How Long Can Cats Go Without Food And Water?

How Long Can Cats Go Without Food and Water?
How Long Can Cats Go Without Food and Water?

Cats can be picky about what they eat, where they eat it, and how frequently they want to be fed. Even if you give your picky cat a variety of wet and dry foods to fill in important nutritional gaps, he or she may not eat them. You may be wondering how long cats can go without food and water if you have a picky eater or if your cat’s appetite has suddenly changed.

If your favorite feline goes 24 hours without eating, it’s a sign that you should keep an eye out for signs of illness, pain, or a dislike for the current menu. Experts say your cats will be fine if they don’t eat food for a day but water. Cats without food or water can develop serious medical problems in as little as a day.

If the hunger strike lasts more than a day, you should call your vet right away to have the animal checked out. After three days of not eating, a cat’s extra fat starts to break down, which can lead to serious health problems. These times may be different for feral cats because their bodies haven’t gotten used to getting regular meals from people.

How Long Can Cats Go Without Food

What about sick or picky cats? What about feral cats, who may have erratic food sources? How long can cats go without food or water?

Cats that don’t eat, whether long, picky, or feral, can go for up to two weeks without food and water, but not without serious health consequences. Cats that go three days or more without eating will start to use fat reserves for energy, just like humans. However, a cat’s body is primarily designed to use protein for energy. Cats are obligate carnivores, which means they must consume meat to survive. If a cat cannot eat meat for a few days and begins to deplete its fat reserves, the liver can become overburdened.

Even though cats can live for a long time without food and water, they need to eat every day and shouldn’t be left without fresh food for long periods to stay healthy and happy.

Feral cats require the same consistency of meals as domestic cats, but they cannot always obtain them due to their difficult lives. The Thermo-Kitty Café is a great way to make sure that feral cats have fresh food and water that won’t freeze or go bad quickly during the winter. Consider joining a local organization that donates time and food to help feral cat colonies. This is an excellent way to ensure that these “wild” cats get the food they require to stay healthy.

If your cat has been “hungry,” “If this lasts more than a day or two, it’s time to see a veterinarian, as there could be several, and often serious, health reasons for it. If your cat is simply a picky eater, you can try warming it, adding some wet cat food on top of the dry, or even trying new food to make his meal more appealing.

While cats can go without food for short periods, it’s best to plan ahead of time to ensure your cat gets the food he requires while you’re away.

How Long Can Cats Go Without Food and Water?

If they have access to water, the average cat can go for one to two weeks without eating. However, without protein, it could take three to four days, even if they have plenty of water. A cat is unlikely to survive more than three days without water or food. When it comes to cats’ health, it is important to stress that a cat that hasn’t eaten for as little as two days can become malnourished and sick, and will need to see a vet right away. To be happy and healthy, all cats require consistent food and access to fresh water.

You should not assume that your cat will be able to fend for themselves and catch their food if necessary. Even though many domestic cats can hunt and catch mice, birds, squirrels, and other small animals, not all cats can find their food. Domestic cats often get used to being fed at certain times, and if that doesn’t happen, they might not look for other ways to eat.

What Happens If My Cats Don’t Eat and Drink for a Long Time?

Food and water are essential for the health of your cat. They supply all of the nutrients and minerals required by life. If cats, especially kittens, skip meals, they can become malnourished.

If your cats go too long without food and water, they may develop Feline Hepatic Lipidosis. Also, if this liver condition goes untreated for a long time, it can kill you.

Why Isn’t My Cat Eating?

Your cat may refuse to eat for a variety of reasons. Cats can be picky eaters, and we can tell when they aren’t in the mood to eat. When you notice your cat avoiding food, you should be concerned.

You must determine the cause of your pet’s lack of appetite. Some of the reasons why your cat isn’t eating include:

#1. Food’s condition

Because their food is stale, your cats may stop eating. Cats may refuse to eat their food if they suspect something is wrong with it. You must find out if the brand or product in question has been recalled or has passed its expiration date.

Always keep the original package of your cat’s food to keep track of the expiry date. If you find out that your cat’s food has been recalled or has passed its expiration date, you need to call your vet right away. Your veterinarian will test your pet for food poisoning to see if they are sick.

#2. Food types

Cats are picky eaters and may reject certain foods. Each cat has different preferences, and you should be aware of what your feline friend prefers. Some cats prefer dry food, and if you give them wet food, they may reject it. Your cat may have a strong preference for one type over the other.

#3. Medical issues

Some common cat health issues may cause your feline to lose its appetite. If you notice any other symptoms of a disease, you should take the cat to your veterinarian for a diagnosis. A sick cat will often vomit, have diarrhea, get a fever, meow a lot, and lose weight.

#4. Medicine

Some medications can cause your cat to lose his or her appetite and refuse to eat. Always keep an eye out for the side effects of any medications prescribed by your veterinarian. Before he or she treats your cat, your vet will probably tell you about any possible side effects.

#5. Safety

Because the bowl is in an unsafe location, your cats may avoid going for their food. These areas could include those near the restrooms or those too close to an aggressive dog.

Make sure your cat’s feeding station is away from their automatic litter boxes and in a safe and peaceful location. Place the food bowls so that your cat feels safe and can see who is approaching.

#6. Food temperature

If you serve your cat wet food straight from the fridge, they may be hesitant to eat it. Wet food that has been heated can encourage cats to eat well and enjoy their food.

Cold wet food may also lack the smell and flavor to entice your cat. Always make sure your cat’s food is at the proper temperature. Your cat’s food should not be too hot or too cold.

#7. Dental problems

Dental diseases can be so painful that your cat won’t be able to eat because its teeth hurt too much. In such a case, you may notice that your cat is motivated to eat but is unable to swallow food. They meow around the feeding area but are unable to eat.

#8. Types of food bowls

Because of the type of food bowls they have, your cat may be reluctant to eat. A good food bowl should make it easy for your cat to take their food.

Why Won’t My Cat Drink Water?

The same reasons that cause your cat to refuse to eat may also cause them to avoid the water bowl. Your cat may appear to be eating normally but not drinking enough water. At times, they may completely avoid water.

If your cat goes too long without drinking water, he or she may become dehydrated. Lethargy, loss of appetite, dry mouth, and sunken eyes are all symptoms of dehydration in your cat.

Dehydration can be caused by conditions that cause cats to lose too much water from their bodies. Kidney disease, hypothyroidism, diarrhea, vomiting, and diabetes are examples of such conditions. Here are some of the reasons your cat might avoid drinking water:

#1. Cold foods

Wet cat food contains an excessive amount of moisture. If your cat is on a wet food diet, it is getting the majority of its water from food. It is always a good idea to have a variety of wet and dry cat foods on hand.

#2. Weather

During the winter/cold season, your cat may go an entire day without drinking any water. This should not be a cause for concern because the cat is not losing a lot of water.

#3. Level of activity

If your cat is constantly active, it will drink more water. An active cat will sweat profusely and require more water to cool down. Because inactive cats do not expend a lot of energy, they do not require a lot of water throughout the day.

#4. Water temperature

The drinking water for your cat should be neither too hot nor too cold. When the water is extremely hot, it causes your dog’s teeth to become sensitive and painful. On hot days, cold water is more effective, while hot water is better on cold days. Your cat’s water should be at a temperature that it can tolerate.

#5. Oral harm

You can expect your cat to drink less water if he has a physical wound in his mouth. The injury may be painful, and drinking water will aggravate it.

Examine the mouth to see if your cat has an oral wound. A cat with an oral injury will keep its mouth open the majority of the time to relieve the pain.

Take your cat to the vet for the best wound care for a quick recovery. You can use a water syringe to give your cat water while they recover from an oral injury.

#6. Older age

As long as they are healthy, elderly cats may not be motivated to drink enough water. This could be due to their numbing thirst receptacles. They also have less physical activity, so they may not be thirsty all of the time.

You can keep your senior cat hydrated by providing them with wet food. You can use bone broth to moisten and flavor their dry foods.

How Can I Get My Cat To Eat?

If your cat has lost its appetite due to a medication side effect, you may simply need to be patient. Allow them to savor their food and reward them for eating. If you suspect your cat is stressed, make its eating environment as calm as possible. To encourage them to eat, use familiar bowls and food, and keep other pets and children away from them while they eat.

If you’ve ruled out health problems or stress, your cat may just need a change in diet to start eating again. Add small amounts of the new food to their old food over a week, until they are eating full portions. Consider giving your cat small amounts of chicken or tuna to encourage them, but make sure it is properly cooked and doesn’t have any small bones, oils, additives, or flavors that could make your cat sick.


How long can cats go without food or water? An adult cat can survive for 1 to 2 weeks before becoming overwhelmed. Some of the factors that may influence how long your cats can go without food and water are age, breed, and health issues. If you do not intervene to help, your cat may develop a potentially fatal liver condition.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will respond.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can cat survive without food and water for 5 days?

If they have access to water, the average cat can go for one to two weeks without eating. However, without protein, it could take three to four days, even if they have plenty of water. A cat is unlikely to survive more than three days without water or food.

How Long Can cats go without water?

Between three and four days

So, when it comes to water, a cat can survive for three to four days without it on average. “Cats will become dehydrated within 24 hours of not drinking water,” Dr. Burch told The Dodo. “The longer a cat goes without drinking water, the worse dehydration becomes, electrolyte imbalances occur, and organ damage occurs.”

How do you know your cat is dehydrated?

Dehydration symptoms include lethargy, weakness, poor appetite, dry mucous membranes, and, in more severe cases, sunken eyes. Diseases that cause increased water loss are the most common causes of dehydration in cats.

How do I get my sick cat to drink water?

A syringe can be used to administer fluids by mouth. Your veterinarian will advise you on how much and how frequently to administer fluids. If your cat cannot be given fluids by mouth, your veterinarian will admit your cat to the hospital to provide the necessary supportive care.

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