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How Long Can Cats Go Without Food? Pay Attention If Your Cat Is Not Eating

It is essential for all cat owners to pay attention to their pets’ nutritional needs, which includes food and water. But sometimes you would find that no matter how much you feed your kitty, they would refuse to eat a decent amount. This worrying situation can occur to any cat because of various different reasons. Therefore, you need to know how long can cats go without food in order to give their dietary issue attention in time.


How long can cats go without food?

On average, a cat needs to consume about 25 calories per pound of weight a day. For example, if your cat is a healthy, fully grown American Shorthair that weighs around 15 pounds, it would need to eat around 375 calories per day for the body to function properly.
However, when food is not accessible, it might only take about 3 days for their body organs to start shutting down. They can live off their body reserve by using their liver to convert their fat supply into energy. But this will only last them for a very short time.
cat eating from food bowl
Your cat need proper supply of food every day to stay healthy

Soon, the cat’s whole body system will be sent into shock. Their kidneys can go into failure from the lack of nutrients and being overworked. Their metabolism starts slowing down, cells won’t regenerate and the brain proceeds to shut down multiple stimuli.

The maximum time a cat might survive the lack of food may vary between 1 or 2 weeks, depending on the state of health your cat is in. The cat’s age, weight, stress level and records of previous illness can make a difference on how long a cat can go without eating.


How long can cats go without water?

So cats can last potentially survive for a week without food. However, a cat that goes more than a few days without anything to drink might not be able to live on. Water is of more importance and extremely necessary to their health and physical well-being.
While starvation can have tremendous physical and mental effects on the cat’s body system, dehydration can make this damage happen even faster and far more seriously.
cat drinking water
Water is even more essential to your cat's body funtions
All organs of your cat require water and nutrients to function on a basic level. Without any water consumption, these organs will steal energy and water straight from the blood, making the bloodstream thicker. And when they can’t steal any more liquid, they dry up and start to malfunction – or even lead to failure.
Dehydration can occur even if your cat still has access to water sources. The reason can be other health issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, or kidney disease. But sometimes it can simply be that they are just fussy with their water supply and refuse to drink. More owners are choosing dry food to feed their cat instead of wet meals, and this can worsen the dehydration.
If a dehydrated cat does not receive immediate attention and treatment, permanent health problems can arise even if it survives.

At most, a cat can only go for 3-4 days without any water.


Why your cat might not be eating or drinking

After figuring out how long can cats go without food, you will need to analyze what may have caused your cat to refuse to eat or drink. There are a few signs you can take notice of:


The kitty may be having some kind of sickness that reduces its appetite. It can be a fever or nausea, or sometimes a toothache that causes pain when eating dry food. Look for signs of fatigue, pain or lack of energy that could be the reason behind the irritation. Immediately see a vet for a professional checkup, even if the symptoms are slightly noticeable.
cat sleeping
Check if your cat has any sign of fatigue relating to its refusal to eat or drink

Food doesn’t appeal

Another case might be that your cat lost appetite simply because the food does not match its taste. If you’re changing the food brand recently, this may highly be the cause. On the other hand, if you feed your kitten the same food for too long, it can get bored of the food and refuse to eat.


Stress and anxiety can also lead to the lack of food craving. Check if anything is causing your cat to be anxious recently – a new pet, stranger in the house or loud noises. These changes may be unimportant to us, but can be too much for a cat’s sense to handle.

If you’re worried that a cat hasn’t been eating or drinking, and it’s not showing any signs of being starved or dehydrated, you should still take the animal to a vet. The consequences of insufficient supply of food and water can be severe.


Tips to help your cat gain appetite

If the reason behind your cat’s lack of interest for food and water is the type of food/water you give them, there’s nothing to worry too much about. Simply change the type of food you give them, switching between dry and wet food for variety of flavor and texture. You can buy a water fountain to encourage your cat to drink more water.
Encourage your cat to eat or drink more with interactive equipments
Alternatively, you can change the surrounding of where your cat eats to reduce any stress it might be having. You should create a comforting and safe environment for them to be able to enjoy the food.
If your kitty is recovering from an illness, let it slowly take in food by dividing small portions throughout the day. This will encourage them to feel the need to eat from time to time.
So the answer to how long can cats go without food can vary depending on the physical condition of the cat, as well as its hydration level. You should never leave cats alone for 3 days straight, or they might suffer from serious health issues – some may even be permanent.
Chris Hawkins.

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