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Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  Small animal medicine and surgery - 16 years experience in BC, California and Ontario
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My cat has not eaten for 4 days due to stress. What should I do

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My kitten was playing outside and one of the neighbors thought he was a stray so she took him to the humane society. I did not find out about it until the next day. After his release I had to got out of town for the night and I took him with me. The trip was 2 hours in a car at night on a narrow and cramped road. We arrived late to my destination and the following day I had to go to a seminar all day. I would check on him during the day but his behavior in his eating habits had not changed. Before all this happened he was a very healthy eater. I tried to feed him fish, shrimp etc.. Still he will not eat. I finally arrived back home after 2 nights of being out of town. That is now and he is still not eating.
Hi there,

Welcome to Just Answer! I would like to help you and your cat with this question, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

How old is your kitten?

How much does he weigh?

Any vomiting?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
He is 7 months old and he weighs 7 lbs. He did vomit one time early this morning before our departure back home.
And what colour was that vomitus?

Is he licking his lips or swallowing a lot now you are home?

What do you normally feed him (dry, canned, other)?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
A light mustard color. No I haven't noticed any licking or swallowing. I feed hom dry and canned mixed.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I have a wedding to attend. I will be back as soon as possible. Thank you for your response. I look forward to hearing from you.
Hi again,

You are absolutely right that some cats will stop eating due to stress - and the last 4 days in your little guy's life have probably been very stressful to him (and you!).

So, there are a few ways to help him, and I will touch on them all. One is to reduce his stress, two is to entice him to eat, and three is to see your vet if one and two don't work!


Keep your boy in a small area with his litter box, bed, toys and food and water nearby. He is going to feel more secure if his world is smaller for a while, so he can feel like it is familiar and stable. I would suggest keeping him in your bedroom. Definitely do NOT let him outside for a couple of weeks at least!

Also,something that I would strongly recommend is a Feliway Diffuser system. This is a plug-in device that sprays a cat pheromone into the air, helping to calm the cat without drugs.

Here's a link to more information:

I find the plug-in diffuser to be the most helpful since it works even when you are not there, which is when your cat is most likely to feel stressed.

Give your cat a box to hide in. Many cats feel very secure inside some hiding place, and a liquor store box is a great size! Put it on its side, and have a small space for him to go in and out at will. Put his blanket and some cat nip (if he likes it) inside.


The place to start with this is actually fluids. If you get him drinking, he is much more likely to then start eating. What you can do is try to get some calories into him in a liquid form - that way he is getting nutrition at the same time as fluids.

I suggest opening a can of tuna *in water* and offering the liquid.

Also, you can pick up Clam Juice in most grocery stores (sold in with the V8 or the canned tuna) and mix that with some water.

You could try Lactose Free milk (Lactaid is the Canadian brand). Whiskas makes a tetra pack of "Kitty Milk" that is lactose free milk with flavouring added.

You could try getting some human baby food in meat flavours (check that there are no onions or garlic in the ingredients) and mix that with warm water and offer that, or syringe it in little bits into your cat's mouth. Beech Nut makes a line of baby food that has nothing but meat (beef, chicken, turkey or veal) in it.

Here's a link:

If you cannot find this, you could find another meat baby food - just read the label carefully to be sure there are no onions, onion powder, garlic, or garlic powder in it.

Offer him some canned cat food, and mix it with water to make a slurry if he won't eat it.

Boil a chicken breast and then put it in the blender with water to make a baby-food consistency gruel to offer.

You could pick up nutristat It is a calorie-dense paste that you can syringe into them to get maximum caloric impact from a given volume of food.

Here is another link to ways to encourage cats to eat:

It has some good suggestions.

I'm afraid you may have to force feed him with a syringe to get him started if he does not start eating my tomorrow. The human baby food (or making your own puree with cooked chicken breast in a blender with lots of water) goes through a syringe quite well.

I would like to see you getting at least a can a day of food into him - so about 3/4 cup of food. That seems like a lot! But if you can do it by giving him 10mLs (2 teaspoons) every half hour that will make it easier. You really have to work on this!!


Appetite stimulants can be helpful. These can be prescribed by your vet.

Cyproheptadine is one that I have used for years, but more recently I have started using a new appetite stimulant in cats that I have had great success with. You could ask your veterinarian if he or she can get ahold of an antidepressant for humans called Mirtazapine (Remeron is the trade name in Canada).

Here is a link:

It has been used as an appetite stimulant in cats and dogs for the last couple of years with great results. You would use it instead of the Periactin (cyproheptadine). It works with ONE dose!

And here is a link to cyproheptadine:

I hope that this help you to help your kitten!

Good luck with him, and please let me know what happens!

If this has been helpful, please hit the green "Accept" button and leave feedback.

If you need more information, just click on reply and I will still be here to provide it!

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.


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