While dogs will devour anything in sight, cats are harder to please. Yours can be suddenly finicky even when facing the food he's eaten for years, so you have to monitor his eating habits. Determining the problem and getting him eating again is the key to preventing any health problems.
Domestic cats appreciate life's finer comforts, particularly doing whatever they want, whenever they want. When a cat's environment is shaken up, then, he can interpret it as a threat and lose his appetite. Introducing a new pet, bringing home a baby or moving to a new home are just a few environmental changes that can rattle your cat enough to make him stop eating even his favorite food. Establishing a new, consistent routine will take time, but it will help your cat regain his comfort with his surroundings and get back to chowing down at mealtime.
Imagine if you had to eat off of a dirty plate, and someone always just dumped your meal on top of the last meal's scraps. Not too appetizing. Your cat feels the same way, so if that pile of kibbles just keeps getting bigger with every meal, it's time to clean house and start over. Dump whatever food is in there and wash out the bowl with a mild, fragrance-free soap. Refill it with a fresh scoop of kibbles and give it back to kitty for a refreshing change of pace.
Wetter is Better
If your cat has stopped eating his dry food, the problem might not be the food at all -- it could be the water. Dry food is crunchy, crumbly and dusty, and you can work up a serious thirst when it's all you eat. If your cat's water isn't fresh and clean, he may not want to drink it, and dehydration is a powerful eating deterrent. Even if he is drinking enough, he may just be over dry food. Cats in the wild change up their diets all the time, so a little variety here and there isn't the worst thing. Try mixing in a little bit of wet food with the kibbles -- you avoid the tummy distress that can happen with a cold-turkey switch, but you appeal to your cat's senses of smell and taste with moist, rich food.
Of course, if your cat isn't eating his dry food anymore, it could indicate a health issue. Infections and diseases like cancer, liver failure, kidney failure and gastrointestinal problems can all make a cat lose his appetite, and these are all things you need to get treated sooner rather than later. Even dental problems like gum disease, broken teeth or a weak jaw can make crunching up dry food into a painful, tedious exercise. If your cat is consistently avoiding food and nothing you do makes a difference, it's time to see a vet.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.