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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22590
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My cat has stopped eating after having some prawns is this

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My cat has stopped eating after having some prawns is this the reason does it have food poisoning?

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.


Can you tell me how long ago Jinksy ate the prawns?


Has he had any vomiting or diarrhea?


Does he seem keen to eat and then turn away or does he have no interest at all?


Is he still drinking?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He ate the prawns Sunday evening, There has been no diarrhea or vomiting that i know of. He has no interset in food and yes it has drank a little water

Thank you for the further information about Jinksy.

Now as I am sure you can appreciate, Jinksy's lack of appetite is quite suspicious of GI upset. And these are signs we can see in our kitties for a range of reasons. It is quite possible that the prawns may have been a wee bit spoiled or was a wee bit too rich for him and we are seeing signs from that. I wouldn’t call it food poisoning since I’d suspect we’d see more dramatic effects (ie vomiting, diarrhoea) if a food contaminant was serious attacking his gut. That all sad, we also have to keep in mind that the food could be a red herring here and that these signs can also be an indicator of bacterial gastroenteritis, viruses, pancreatitis, or secondary to ingestion of toxins and foreign bodies. (Though hopefully he’d not also have eaten something he should not have).

Now if he has no interest in food, then this is a hint that nausea is likely to blame (since nauseous cats go off their food rather then eat/vomit like a dog would). To rule out nausea as an anorexia differential, you can try him on antacid therapy. There are a number of antacids that are available over the counter and pet friendly. I would advise only treating with one, but the two I tend to recommend are Pepcid (LINK) or Zantac (LINK). This medication of course shouldn’t be given without consulting your vet if he does have any pre-existing conditions or is on any other medications. Ideally, it should be given about 30 minutes before food to ease his upset stomach.

Once that has had time to take effect, you will want to try and see if you can get him eating (as I am sure you have been). Favourite foods are allowed or you can tempt her with a light/easily digestible diet. Examples of this would be boiled chicken, boiled white fish, scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk), meat baby food (do avoid the ones with garlic powder in the ingredients) or there are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used here (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity.) When offering this, do only offer a spoonful at a time for him. If he will eat, then wait 30 minutes to make sure it stays down. This can then be repeated as much as necessary but will just avoid him overdoing things once his stomach is a bit more settled.

Further to this, if tempting doesn’t work, then we sometimes have to consider initiating syringe feeds to get food in. For Jinksy, we'd not need to do this now but if he continues to resist eating then he may benefit from syringe feeding In those cases, we can use diets like Hill's A/D (LINK), Royal Canin Recovery (LINK), or Clinicare Canine/Feline Liquid Diet (LINK). All of these are critical care diets that are calorically dense, so a little goes a long way nutrition-wise. And these could be an option if his anorexia doesn't settle with the antacids.

On top off all of this, you do need to keep an eye on his water intake. You did note that he was drinking but we do still want to keep a close eye on his hydration at this point. To check his hydration and make sure that he isn’t becoming dehydrated, there are a few things we can test at home. One is whether the eyes appear sunken, if the gums are tacky instead of wet/moist, and whether he has a "skin tent" when you lift the skin (example). To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a wee video on this HERE. (They use a big dog but it makes it easier to see and the principles are exactly the same) If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already, then you do want to have your kitty seen by his vet today to avoid this getting any further out of hand.

Overall, I suspect that the prawns may had been a bit too rich or potentially a wee bit dodgy and have caused Jinksy some GI upset and nausea. Therefore, I would suggest trying him with an antacid and a light diet to see if we can get him eating for us. If you try this and he continues to resist food, then we'd have to consider that the prawns could be a coincidence and we'd need to consider those other differentials. And in that case, you would want to consider getting his vet involved. They can assess hydration, check for signs of any sinister lumps/bumps or internal issues. They can also cover him with antibiotics, anti-nausea/vomiting medication by injection and even appetite stimulating drugs if necessary. Depending on the findings, the vet will be able advise you on what is likely our culprit and what can be done to settle his poorly stomach.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )

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