How Long Can Cats Go Without Food: The Know-Hows

how long can cats go without food

You may be worried about your pet cat not eating like he or she would do regularly. Or, you might find a stray cat and try to feed him, but he would not eat at any cost. Even when you visit the cat the next day, the food may remain untouched. You may be wondering what might cause the cat not the eat the food. Or, how long can cats go without food? If all these kinds of questions are hovering in your mind, then do not worry, because this blog is all about that much more! We will be discussing some important issues that you would definitely want to address for your cat! So, without any further ado, let’s take a quick look at what the know-hows are and much more in our following segment!

how long can cats go without food

How Long Can Cats Go Without Food?

Well, no one would be able to survive a day or two without water. Hypothetically speaking, a cat can go without food for about fifteen to twenty days, if water is constantly provided to him/her. Pet cats usually survive for ten to twelve days, because when they are in foster care, they are fed regularly. They grow a habit of eating and sleeping following a routine. In the case of stray cats, the scenario is different. Since they wander here and there, and they do not have a proper diet, they can survive for fifteen to twenty days easily.

Despite that, the most concerning part here is why is the cat not eating any food. We know that food provides us with nutrients, which in turn, gives us energy and strength. If your pet cat is not touching his or her food for say, at least twenty-four hours or more, he/she should be taken to the vet immediately. Many people do not know that if a cat does not eat for three to four days, it may risk the chances of hepatic lipidosis. It is also known as the ‘fatty liver syndrome,’ and it is one of the most common liver diseases seen in cats. Some possible signs and symptoms of hepatic lipidosis are:

  1. Jaundice (yellowing of skin)
  2. Lethargy
  3. Weakness
  4. Vomiting
  5. Behavioral changes
  6. Weight loss (10% of the cat’s body weight)

So, if your question is how long can cats survive without food the possible answer would be fifteen to twenty days. But they should not be kept without food for more than three to four days or they can be affected with various diseases such as hepatic lipidosis. Therefore, if your little pet cat is not touching his food, he should be taken to the vet for a proper check-up as soon as possible.

 Why is your cat friend not touching his food?

  1. Your little cat may go through any gastrointestinal diseases that may cause him stomach aches when he consumes some food. So, he is scared to eat. Some of the gastrointestinal issues may be parasites, gastroenteritis, colitis, or cancer.
  2. If the cat has some tooth infections or inflamed gums, he would not be able to gulp the food and it is going to be quite painful for him. Some other dental problems include broken teeth after accidents, oral tumors, or other inflammatory issues.
  3. If your cat is going through pancreatitis, he or she will lose appetite.
  4. If your cat has any kind of kidney disease, he or she will show anorexia, which means he will not eat.
  5. If the cat is introduced to a new type of food, he or she may have a problem eating that.
  6. Sometimes, if you are trying to feed a stray cat, he may not eat the food. You need not worry much about it since these stray cats always wander here and there. They are constantly nibbling into something.
  7. Older cats may make a fuss when they are offered food. This is because, as cats grow older, their metabolism slows down. They would frequently be suffering from issues such as bloating and gases. Hence, they lose their appetite over time.
  8. Problems such as anxiety and stress in a cat may make him anorexic. Depression is a quite common problem that is seen in cats.
  9. If your cat is going through some digestive problems such as indigestion or constipation, he or she may not eat frequently. This is because he may get bloated or gassy after eating. Hence, he will avoid eating.
  10. If your cat got a vaccination recently, then he may lose his appetite. This is nothing but just a small side effect of vaccination. This can also happen in the case of medication.

how long can cats go without food

How To Trick Your Cat To Eat Food?

Well, now you know how long can a cat go without food. You also know that it would be quite unhealthy for cats to fast for more than 24 hours. So, here we bring some ways in which you can trick your cat into eating food:

  1. Cats are usually very clean animals and they do not like a mess. Hence, it is better if you serve them food in a clean place. Also, keep in mind to serve them in a clean bowl and dish.
  2. Cats who are suffering from stress and anxiety find it difficult to eat in a crowded place. So, when you are serving them food, make sure that you are serving them in a quiet place so that they can eat peacefully.
  3. If your cat goes through some dental injury, it will be difficult for him to eat solid food. At this time, serve them canned food. Canned foods are wet which means they have a liquid consistency, which is easier for the cat to chew and swallow. You can also try to give them baby cat meat food.
  4. Cats usually like the smell of fish, so if you are giving them some solid food, all you can do is chug the food in a can of tuna juice. Or just remove the tuna from the can, and fill the solid food with tuna juice. He will be tricked into eating fish and complete his whole meal.
  5. Another thing that a cat hates is cold food. Therefore, whenever you are serving your pet cat food, make sure that you serve him or her warmed-up food.

All these are simple tricks and ways to make your cat eat food. If even after that your cat refuses to bite a nibble of food, it will be best to take him to the vet so that he can get checked up.

What Will Happen If Your Cat Is Not Eating For A Few Days?

If your cat is not eating for say more than 24 hours, it is better to take him to the vet. The cat may lose his or her appetite and this can be caused due to various reasons discussed above. You need to be careful that the cat does not undergo any liver or kidney problems because these are some of the most common cases seen in cats. Deadly liver disease can accumulate in the little body of the cat if he stops eating. Other than that, he could have digestive problems which can also be cured if he is taken to the vet. At the end of the day, it is your responsibility to see whether your cat is eating properly or not.

how long can cats go without food

How Long Can Kittens Go Without Food?

Kittens are already much weaker than normal adult cats. As a matter of fact, they are always in need of more nutrients than the other adult cats. This is because kittens are always in a growing phase. They have tiny bodies that need food for development. Hence, kittens cannot go many days without food. For example, a newborn kitten will not be able to survive more than just a few hours without food. They need to be constantly nourished with milk. Some older kittens may be able to survive a little more as compared to the newly born kittens, for maybe twelve to eighteen hours without food. Although they will strive to stay alive, they will become weak due to undernourishment.

Therefore, if you see a kitten losing his or her appetite, it is best that you take him to the vet as soon as possible.

Conclusive Insights

Hence, we know the answer to the most frequent question asked: how long can cats go without food? The answer is fifteen to twenty days if water is provided to them. If even water is not provided, they will die on the verge of three days. If your cat is not eating properly because he lost appetite, it is better you take him to the vet so that he can get his treatment soon.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can a cat survive 24 hours without food?

Ans) 24 hours without food will not cause any permanent damage to a healthy adult cat. He might be less active and less energetic, due to the lack of nutrients.

2. How often should a cat eat?

Ans) Kittens should be fed at least three to four meals a day. Between the ages of six months to a year, a cat should be fed at least twice a day. When a cat has grown into a grown adult, he should be fed properly once or twice a day.

3. How long can an indoor cat go without food?

Ans) An indoor cat cannot go more than seven to twelve days without food.


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