Appetite Stimulant For Cats

When our feline friends are feeling unwell, their appetite is often the first thing to go. Cats can be picky eaters in general, and changes in their environment or health can make eating even more of a challenge. So are there any trusted appetite stimulants for cats?

In this article we will discuss the details of anorexia in cats, and give you tips on how to encourage your cat to eat.

Why Would A Cat Stop Eating?

Appetite Stimulants For Cats

Since our cats are extremely sensitive to changes in their environment and in their health, their appetite can often reflect this. Cats are known to shy away from their food the moment they experience any type of stress, leaving cat owners to wonder what could have caused their sudden change in appetite

Some of the most common reasons that cats stop eating include:

  • Nausea and gastrointestinal upset
  • Upper respiratory infections and congestion
  • Dental disease and tooth pain
  • Change in their diet
  • Changes in their home such as location, new people, new pets, etc.
  • Changes in their normal feeding routine
  • Newly diagnosed illnesses such as diabetes, kidney disease, hypothyroidism, etc.
  • New addition of daily medications

As you can see, many changes in a cat’s life can cause them to experience anorexia. Though missing a meal may seem harmless, it’s important to get to the source of your cat’s stress as soon as possible. An extended period of time without eating can lead to serious illness in cats, often requiring intensive care. If your cat ever experiences a change in appetite, it’s best to contact your veterinarian.

Natural Appetite Stimulants For Cats

When the cause of your cat’s lack of appetite is addressed by your veterinarian, some cat owners want to start with a natural approach to stimulating their appetite. With having natural products and tips that can entice your feline friend to eat, there is no harm in trying these options before diving into prescription medications.

So what are some natural appetite stimulants for cats? Let’s dive into a few of our tips.

Make It Smelly

Cats rely heavily on their sense of smell when it comes to meal time. A savory and smelly cat food is a cat’s weakness, and can help to entice a feline friend that is shying away from their usual food. This is especially common in cats that are experiencing congestion, as they can struggle to smell their standard diet through their respiratory infection. Because of this, offering a pungent cat food may help to encourage your cat to dive in. You can do this by offering a tasty canned food and even heating it up a bit before serving. Most canned food is already smelly, but fishy flavors tend to have a stronger scent.


Not only can catnip entice your cat’s playful side, it can also make them hungry! While about 20% of cats do not have a reaction to this natural plant, others are bouncing off the wall with happiness. Just sprinkle a little bit of catnip in the area surrounding your cat’s food bowl, and see if your cat decides to dive in.


Though CBD oil is still being researched for use in veterinary medicine, some vets are broadcasting the many potential benefits of this natural substance. Not only can CBD oil help to calm a stressed out cat, it may even boost their appetite in some cases. If you are curious about the use of CBD for your furry friend, be sure to reach out to your vets with any questions. They may even have a trusted brand that they recommend.

Change Their Feeding Area

If you are unable to find a medical cause to your cat’s lack of appetite, it’s possible that they are experiencing stress in your home. Environmental changes can cause your feline friend to shy away from their food, especially if they are experiencing any stress in their feeding area. Because of this, it may be beneficial to move their food to a new area in your home that is separated from any other animals or potential stressors.

Prescription Appetite Stimulants For Cats

If you are unable to encourage your cat to eat with the natural options above, you may need to turn to a prescription appetite stimulant. Veterinarians often prescribe appetite stimulants to cats that are recovering from an illness, experiencing a chronic disease, or any other event that is causing them to shy away from their food.

In order to help you understand which options are available to you, let’s talk about the most common prescription appetite stimulants for cats.


Mirtazapine is the most common appetite stimulant that vets prescribe. This antidepressant type medication is known to promote appetite in cats, encourage weight gain, and even control nausea in some cases. Your veterinarian may prescribe mirtazapine in the form of a tablet that you offer every 72 hours, or even in a transdermal gel.


Cyproheptadine is another common appetite stimulant in cats. This medication is an antihistamine that can help to stimulate an appetite, as well as control nausea in cats undergoing chemotherapy. Your veterinarian can prescribe this stimulant in the form of a tablet, or even in an oral syrup if your cat cannot take pills.

If you think your cat may need the help of a prescription appetite stimulant, it’s best to talk to your vet about your options. Your veterinarian will likely perform a few diagnostics to try and get to the bottom of their symptoms, and go from there on what they think is best.

Appetite Stimulant For Cats With Kidney Disease

Kidney disease can make our cats feel nauseous from time to time, often leading to a change in appetite. A cat with kidney disease may also suffer from weight loss, often leading to a deterioration in their health over time. Because of this, your veterinarian may prescribe an appetite stimulant to help them maintain their dietary habits.

The most common appetite stimulant for cats with kidney disease is Mirtazipine. Not only can mirtazapine cause a sick cat to eat, but it can also promote weight gain and prevent any chronic nausea. Because of this, it’s often the best option for a feline friend struggling in kidney disease.

Tips To Remember For A Cat That Won’t Eat

Our feline friends are the center of our world, causing us to worry when they suddenly refuse their food. Since a change in your cat’s appetite can be a sign of possible stress or illness, it’s important to take this behavior seriously.

In order to ensure your cat’s health going forward, let’s discuss a few tips to remember for a cat that won’t eat.

  • If your cat is not eating for more than 24 hours, it’s time to contact your vet. Any longer than 24 hours without food can have a serious impact on your cat’s health.
  • If your cat will not eat their regular food, offer them a bland buffet. You can offer them boiled chicken breast and rice, chicken baby food, and any other bland options that your vet recommends. You can even warm them up to make the smell even more inviting.
  • Look at your cat’s refusal to eat as a peak into their comfort. Investigate any possible stress within your home, or consider the possibility of illness.
  • If your cat refuses to eat, keep an eye out for any other changes in behavior as well. If you do see any other abnormalities, be sure to discuss them with your vet.

As you can see, a lack of appetite in your feline friend can be their way of telling you that something is wrong. Be sure to review the information we discussed above, and you can figure out the best plan for your cat going forward.

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