How Long Can Cats Go Without Food Or Water?

February 19, 2020

How Long Can Cats Go Without Food Or Water?Both food and water are essential to the well being of any animals. Like other animals, cats can last up to a week without food and up to 3 days without water. A cat may even survive longer as long as there is enough water, even though no food is readily available. However, this assumption is dependent on certain conditions such as the health of the cat and its surrounding environment.

For most cats, water is derived from the food they consumed. Therefore, if your cat is eating a lot of wet cat food, there is no immediate need to provide an alternative source of water. However, if your cat is consuming a lot of dry cat food, it will be better to provide a water source, preferably running water which your cat has access to at all times.

Why won’t my cat eat?

Cats may occasionally go without food due to a wide variety of reasons. For feral cats or cats in the wild, it may be due to a scarcity of food. Sometimes, domestic cats may get lost and cannot find food on their own without their owners. For domestic cats, it may be due to the owners unexpectedly away past their pets’ meal times.

However, if a cat refuse to eat for an extended period time, it may be due to some underlying health or mental issues. Sometimes, it may be due to stress, such as a change of environment or eating in an open space with lots of traffic around. Other issues may include being sick, change of diet or side effects from medication or vaccination.

Other health issues may include pain when eating. When other symptoms such as fatigue, fever and nausea are present, it normally indicates a more serious medical condition.

Consequences of your cat going without food or water for too long

If your cat doesn’t eat for far too long, besides obvious signs of weight loss, your cat may start to develop some serious health consequences such as the following:

Hepatic Lipidosis - This illness affects the liver, as a result of starvation. Starvation may be due to your cat refusing to eat or some other underlying medical condition.

Kidney Failure - Without water for too long will lead to kidney failure. Immediate treatment is required for your cat to survive.

Organ Failure - A body and all its parts will only function well in the presence of enough nutrients from the food and water consumed. If your cat stops eating, its organs will start to deteriorate, starting from the digestive system, follow by the brain and finally the heart.

How can I get my cat to eat?

Find out the root cause of your cat’s refusal to eat is of utmost importance here. If it is stress related, such as a sudden change of environment, or a new addition such as a new baby or pet to the family, time and patience may be the best way forward.

Otherwise, if it is due to a sudden change of diet, you may want to go back to the old diet first, before slowly introducing your kitty to the new diet. Cats are notorious for being fussy eaters, sometimes, the flavor, or even texture may cause a cat to refuse to eat.

Otherwise, if you are not able to pinpoint the exact cause of your cat’s refusal to eat, you may need to seek the help of a vet instead. Most of the time if the cause is not stress related, it is most likely an underlying health issue. Going to a vet is highly recommended at all times.

Final Thoughts
Even though cats are designed to survive and thrive in the wild, there is a certain limit when it comes to food and water. This is even more true for domestic cats. Since a cat’s body can compose of up to 75% water, you have to ensure your cat don’t suffer from any form of dehydration. As a loving and responsible cat owner, providing enough food and water at all times is of paramount importance.

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More information here. does not intend to provide veterinary advice. We go to great lengths to help cat owners better understand their pet cats. However, the content on this site is not substitute for veterinary guidance.

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