Cat Licks Food But Doesn’t Eat | 4 Commons Reasons Why This May Be Happening!


If your cat licks food but doesn’t eat it for a day then it is no big deal. Cats are known to be moody and there are days they don’t feel like eating. But if your cat goes without eating food for more than 24 hours then you need to contact your vet immediately. 

Your cat can have something lodged inside her mouth that might be making her aversive to food. Maybe she has pain somewhere and that’s why she is not eating even if she wants to. But besides these serious issues, there are other things that make your cat lick food but not eat it. Let’s check out what those are.

Cat Licks Food But Doesn’t Eat | It’s Not Always Serious!!

Your cat needs food to survive. Your pet is dependent on you for survival so you need to do all it takes to ensure she is eating. First, you need to be sure there isn’t anything wrong with your kitty. Check for changes in behavior. Your cat looks up to you for help and she will try to communicate with you if something is wrong. 

Be vigilant and try to make sense of your fur baby’s actions. Once you know your cat’s behavior is absolutely normal, it is good practice to first check common things that might make your cat not eat. 

Also, Read | Do Cats Remember Their Owners? Don’t Call Them Mean! Okay! 

Why Your Cat Licks Food But Doesn’t Eat It? 

Cat Licks Food But Doesn't Eat | 4 Commons Reasons Why This May Be Happening!

There might be a number of issues and some are quite simple to fix. Check out the reasons below and see if your cat licks food but doesn’t eat it again or not. 

🐱 WHAT To Do If Your Cat LICKS O...

Problem With Your Feeding Routine

Cat Licks Food But Doesn't Eat | 4 Commons Reasons Why This May Be Happening!

Cats follow a certain cyclic routine when it comes to food. Since they are dependent on you for their meals, how you choose to feed them decides how they eat. It is advised to keep a standard morning and evening practice of feeding your cats. Your breakfast time can be their morning food, and your dinner will be the last meal. It is okay to serve random snacks during the day.

Problem With The Feeding Bowl

Cat Licks Food But Doesn't Eat | 4 Commons Reasons Why This May Be Happening!

Another subtle yet possible problem your cat licks food but doesn’t eat it can be the food bowl. Cats don’t like their whiskers to touch anything, especially more so when they are eating. If the food bowl they have is deep, then it might be touching their whiskers. This might make them just lick the food at the side of the bowl and not eat the rest of it. 

Also, Read | Why Is My Cat Biting Other Cats Neck? Has She Become Aggressive? 

Food Preferences Of Your Cat

Cat Licks Food But Doesn't Eat | 4 Commons Reasons Why This May Be Happening!

What does your cat prefer? Does she like to eat dry food or wet food? Sometimes your cat’s preference change on the fly and can lead to her not eating anything. So make sure you keep the right kind of food out for your princess (or prince). 

Serving Cold Food

Cat Licks Food But Doesn't Eat | 4 Commons Reasons Why This May Be Happening!

In the wild, cats like to hunt fresh prey every time they want to eat. A fresh prey means the prey will have blood running through it making the body feel hot. In case you regularly serve your cat wet food, you might want to serve it warm food. It doesn’t have to be boiling hot, but warming it to a certain degree is ideal.

Also, Read | Why Is My Cat Laying On Me All Of A Sudden? Is She Trying To Say Something? 

What To Do In Scenarios When Your Cat Licks Food But Doesn’t Eat It?

Cat Licks Food But Doesn't Eat | 4 Commons Reasons Why This May Be Happening!

If there is a problem with the feeding routine of your cat then maybe try and purchase a feeder. There are electronic feeders than can disperse food at times that suit your cat. In nature, cats are nocturnal animals. This means they hunt during the night and sleep during the day. So if something triggered your cat’s natural instincts and they want to be fed during the night then a feeder can come in handy. 

If you have a multi-cat household, feeding time can cause a lot of stress too. Feed your cats individually and at different times from each other. If you have the space then keep separate feeding stations for each of your cats. This will minimize the threat they might feel around their food.

Make sure their environment is safe and non-threatening. Check for the surround around their feeding areas and notice changes if any. Cats prefer to eat in a safe space and any new change might make them aversive to their food.

If the problem with your cat licking food but not eating is due to the food bowl, make sure the bowl is wide enough. The food bowl of your cat should also not be at a height as cats like to sit down when they eat. Put the bowl at the ground level. Make sure the bowl you put food for your kitty is clean as well. Your cat will not like the foul odor of stale salmon or residues of detergents.

When managing your cat’s dry or wet food preference there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Don’t keep dry food out for more than 24 hours. Kibble has oils and vitamins that turn soggy and stale when kept out for long. Make sure you change the dry food at regular intervals. As far as wet food is concerned make sure you get the right flavor for your cat. There are a lot of options available in wet cat food, so try some test batches and get the one that your cat likes best.

Many cat owners don’t warm their cat’s food. It is generally good practice to serve moderately warm food to your cats. It digests easy, is nice in texture, and is palatable for your kitty. This is especially important to do if you store your cat’s food in the fridge. While room temperature food might be okay, cold food from the fridge might be making your cat only lick your food and not eat it. 

Also, Read | 12 Effective Home Remedies to Stop Cats From Pooping On Carpet | Carpet Saving Hacks!

Final Words

Finally, if your cat licks food but doesn’t eat it, you really should pay close attention. There can be underlying medical conditions or diseases affecting your cat. Any medical condition caught soon enough can be treated, so always remain vigilant about your cat’s health. While there isn’t always a need to panic and rush to your vet, it doesn’t hurt to be attentive!

Abdul Mukeet
Abdul Mukeet
Two things define Abdul Mukeet. His love for literature and his love for food. He likes to indulge in the best versions of both of them. When he is not writing for Viebly, you can find him cooped up in a corner with a good book in his hand and a cat in his lap. Oh, yeah, he loves cats too. His interests lie in psychology and knowing what makes humans click. That is what he wants his writings to look be like too. Something that readers can click with. One day he will be an established author, till then, you can find him on Twitter tweeting lame puns and making unfunny jokes.


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