How Long Can a Cat Go Without Food
Cat Facts

How Long Can Cats Go Without Food And Water?

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Learning How Long Can Cats Go Without Food And Water is difficult. Food and water are two commodities every living animal needs for their survival. A cat can’t for more than three to four days before they die without food and water. However, they might last a little longer if they get water but no access to food before they die.

But it all depends on the overall health of a cat and environmental conditions to tell how long a cat can survive without water or food. You may think of a cat as a survivalist or resilient creature to end their lives but they have a limit when it comes to food and water. 

If your cat refuses to eat when you give them food, there reaches a time when as a pet parent you ask yourself, how long can a cat go without food. This question lingers over your mind whenever your feline friend refuses to feed.

Anorexia in cats may develop as a result of kidney disease, dental disease, arthritis, ingestion of non-food stuff, cancer, pancreatitis, and urinary tract infections. Aside from diseases, psychological disorders may alter the appetite of your cat. It is helpful for pet parents to study the appetite and eating habits and at a first red flag, seek vet intervention before things get worse.

There is a cat myth that they hardly drink water. This is because most of the food they eat contains water that is enough for their body water needs. Leaving them with no need for an alternate source of water. In the real sense, if you feed your cat with dry food, they must drink water to support body hydration.

Cat’s survival instincts tell them not to drink stagnant water because they think they are poisonous. All animals in the wild avoid stagnant water for the same reasons. The ideal source of water for cats is fountain water.

Can fat in the body help in survival without food and water?

It is common to think that obese cats can survive longer without food than normal cats. Nothing could be further from the truth but problems in the liver develop sooner than expected leading to kidney failure a fatal problem. Hepatic lipidosis may lead to the death between two to ten days, leaving normal weighted cats better survivors to hunger and thirsty. So to answer the question, obesity cannot guarantee survival for longer without food and water.  

How important is water in a cat’s health?

Cats tend to lose their body water content easily. Serious dehydration in cats may lead to health issues. For example, water is essential in a cat’s body for normal organ functioning, toxin removal, metabolic processes, waste removal, and blood circulation. Without water, the cat’s health will be compromised and will lead to organ shutdown. So, if you will be away for some time and leaving your cat behind, make sure they have access to plenty of water and food to sustain them until you come back. 

Why would a cat refuse to eat?

There are several reasons as to why a cat won’t eat. It is not only because they are sick! Just like us, cats have choices when it comes to food. Here are some of the reasons your cat may lose interest in mealtimes:


When your cat is suffering from an illness, they would probably lose appetite for food, or feel too much pain to eat. When your cat behaves in this manner, you have a reason to take intervention measures immediately especially if they present other symptoms like fever, nausea, or fatigue.


Just like humans, cats are selective when it comes to food. Cats may feel disinterested in food when they get bored of the same food over time. Also of the food you are giving them is not taste, they will have a reason to ditch food. Make sure you feed your cat with a variety and tasty food for them to enjoy eating.

Pain when eating

If your cat has dental problems, they may feel pain when eating especially dry food. They will choose to abscond eating altogether. The pain in the teeth is a sign that they are growing old or your cat has sensitive teeth meaning you must give them dental medication as soon as possible before the starve. Another option is to avoid giving her dry food. 

Side effects from medication or vaccines

If your cat is under medication or just had a vaccine, it could be the reason for disinterest in food. Medication may alter their appetite for food hence eat food selectively or avoid eating.


Your cat is sensitive especially to visitors or new members of your family. This will cause them discord and feel like not eating. Just like humans, appetite misses when uncomfortable. If you traveling along with your furry friend, traveling stress may cause them to lose interest in food. But this could be a temporary thing when the stress relieves, they begin to eat as usual.

How to entice your cat to eat more

If your cat is under medication allow them to eat slowly without disturbance. Alternatively, feed them by hand and give them praise when they eat. Just like humans they feel motivated and eat more as you continue praising them.

If you have been feeding them with dry food, try changing with wet food and see if they enjoy it. Try to add flavors that are appetite inviting to make crave for. Add favorite dishes like tuna or chicken. Moderate the number of treats you give them because of excessive intake of tuna, for example, may lead to other health issues. And if finding healthy wet food is a problem choose natural grain-free wet food for cats.

Change the environment 

Feed them in a quiet environment when he or she can feast in peace. Let them eat their meal at their speed and don’t force them.

In conclusion 

 If your cat still refuses to eat, seek help from pet nutritionist before things get out of hand. 

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