In cats, anorexia is usually a state of inappetance (failing to eat) for more than 3 days in its normal environment.

In some cats, other symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea may help establish a cause[1].

In cats, there are many non-disease states where anorexia is observed such as anxiety due to changes in the home environment, presence of stray cats outside the home, boarding at a cattery, introduction of new pets or persons within the household, etc.

Diseases which cause anorexia are numerous and requires a full clinical examination, as well as complete blood panel and urinalysis. Anorexia is commonly seen in geriatric cats due to chronic renal disease and hyperthyroidism.

Other diseases which commonly cause anorexia include:

– gingivitis
– pancreatitis
– viral diseases, (especially Cat Flu, FIV)
– parasites[2]
– fever – bacterial diseases, such as cat fight wounds
– poisons, especially poisonous plants, acetaminophen, anticoagulant rodenticides

Specific treatments are those that deal with the underlying cause. These must be addressed prior to use of secondary treatments which address secondary disease such as dehydration. Secondary treatments include fluid therapy and appetite-stimulating drugs, such as;

  1. Cyproheptadine (Periactin 4mg) – 1/4 tab orally once daily
  2. Diazepam 5 mg orally daily
  3. Mirtazepine 3 mg orally every 3 days
  4. Megestrol acetate 5mg orally every 3 days (use with caution as side effects include uterine cancer, endometritis and pyometra)

Supportive treatments do not reverse the problem that led to the loss of appetite. They simply help “carry” the animal through the most difficult part of the illness.


  1. ↑ Trepanier L. (2010) Acute vomiting in cats: rational treatment selection. J Feline Med Surg 12(3):225-230
  2. ↑ Wilcox RS, et al (2009) Intestinal obstruction caused by Taenia taeniaeformis infection in a cat. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 45(2):93-9

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *