How Long Can a Cat Live Without Food?

Cats are one of the best pets you can have at home.

They don’t require too much attention, they can lounge anywhere, and they are easy to potty train.

Aside from that, cats are not that hard to maintain at home.

While they can be left at home without too much worry, they still need to be fed enough.

If you are wondering how long can a cat live without food, you can have this simple guide on feeding them that can help.

How often should cats be fed?

Part of being a responsible cat owner is knowing when and how often to feed your feline babies.

Regular feeding is a must to have their weight appropriate for their age.

Remember that not feeding and overfeeding can have risks and dangers.

As kittens, they can be fed up three times a day with nutritious kitten food. As they grow older, this frequency can lessen. They can eat once or twice a day by the time they reach full adulthood.

If they don’t have health issues and have a perfectly fine feeding pattern, eating once a day is great.

How long can cats live without food?

There are many instances when you can’t give their food regularly. You can go out of town, or when you can’t hire a cat nanny. You don’t need to fret because cats can generally be fine up to two weeks without food intake.

However, this is with water supply. And if your cat may reach that time without food, they would be more likely to become malnourished or seriously ill.

It is important to take note that they can become unwell in as early as two days without food intake. Without protein in their diet, they can become malnourished in about three to four days, even with water intake.

When going out for an errand or for a vacation, leave them with sufficient food or have a cat nanny around. This will ensure that while you are away, your furry pet can still be safe and well-fed.

How long can my cat live without drinking water

How long can my cat live without drinking water?

Water intake is different from food, just like for humans. Cats become dehydrated without sufficient water intake. Unlike food where they can survive for days without it, water intake is far more important.

They will survive for three to four days without water, but they will be severely dehydrated by that time. Some cats can go as long as a week without water. But most of them will likely die without water intake by that time.

It is advisable to leave a water station where they can take sips throughout the day. Dehydration can lead to organ system failure in a short amount of time.

Why did my cat stop eating?

Even with sufficient cat food around, some cats can have a low appetite. If you notice that there has been a change in their food intake, consider resolving the main root of the problem. Here are common issues on why cats stop feeding:

Environmental and Food Changes

If there has been a change in the cat food brand, your cat may change their attitude towards feeding time. They may not like the smell or the taste of the newer food. Food temperature can also change the way they view their meals.

Consider checking out if your cat likes warmer or colder meals in a day to encourage a good eating habit. Food texture also affects their appetite. Aside from that, the lack of flavor also discourages them to eat on a regular basis.

Cats are also sensitive to their territories. If there has been a sudden change in their surroundings, this can affect them emotionally. Changes include a new cat in the house, a major renovation in their area, a death of a loved one, or even a change in the working schedule of their owner.

Dental Problems

One of the most common reasons why cats stop feeding themselves is the presence of dental issues. Depending on the cat breed and their usual food intake, they can have dental caries, a cracked tooth, cavities, gum infection, and more.

You can check their oral hygiene and you may have a quick trip to the vet if you are unsure with your own findings.

Common Cold

Like humans, they can also have respiratory problems. They can catch the common cold and start having symptoms like sneezing, coughing, and others. This can affect their smell and can eventually lead to a loss of appetite. The common cold is usually gone in 10 days for cats. Consider going to the vet if there are still symptoms beyond that day.

Motion Sickness

Traveling can be a good activity for your cat. But some of them are extra sensitive when it comes to boat, car, and train rides, among others. When you have travelled for hours, it can have after effects when you have settled down on your destination. This can change their appetite if they don’t recover quickly.

Other Diseases

It is possible that the loss of appetite in your cat is due to an unrecognized underlying disease. If the appetite has changed for a considerable amount of time, it is best to consult a veterinarian so a series of tests can be conducted as soon as possible. This is also encouraged especially if your cat has changed their behavior, other than towards food, for the past weeks or months.

What happens if my cat doesn’t eat food

What happens if my cat doesn’t eat food?

There are a lot of consequences of loss of appetite in cats. This can lead to a drastic weight loss. And a weight loss of 30% or more can have a lot of fatal concerns.

Liver Disease

The longer that your cat doesn’t eat, the faster the liver can fail. A disease called hepatic lipidosis results in failure of the organ as it is unable to get rid of the excess fats.


The long-term effect of a poor eating habit is a disorder called anorexia. Severe malnutrition in cats attracts more diseases. This weakens their immune system, making them easily catch common cat diseases.

Dehydration and Organ Failure

If water is also inaccessible, this will lead to severe dehydration. Over time, the kidneys of your cat will fail. This will need immediate medical attention so your cat will survive.

Ingestion of Non-food Products

A cat also has instincts to survive and they will try to consume whatever they can, especially if it has been days or weeks without food. But this does more harm than good because their gut is not designed to ingest non-food products. Aside from that, they do not get nutrients from this ingestion.

How do I get my cat to eat more food?

There are a lot of tips and tricks on how you can get your cat to eat more. Before going through each, it is important to check the root of the problem so it will be easier for you to incorporate a good diet for your pet. If an underlying disease is yet to be determined, it is best to consult your veterinarian immediately.

Change the Food

One of the most common causes of low appetite in cats is that they do not like what is being served. In some cases, their favorite cat food can go sold out in stores. Try checking out the ingredient list and consider substituting something that is very similar to what your cat is used to eating.

Tweak the Food

A lot of homemade recipes are available online. They are easy to make and there is no harm in experimenting on cat food products. Consider serving food in a warmer state. If they do not like cold cat food on their meals, a quick reheating process can save you time.

Add Vitamins

Although it may be an additional financial burden, adding vitamins can significantly change your cat’s appetite especially if the change has been too long. Cats with gut issues have a depleted level of Vitamin B12. Try choosing a cat-appropriate vitamin so they are well-supplemented. These can be sold over-the-counter so a prescription won’t be a worry.

Modify the Environment

Sometimes, you cat isn’t feeding well because the food prepared isn’t in a conducive spot for their meals. You can change the location of their bowl so they can eat in a quieter place. If they want to eat with you, you can also place it nearer your dining table.

When should I go to the veterinarian when my cat isn’t feeding well

When should I go to the veterinarian when my cat isn’t feeding well?

A low appetite can be a great concern, especially if it has been going on for too long. Each cat is unique and there is no definite time on when you should try consulting your vet. You should be familiar with your cat’s mannerism so you can notice a sudden change

If there has been a change in mood, weakness, and decrease in playfulness that has been present for days, you can take your pet to the vet for further examination.

Signs of dehydration like sunken eyeballs and other changes in the sclera like whitening or yellowing, should prompt you for a vet visit soon. Finally, a weight loss of around 30% or more of their original weight could be a sign of a grave disease. It is best to have medical advice on these instances.


Cats are not hard to keep around the house. As a responsible pet owner, you need to feed them regularly to keep them healthy and safe. Wondering how long can a cat live without food is a normal thought you should entertain, because knowing their food patterns and recommendations will make you a better cat master.



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