Cats are notoriously finicky eaters, but for all their selectiveness, they generally manage to eat the right amount. Sometimes, however, a cat will eat either too little or too much for her own good. Here's what to do in those situations.
Any number of reasons could be to blame. Your cat's appetite might have been affected by hot weather or traveling, or she simply might not be ready for her next meal. If the food has spoiled or gone stale from being left out too long, that's reason enough for your cat to reject it. Or someone else in the household might have fed the cat recently, unbeknownst to you!
If none of these explanations applies, however, and your cat has refused food for more than 24 hours, consult your veterinarian. He or she will investigate whether illness or discomfort -- including possible dental problems -- could be causing the change in your cat's eating habits.
A cat who overeats, or isn't active enough to burn off the calories she consumes, might become a real "fat cat." Obesity in cats is more than just unattractive; it increases their risk of developing such ailments as arthritis, constipation, diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, and respiratory problems.
Your veterinarian can recommend ways to help your overweight cat shed a few pounds. These might include switching to a food specially made for less active cats, which contains fewer calories per gram than normal cat food.