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Why Your Stray Kitten Won’t Eat!

There has been a large number of awareness campaigns recently to help increase the number of people who are aware of the volumes of cats and dogs in shelters that have little to no hope of ever being adopted.

This has resulted in a spike in the number of people adopting stray kittens and puppies from their local rescue shelter to try and do their bit to help out by offering one of these animals a new, safe home.

Although these animals can make excellent pets, some of them can end up having problems due to their initial introduction to the world as well as how they may not necessarily be used to being loved and taken care of.

One of the more common problems that we see people reaching out and asking about is why their stray kitten won’t eat and this problem can end up occurring due to a number of different reasons depending o the situation.

If you got your stray kitten from a rescue home then there is a good chance that a veterinarian has already had the kitten the once over but if you just adopted your stay kitten right off the street then there is a number of additional potential problems that may be preventing the kitten from eating.

We are hoping that this article will not only be able to help as many of our readers as possible but that it will also be able to help increase the quality of life of your stray kitten and get it eating again as soon as possible!

Why Is My Stray Kitten Not Eating?

The two main reasons that your stray kitten may not be eating is due to a parasitic infection such as worms in its stomach or due to dehydration.

Both of these conditions are relatively easy to treat provided that you get the kitten help from a veterinarian as quickly as possible and most kittens should be able to make a full recovery without having long term problems.

Due to your new pet being a stray kitten, we would highly recommend that you have a veterinarian check the kitten over as soon as possible due to there being a number of potential problems that could be at play.

The easiest and often cheapest way to do this is to book a video call with a veterinarian to have them check your kitten over via the camera on your smartphone and get the same professional level advice that you would get if you had taken your kitten to your local veterinarian’s office.

The vet will be able to offer you the best advice possible specific to the condition of your stray kitten and recommend the best possible path forward for your kitten to make a full recovery.

Although problems with parasites or dehydration are probably the two most common reasons that a kitten won’t eat, there are a number of more nuanced potential problems that can be easy to overlook for the majority of people but a vet should be able to pick them up.

How Do You Get A Stray Kitten To Eat?

If your stray kitten won’t eat due to having a problem with worms in its stomach then trying a over the counter de-worming product may be the best route to take and will often fix the problem.

If your stray kitten won’t eat due to being dehydrated then you can often use a syringe to help encourage the kitten to drink and this can eventually help it start eating again.

As we mentioned above though, there can be some nuanced problems that can be common in adopted stray kittens that may cause them problems when it comes to eating food.

This is why we always recommend that you get a vet to confirm the problem as well as your treatment plan to move forward to make sure you are implementing the correct strategy.

For example, one of these often-overlooked problems is that the stray kitten is simply too young to eat the type of food you are trying to feed it and it may need a kitten milk formula rather than solid food.

If the kitten is having problems with parasites filling its stomach that prevent it from eat then some of the over the counter de-worming products may not be strong enough to solve the problem too and a prescription treatment may be required.

You also have to realize that most de-worming products, especially those designed for use with kittens are not actually a one stop solution and you often need a specialist product for each type of worm that a vet will be able to better advise you on.

How Long Can Stray Kittens Go Without Food?

A stray kitten can technically go for around a week without food but this will often result in serious, potentially long-term health problems in the kitten.

It is also rare that you will know the last time a stray kitten actually ate food too making it harder to know how long the kitten can keep going without eating anything so it is important you try and get the kitten eating as soon as possible.

Thankfully, you can often get a stray kitten eating again within days but in some situations, a vet may have to set up some sort of a drip to help the kitten regain its strength until it is able to eat food at will as it requires.

Many larger towns and cities have charity vets such as the PDSA who will assess your kitten for you free of charge and offer advice on how to move forward with treating the cat.

Depending on your situation, this may end up being the best route to take, especially if you are on a tight budget as the vet may recommend that you just go with a kitten milk formula if the kitten is very young.

So many people who adopt stray kittens off the street presume that the kitten is older than it is and then end up trying to put it onto solid foods when it still requires milk.

This is a very easy mistake to make though and in some situations, the kitten can otherwise be totally fine and just need you to give it a suitable food for it to start eating.


That concludes our article going over why a stray kitten won’t eat as well as the most common causes of this problem. It is great to see so many people adopting stray kittens and puppies but you do have to prepare yourself for problems like this where the kitten may not eat any of the food that you offer it. Thankfully though, this is a common problem and often very easy to fix with the kitten usually being able to make a full recovery provided you get it help as soon as possible.