(CBS SF) – You may be surprised to learn that cats can become anorexic.

“Unfortunately at the San Francisco SPCA we often see homeless cats suffering from anorexia,” offered Dr. Jack Aldridge, Director of Veterinary Services at the San Francisco SPCA.

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“When a cat stops eating the reasons can be just as complex as those that apply to humans. Now, some cats are very sensitive and these are the ones who can stop eating because of fear, stress or grief over the loss of their human companion,” said Aldridge. “Sometimes there are underlying serious medical reasons.”

What to do if you see that your cat stops eating?

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“Well, any cat that hasn’t been eating for more than 24 hours or has a noticeable weight loss should be seen by a veterinarian immediately,” Aldridge advised. “Cats that go without eating for too long can develop feline fatty liver syndrome and surprisingly, overweight cats are more vulnerable than skinny ones. And a few days without a proper protein source and a cat’s body will start to break down its own body for energy and this leads to liver dysfunction and can be rapidly fatal.”

KCBS’ Jeff Bell Reports:

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