How Long Can A Cat Go Without Food?

If you are going to own a cat, it is important that you are aware of all its limits. This includes how long your kitty can go without food. 

These animals are very different from us in a number of ways, including food and nutrition.

When Your Cat Refuses to Eat

You might eventually encounter a problem with your cat not eating its food. This often happens as a result of illness. It is important that you address this issue, as simply ignoring it is never a good idea.

It is much more common for an older/senior cat to refuse their food. The older a cat gets, the more likely it is to become seriously ill. If your cat hasn’t eaten anything for 1-2 consecutive days, you should take them to the vet. Most veterinarians recommend that people bring their cat in to get looked after if they haven’t eaten anything in 24 hours.

It’s not normal or healthy for any cat to not eat any food for multiple days. This is a strong indication that there is something seriously wrong with your pet. Not eating for just two or three days can have negative long term effects on their health, so it is important to act quickly.

Indoor vs. Outdoor Cats

It is a lot easier to tell if an indoor cat has stopped eating, as they likely have no alternative food sources available. If you let your cat outside sometimes, they might be their prey. These animals can kill and eat a variety of animals when let outdoors. This includes rodents, insects, and even small birds. If you have an outdoor cat that has stopped eating the wet and/or dry food you give them, they might be eating elsewhere.

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cat asking for food

How Long Will a Cat Live Without Food?

The fact is that some cats will live longer than others when no food is available, or they refuse to eat. The longer the animal goes without any sustenance, the faster their body breaks down. Their body begins using its fat reserves as a source of energy in the absence of food. Eventually, the liver begins to shut down due to a complete lack of protein.

On average, a cat can survive up to two weeks without eating any food. This is assuming that they still have access to drinkable water. 

Some of the things that can affect how long a cat can live without food include:

  • Genetics: Certain cats can survive longer than others, depending on their genetic makeup.
  • Age: Cats that are still relatively young can go without food longer than senior cats.
  • Health: The healthier a cat is overall, the longer they can last without eating any food.
  • Environment: A cat that is starving in a warm home will live longer than one that is constantly exposed to the harsh elements.

Reasons a Cat Might Refuse to Eat

There are a variety of possible reasons that your cat is refusing to eat. It’s important that you consider some of these explanations if you find yourself in this situation.

1. Illness or Injury

When a cat refuses to eat any food at all, it is typically either sick or injured. This could be a sign that your cat has diabetes, which is not uncommon among these animals. They might also have a parasitic infection, such as roundworm.

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Fatty liver disease is another common health condition among cats that can cause them to stop eating. Your vet will be able to confirm this condition by performing a biopsy on the cat’s liver.

If your cat has sustained a physical injury, the pain they are experiencing could be responsible for them not eating. You should perform a thorough examination of your pet’s body to check for injuries.

Keep in mind that it is perfectly normal for a cat to not eat when it is recovering from a surgical procedure. If they do not eat after 2-3 days, you should take them to the vet.

hungry cat

2. Stress/Anxiety

Cats that are experiencing a high level of stress or anxiety sometimes do not eat anything. Emotional stress can produce physical discomfort, which may lead to your kitty refusing its food.

If stress is the problem, there are numerous ways to calm your cat down. You can try giving them their food in a part of your home that is quiet with no other people or pets around.

3. They Don’t Like Their Food

It’s also possible that your cat just doesn’t like the food you are giving it. Some cats have a preference when it comes to wet versus dry food. It could be a matter of taste, texture, or both.

You might want to try switching your cat to another food to see if this solves the problem. The fact is that some felines are pickier eaters than others. The good news is that there is a wide range of flavors and brands of cat food to choose from. It is important that you to take the time to research these options thoroughly.

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Conclusion

  • Cats may refuse to eat the food they are given for many reasons. You shouldn’t wait more than a day or two before taking them to the vet.
  • If you let your cat outside sometimes, it could be refusing the food you give them because they are eating the animals they hunt outdoors.
  • A cat can generally survive for up to two weeks without food, but this depends on a number of factors.
  • The older a cat is, the less time they can survive without any food.
  • Even a cat’s genetics can affect their ability to survive without sustenance.
  • Many cats refuse to eat because they are seriously ill. Diabetes is one condition that can cause this.
  • Your cat might be refusing to eat because it is very stressed or anxious.
  • It’s possible that your cat isn’t eating because they don’t like the flavor and/or texture of the food you are giving them.
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