How Long Can a Cat Go Without Food?

How Long Can a Cat Go Without Food
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A common question among cat owners and non-cat owners is, How long can a cat go without food?

Several factors come into play in answering this question, but luckily it’s different from the one you’ll ever need to know the answer to! 

A healthy cat with access to plenty of water won’t ever have to wonder how long it can go without eating.

Below we’ll explore how many hours, days, weeks, and months cats can last before they need food and what happens when they return to eating normally.

How Long Can a Cat Go Without Food?

A cat’s average lifespan is 12-15 years. Cats are notorious for being picky eaters and don’t need to eat as much as humans. How long can a cat go without food? 

As a result, a cat can go without food for up to two weeks without any negative consequences. 

On the other hand, in extreme cases, cats have been known to die after three days of fasting because of decreased fat stores.

If you need to figure out how long a cat can go without eating, consult your veterinarian or the veterinarian who originally diagnosed your pet. 

The vet will be able to tell you how often and how much your kitty should be consuming each day.

However, in most cases, if you know that your kitty has an appetite but chooses not to eat, there is no cause for concern–they’ll get hungry enough eventually!

One common mistake people make when feeding their cats is feeding them too many treats.

Treats should only comprise about 10% of your kitty’s diet. And always remember to offer fresh water for hydration every day!

A cat can go without food for over 2 weeks before facing serious consequences, but during this time, the owner should closely monitor the weight of their furry friend. 

Signs like depression, lethargy, and lack of interest in playtime indicate that something might be wrong, and consulting a veterinarian may be necessary.

If a cat refuses to drink, dehydration sets in quickly and could lead to more severe complications.

In short, if you’re ever concerned about how long your cat can go without food, talk to your veterinarian first. 

Your vet will be able to assess your kitty’s health and give you specific information on how often and how much they need to eat.

However, in most cases where a cat doesn’t want food, the owner should wait patiently–the hunger will come soon enough! 

It is also important to note that one unhealthy habit people tend to do when feeding their cats is feeding them too many treats.

Cats should only consume around 10% of their diet from treats, and owners should ensure they provide their furry friends with plenty of drinking water daily.

When the owner sees symptoms such as depression, lethargy, and lack of interest in playtime, then it’s a sign that something may be wrong. 

When in doubt, always contact a vet because cats don’t need to eat as much as humans, so they can survive up to two weeks without food.

Too many treats can negatively affect a cat’s diet (10% of their intake should be from these), which can lead to health problems. 

Always provide fresh water to keep your pet hydrated while monitoring your kitty’s weight because signs like depression, lethargy, and lack of interest in playtime may indicate health issues.

Remember that even though your cat does not need to eat as much as a human, excessive treats can still lead to health problems such as obesity.

Remember: 10% of your cat’s diet should consist of healthy snacks, and 95% should be meat-based foods.

What Happens if a Cat Goes Without Food?

How long can a cat go without food? A cat can go without food for a few days and still be okay. 

However, if the cat goes without food for longer than a week, it will show signs of weakness, and its immune system will start to break down. 

If the cat has been going without food for more than 2 weeks, it’s best to take them to the vet before anything serious happens.

If you are going on vacation or know you won’t have time to feed your cat while away, consider bringing dry food with you, so they have something in their stomach. 

To ensure your kitty is healthy while you’re away, leave water for them to drink and provide extra litter in the box so they can do their business privately.

Keep your cat as happy as possible by playing with them daily and offering treats when you return from work or school. 

They’ll be so glad to see you! Cats don’t need to eat a lot, but it’s important that they at least get some form of sustenance every day.

Make sure you give them plenty of love and attention when you return home.

Give your feline friend a nice massage while praising and giving them treats. Just because you weren’t, there doesn’t mean they didn’t miss you. 

Treats like milk, meat, tuna fish, and sardines are great ways to keep them fed during your absence.

These foods should only be given sparingly, though. Milk should never replace a meal and should only be given to cats under one year old as it could lead to an upset stomach or diarrhea. 

Meat shouldn’t often be given either, as it can contain bacteria that may not agree with your cat’s digestive tract.

Tuna fish also contains bacteria which may not always sit well with your furry friend, and sardines contain high levels of mercury, which could cause neurological issues if eaten too often.

Sardines are also quite smelly and oily, so they might not smell very appetizing to your cat. The same goes for smelly and oily things such as bacon, eggs, fried chicken, etc.

These things aren’t good choices if you want to keep the smell down while providing them with food while you’re away.

In conclusion, feeding a cat depends on how long they’ve gone without food and what food is offered.

It’s important to remember that milk is just a treat and shouldn’t be used as an alternative to food. 

Meat is only sometimes the most nutritious choice since it may only sometimes agree with their body.

It is also wise to find out how much protein is in different meats before deciding which one is best for your furry companion.

Reasons Why Your Cat is Not Eating

There are many reasons a cat might stop eating, some of which can be serious.

You may have to take your cat to the vet if they stop eating for more than a day or two, especially if they are also throwing up or having diarrhea. 

Cats need their energy from food, so you must try everything you can to get them to eat again.

Some ways that may help include mixing tuna water with their regular food or adding wet food (especially raw) into their dry kibble.

If you have an idea about what is wrong with your cat, talk to your veterinarian about what would work best for them. 

Don’t worry; there are plenty of things that you can do to help your pet feel better. It’s all worth it in the end.

Some people use tricks like hiding wet food inside dry kibble to entice cats to eat again. 

Kittens should start eating as soon as possible after birth because their mother’s milk doesn’t contain enough nutrients for growth during those first weeks of life.

The younger the kitten is when they go without food, the higher the chance they will not survive. 

Older kittens and cats have a much lower chance of survival since their bodies have already started to develop and require protein sources for muscle development.

The older they get, the harder it will be for them to recover from not eating. 

They will start to experience problems such as a drop in heart rate, decreased body temperature, and even organ failure. To prevent this from happening, ensure that you feed your cat! 

The first thing to do if your cat goes without eating for more than a day is to call the vet immediately.

Ask them how long a cat can go without food, and find out how best to care for your kitty while they wait for an appointment. 

Your vet may recommend putting syringe feedings directly into your cat’s mouth every few hours until they start eating again, which is also helpful if you know that you’re going out of town on vacation.

If the doctor thinks it’s necessary, they may ask you to bring your cat in sooner rather than later. 

Remember, most cases of a cat not eating can be solved by keeping your pets hydrated and giving them fluids through a needle or intravenously at the vet clinic.

If a cat has not eaten anything for three days, its immune system will be compromised, making them more susceptible to infection. 

Do not panic, though–many neglectful pet owners simply don’t understand how little their pet needs to eat to sustain themselves for one day, so give yourself time before becoming too worried.

Again, if you notice any symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea alongside the lack of appetite, please see your veterinarian immediately before taking matters into your own hands. 

Feeding a cat is not that difficult, and you can use different strategies to encourage your feline friend to eat.

Even if your cat is old, it can still benefit from food. These tips were useful in answering the question How long can a cat go without food?


How long can a cat go without food? It’s difficult to determine the exact number of hours or days a cat can go without food because every cat is different.

Cats who are very active or have been eating a high-calorie diet can last longer than those who are sedentary or eat a low-calorie diet.

When you don’t feed your cat for an extended period, it can experience lethargy, increased thirst, and weight loss.

They can become comatose or die if their blood sugar drops too low.

You should take your cat to the vet if they haven’t eaten in at least three days, as this may be due to another health problem.

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