How Long Can a Cat Go Without Eating

How Long Can A Cat Go Without Eating?

This is a very simple question that might arise in the minds of a majority of cat owners. So, if you’ve a furry mate in your home that dotes on you, it is quite natural for you to become anxious whenever she shies away from taking food or water. Now, there could be several reasons as to why your pet cat doesn’t have any appetite for food.


Loss of desire to eat could be an indicative of some deep-seated malaise or disorder. Or, it could be that she got herself injured near the nose or around the mouth and it hurts every time she opens her mouth to eat. So, coming back to the question, just how long can a cat go without eating?

Exactly How Long Can The Domestic Cat Go Without Eating?

Cats, like other living organisms, needs to consume a prescribed amount of food and drink sufficient water everyday so that she gets the energy to keep going from one day to the other. But when it is a question of hanging on to dear life by the skin of their teeth, they’ll surely need to drink as much as water they can. They can go on living for a maximum of up to 1-2 weeks even if they don’t eat anything but drinking water would be a must.

In case, a cat avoids drinking water or consuming food for days at a stretch, she might die in less than a week. Their bodies are forced to resort to catabolism causing shrinkage of muscle mass and ultimately leading to permanent damage of viscera including the liver and the kidneys. The cat’s body, when it is unable to source its daily nutrient requirement from external sources (like food and water) will turn to the internal stock for supplying energy to the creature.

Vital physiological and biological functions get affected as the internal organs go kaput on a priority basis. So, it is the stomach, kidneys, and liver that becomes dysfunctional first and then other organs like the brain and the heart follow suit in quick succession. The cat goes into a traumatic stage as one organ after the other dries up and stops functioning causing the feline to die.

cat not eating

​What Could Be Behind Your Cat Not Eating?

Domesticating a cat is not easy as house-training a dog or bringing it under control owing to the complexity of its character. Cats happen to be mysterious feline and carnivorous mammals and it is because of their weirdness that they have been treated deferentially by many ancient civilizations, especially the Egyptians. You might find it difficult to figure out a cat’s body language while attempting to tame a cat.

So, if you find your feline friend not taking food or water for a long time, you might be left wondering as to how long a cat can go without eating. As stated above, the causes behind your cat not consuming food or drinking water may range from sickness to injury to depression and everything in between. As the owner, nobody will have a better idea than you as to why the cat has developed a sudden abhorrence for food.

But even if you fail to establish the cause behind your cat not eating then it is recommended that you should take her to the vet.

Check Out If Your Pet Cat Is Suffering From Some Underlying Disease

Cats too may develop a distaste or aversion for food just like human beings and other animals. Your pet could be staying away from her favorite cat food owing to a number of health issues including but not limited to diabetes, hepatic lipidosis, and kidney failure. Cats usually have revulsion towards their preferred food items more often than not due to HL (hepatic lipidosis) also called fatty liver disease.

A cat is usually diagnosed with hepatic lipidosis when fat tends to build up inside the liver within the tissues and cells. Excessive accumulation of fats causes the liver to malfunction eventually leading to its breakdown. The body of the cat in order to react to starvation takes all preemptive measures so as to keep the organism alive.

For instance, the adipose tissues and cells inside the viscera are metabolized for providing the energy required for surviving at a subsistent level. Nevertheless, the metabolic process leads to fat deposition within the liver causing the organ to stop working altogether. Hepatic lipidosis is experienced by the feline in two distinct forms-idiopathic lipidosis and secondary lipidosis.

​If your cat does not feel like taking food for no obvious or evident reason, then she might be suffering from idiopathic lipidosis. Idiopathic lipidosis may occur owing to a sudden change in her environment which could be as major as a total relocation to a new city or town or could be as innocuous and simple as shifting furniture. Cats happen to be extremely sensitive by nature and may not be able to put up with and adjust to an unexpected disruption in their surroundings or daily routine.

On the other hand, if the cat had already been suffering from some underlying, preexisting disease like pancreatitis, gastrointestinal disorder, cholangiohepatitis or diabetes, the ailment may eventually cause HL.

​Steps You Can Take If Your Pet Cat Refrains From Eating or Drinking Water

Initially, if your cat declines from eating or even drinking water, you can try to make her have food by offering cat food different from the ones she is used to tasting. Cats being sensitive might seek a change in taste and flavor and may be loathe to eating the same type of foods day in and day out. Sometimes, taking your cat to a different environment may help her in getting her appetite back.

However, if all your attempts to feed her come a cropper then you should take her immediately to a vet. A veterinarian is surely the most appropriate medical or healthcare professional who’ll be proficient in making her feed by putting the cat on a saline drip.


Coming back to the basics of how long can a cat go without eating the feline could survive up to a maximum of 2 weeks subsisting exclusively on water. However, without water, the cat at the most will not stay alive beyond 3 days.

Sarah Keene

I’m Sarah Keene, and I’m glad you found your way to my blog. I love cats so much; I consider myself a cat woman. I have 5 cats at the moment, and I am planning to grow my cat family. It is not easy to take care of these cats appropriately though I would wish to make them feel as comfortable as possible. This is why I depend on other blogging cat lovers like me to help me in providing all the necessities for my cats to have the best life possible.

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