How Long Can Cats Go Without Food: Know the Actual Capacity

How Long Can Cats Go Without Food
How Long Can Cats Go Without Food

Cats are one of those creatures that take special place in humans life and make their life more lively. However, some certain reasons reduce their intake of food and make them fragile with time. Even though, they have good survivibility to live without food for a certain period. So, how long can cats go without food. It depends on various factors so we will discuss that along with the reasons and consequences of inability of eating food.

How long can cats go without food?

Cats, like many animals, can go without food for a period of time, but the exact duration varies depending on several factors including their age, health, and overall condition. In general, though, it’s not suggested to let a cat go without food for an extended period. Here are some natural standards of telling you about how long can cats go without food:

  1. Healthy Adult Cats: A healthy adult cat can typically go without food for about 3-7 days. However, it’s mandatory to heed that this can vary from cat to cat. Some cats may become fragile or ill after just a day or two without food, while others may be capable to tolerate longer periods.
  2. Kittens: Kittens have higher energy requirements than adult cats and can become fragile or ill more quickly if they don’t eat. They should not go more than 24 hours without food.
  3. Senior Cats or Cats with Health Issues: Cats that are older or have fundamental health problems may not tolerate food deprivation as well as healthy adult cats. It’s crucial to confer with a veterinarian if you have concerns about a cat with health problems not eating.
  4. Water Intake: Cats can survive longer without food than without water. It’s compulsory to corroborate your cat has reached fresh water at all times, explicitly if they are not eating.

Why has my cat stopped eating?

Here are some common possibilities behind why your cat stopped eating include:

  1. Illness or Medical Issues: Cats often lose their appetite when they’re feeling unwell. Various medical issues, such as dental problems, gastrointestinal disorders, infections, or even more serious conditions like kidney disease or cancer, could be causing your cat’s lack of appetite.
  2. Stress or Anxiety: Cats can be sensitive to changes in their environment or routine. Stressors like moving to a new home, the introduction of a new pet, or changes in the household can lead to decreased appetite.
  3. Dietary Changes: If you’ve recently changed your cat’s food, they might not like the new flavor or texture, leading to a decreased appetite.
  4. Dental Problems: Dental issues, such as gum disease or tooth pain, can make it uncomfortable for your cat to eat.
  5. Age-related Changes: Older cats might experience a decrease in appetite due to age-related factors.
  6. Recent Vaccinations or Medications: Some cats can have a reduced appetite after receiving vaccinations or taking certain medications.
  7. Obstruction: If your cat has ingested something they shouldn’t have, it could lead to an obstruction in their digestive system, causing them to avoid eating.
  8. Parasites: Internal parasites like worms can affect your cat’s appetite and overall health.
  9. Allergies or Food Intolerances: Your cat might have developed allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients in their food.
  10. Behavioral Issues: In some cases, behavioral issues or changes in routine could impact a cat’s eating habits.

What happens if a cat doesn’t eat?

If a cat doesn’t eat for an extended period of time, it can lead to a range of health issues and complications. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means their bodies are adapted to a diet primarily consisting of animal-based proteins. When they stop eating, several negative consequences can occur:

  1. Hepatic Lipidosis (Fatty Liver Disease): Cats have a unique metabolic system that makes them prone to developing hepatic lipidosis if they don’t eat for an extended period. This condition occurs when the body starts to break down fat stores for energy, and the liver becomes overwhelmed by processing excessive amounts of fat. This can lead to liver failure, a potentially life-threatening situation.
  2. Muscle Loss and Weakness: Cats that don’t eat can experience muscle wasting and weakness. Their bodies may start breaking down muscle tissue for energy, leading to a decrease in muscle mass and overall strength.
  3. Energy Depletion: Lack of food means a lack of energy. Cats that don’t eat can become lethargic, listless, and unwilling to engage in normal activities.
  4. Dehydration: Many cats get a significant portion of their daily water intake from their food. If they’re not eating, they might also not be getting enough fluids, leading to dehydration.
  5. Electrolyte Imbalance: Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, and chloride are crucial for various bodily functions. When a cat doesn’t eat, electrolyte imbalances can occur, potentially leading to heart and neurological issues.
  6. Immune System Suppression: A lack of proper nutrition can weaken a cat’s immune system, making it more susceptible to infections and illnesses.
  7. Gastrointestinal Problems: Not eating can disrupt normal digestive processes and lead to constipation, nausea, and other gastrointestinal issues.
  8. Behavioral Changes: Cats that are not eating might exhibit changes in behavior, including increased irritability, hiding, or withdrawal.

How can I get my cat to eat?

If your cat is not eating, there could be a diversity of purposes for this behavior. Cats can be choosy eaters, but a unexpected loss of craving might also indicate an fundamental health problem. Here are some steps you can take to hearten your cat to eat:


  1. Check for Health Issues: Before trying any strategies, it’s important to eliminate any medical conditions that might be causing the loss of craving. If your cat’s lack of hunger is accompanied by other symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or changes in behavior, consult your veterinarian immediately.
  2. Offer Different Types of Food: Cats can be finicky about their food preferences. Try offering different types of wet and dry cat food, as well as treats. Some cats prefer certain textures, flavors, or brands, so experimenting with variety might help.
  3. Warm the Food: Warming up the food slightly can release more aroma, which can be appealing to your cat’s sense of smell. This might make the food more enticing and encourage them to eat.
  4. Add Toppings or Broth: Sprinkle a small amount of a favorite treat or catnip on top of the food. You can also add low-sodium chicken or beef broth to wet food to enhance the flavor and make it more appealing.
  5. Try Different Feeding Times: Cats can have preferences for when they like to eat. Experiment with feeding your cat at different times of the day to see if there’s a specific time when they’re more interested in eating.
  6. Create a Calm Environment: Corroborate your cat has a soundless and stress-free place to eat. If there are other pets or disturbances around during mealtime, your cat might feel anxious and avoid eating.
  7. Avoid Free-Feeding: While some cats go with grazing throughout the day, others might lose interest in their food if it’s always available. Try organizing a regular feeding schedule instead.
  8. Use Interactive Feeders: Interactive feeders or puzzle toys that dispense kibble can motivate your cat’s hunting instincts and make mealtime more interesting.
  9. Consult Your Vet: If your cat’s lack of appetite persists, consult your veterinarian. They can provide specific advice based on your cat’s health and history. In some cases, appetite stimulants or prescription diets might be recommended.


Through our article, we covered various necessary topics and provided the answers of different questions such as how long can cats go without food. Not only that, we have also seen the reasons and the consequences behind not eating the food. So, if you are able to get the chance to learn all these topics and want to know how you can make your cat eat again then don’t forget to read the second last section.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How long can cats live? 

Ans: Cats can live up to 20 years or more.

Q2: What is the best diet for cats?  

Ans: Cats require a diet rich in animal protein, with limited carbohydrates.

Q3: Can cats get fleas in the winter?  

Ans: Yes, cats can get fleas year-round, including in the winter.

Q4: How often should I take my cat to the vet? 

Ans: Cats should have annual wellness exams, or more frequent check-ups as recommended by their veterinarian.

Q5: What are the most common health problems in cats? 

Ans: Common health problems in cats include dental disease, obesity, urinary tract disease, and hyperthyroidism.


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