical emergency. Tooth pain is a common cause that will make eating painful for your cat but there are many other causes like cat colds, joint pains, and diabetes. You won’t be able to diagnose a lot of these problems at home, only a professional vet will be able to give you reliable advice by assessing your cat’s health.
Its always a good idea to take a re-homed cat to the vet when you first get them to find any un-detected medical issues. This is especially important for cats that have been re-homed from households where they were neglected or mistreated.