Our head vet can tell you why your cat might be eating less

When our pets go off their food we can start to worry. But if your cat seems disinterested in food and is eating less right now, you might want to check the mercury... Our The Drive team found a study from the University of Liverpool School of Veterinary Science that shows your cat’s appetite is affected by hot weather.

Our head vet shares the findings of the study below, to put your mind at ease if your cat seems to be off their food. That’s not to say heat is the only reason, so it’s always best to contact us for advice if your cat isn’t eating.

Contact us for advice

The study

  • A total of 38 cats were studied for four years through implanted microchips that recorded the amount they ate from an unlimited dispenser.

  • The cats ate an average of 15% less in hot weather.

  • Their eating decreased between June and August and increased from October to February.

  • Eating levels were intermediate in the spring and autumn.

Why cats eat less in summer and winter

  • The different seasons bring about changes in daylight hours and temperature levels. This can trigger hormonal changes in cats, which can alter their metabolism.

  • In summer as temperatures increase, cats tend to become less active and therefore need less energy. Longer daylight hours affect the most primitive part of the brain and its hormonal responses. This can result in decreased food-seeking behaviour and shifts in cellular metabolism.

  • In winter as temperatures lower, cats need more energy to maintain body temperature. The shorter daylight hours tell the primitive brain it’s time to seek more food, as the metabolism changes to promote fat storage. This way, the cat will be ready to deal with the possibility of lesser food sources during the winter months.

There’s no need to panic

As the findings of this study show, your cat’s reduced appetite in summer could just be down to the heat and longer daylight hours. Cats can eat less in summer because they're less active.

So, it would seem, seasonal eating ‘is a thing’ and your cat may have put themselves on a diet to suit their needs. To support them, try letting your cat regulate their own food intake this season.

Keep mealtimes the same

We recommend trying to keep your cat’s mealtimes the same throughout all seasons. If you don’t, it can be harder to encourage your cat indoors early during dark winter nights - doing so will reduce the risk of dangers like road traffic accidents.

But, of course, if your pet is exhibiting any other signs of abnormal behaviour, be sure to call our team for advice on 01604 478888.

Our head vet can tell you why your cat might be eating less