How Long Can Cats Go Without Food: Understanding Cat Eating Habits

how long can cats go without food

Cats and Humans are known to share outstanding bonds, which makes people buy or adopt a feline friend more often. While playing with them or enjoying their mischief can be fun, their eating habits might sometimes disappoint you. Most people don’t know that cats can be picky eaters. They are selective about the places to eat and their choices. Sometimes, they stop having their usual meals, which worries their owners. You might wonder how long can cats go without food after one or two exceptionally finicky meals. If you have a cat that spends time outside, it can be challenging to understand what your cat eats.

On average, a cat may go for up to two days without eating before health problems such as fatty liver disease become an issue. So long as they have access to water and are adequately hydrated, cats can only survive without food. Unless your veterinarian instructs you otherwise, you must provide fresh food and water to your cat daily.

The Reasons Your Cat May Not Be Eating

You must know why the cat is not eating before determining how long can cats go without food. It’s normal to be worried if your cat’s feeding habits change overnight. A cat’s unwillingness to eat may be caused by a variety of things, such as stress, dental issues, diseases, and food preferences.

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1. Stress

Being sensitive animals, cats may become stressed and lose their appetite if their habit, environment, or the presence of new animals or people changes.

2. Dental issues

Cats with dental problems, such as gum disease or toothache, may find feeding difficult. This discomfort may cause you to eat less or avoid eating challenging meals.

3. Constipation

A cat may experience constipation if it does not drink enough water. If a cat does not have access to drinking water and is not getting enough hydration from the food source, this can relate to the previous point concerning the dirty water bowl.

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4. Illnesses

A cat may become lethargic for various reasons, such as digestive issues, kidney disorders, infections, or cancer. It’s critical to seek veterinarian care if your cat stops eating for more than a day or exhibits other symptoms of illness.

5. Vaccination

Your pet needs immunizations. Vaccines can, however, momentarily make the cat ill after being given. This usually means the cat’s body is building immunity, a healthy sign.

6. Unclean Food Bowls

The cat might not want to eat or drink if water and food dishes are gross. In addition to causing anorexia and dehydration, filthy cat bowls pose a significant risk to the general health of cats since they are a source of dangerous bacteria.

7. Picky Eating

Cats can have a fussy eating habit, much like people. They can reject particular foods or grow tired of their usual diet. Variety and experimenting with various flavors and textures might whet their appetite.

8. Aging

The average older cat will consume less food than a younger, more active cat. Age-related loss of appetite, however, might result in malnutrition or other medical problems. Even though they always have access to fresh water, they tend to drink less.

How Long Can a Cat Go Without Food?

How long can cats go without food? This is one of the most prominent questions cat owners or cat feeders ask. All cats undergo the same physical (and mental) changes when their bodies are deprived of food, even though there isn’t a universally applicable timeline for all cats. When your cat’s body doesn’t receive enough nutrition, it turns to body fat to provide energy. The liver of the feline cat aids in converting body fat reserves into energy reserves.

how long can cats go without food

The liver cannot operate correctly if it does not receive enough protein. As a result, it enters a stage known as liver failure. Your pet’s life is in severe danger when significant organ damage results from malnutrition.

So, how long can cats go without food? Cats can go without food for one to two weeks on average, although this depends on how much water they consume and how healthy they are.

What Happens if a cat Doesn’t Eat for Too Long? 

Although a cat may go up to two weeks without food, it can only last three days without water. However, cats are obligate carnivores because they must consume meat to thrive. Regardless of whether they have access to fresh water, cats are more likely to survive three to four days without food if they don’t have a consistent source of protein. A cat’s organs go down after three to four days without sustenance. That is usually how long can cats go without food.

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As the livers of dogs and humans can support the body on energy reserves, we can go longer without meals. Because a cat’s liver lacks this ability, once the animal starts to lose weight due to malnutrition, the liver becomes contaminated with body fat. Hepatic lipidosis, a potentially fatal condition, leads to liver failure in cats unless they ingest enough calories to replenish their fat stores with energy.

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Cats must always have access to enough food and water when left unsupervised. If you have to go out of town and are wondering how long can cats go without food, you should either board with your pet or get a pet sitter to take care of her needs while you’re gone.  

What Should You Do If Your Cat Has Stopped Eating?

Cats may be picky animals. Cleaning their water and food bowls can be required to get them to eat. Similarly, your pet could reject her feeding bowl if you switched to a new cat food. When cats become sufficiently hungry, they frequently eat new food. However, if your cat still refuses to eat and drink after 24 hours, it’s time to visit the veterinarian. Never risk the health of your furry child by not researching how long can cats go without food. Because dehydration and starvation can have terrible results.

Assessing a cat’s general health is crucial if it skips a meal. You can give them a few hours and then offer them something else if they’re young and generally healthy. It’s nice that they can still be persuaded to eat.


Cats are strong animals with the innate capacity for long periods without eating. But cat owners generally worry when they are unsure about how long can cats go without food. It’s essential to remember that every cat is different, and personal circumstances can affect their tolerance. Although they can go up to two days without being fed, access to water is crucial for their survival. As sensible pet owners, we must monitor our cats’ health, provide them with a balanced diet, and seek veterinarian care as soon as any signs of dehydration or appetite loss appear.