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How Long Can Cats Go Without Food? 13 Reasons Why They Are Not Eating

Cats go without food for around 2 weeks but can only go without water for 3 to 4 days.

Cats are notorious for being picky eaters but there could be other more severe health reasons why they are not eating.

If you see changes in your cat’s eating habits, it is best to take them to the vet immediately.

Keep reading to understand why your cat might not be eating and how you can help them.

How Long Can Cats Go Without Food?

Cats can go without food for about 2 weeks if they are drinking water otherwise the situation can become life threatening within a couple of days.

Within 2 days of not eating, cats can become malnourished and unwell. Do not wait more than 2 days if your cat hasn’t eaten and take them to the vet immediately.

These timelines can vary greatly based on your cat’s life stage, health and breed. Kittens can be most vulnerable to even small changes to their eating habits so if your kitten hasn’t eaten for a day, consult your vet immediately.

How Long Can Cats Go Without Water?

Cats can go without water for about 3 to 4 days max. Water is essential for a cat’s body to function normally.

Cats are notorious for drinking very little. In nature, they get most of their hydration from the prey they consume but food we feed them at home, especially dry cat food, has very little moisture and is not sufficient enough to fulfil a cat’s water requirements.

If you notice your cat isn’t drinking as much as it normally does or is not drinking at all, take them to the vet immediately and don’t wait around.

13 Reasons Your Cat Has Stopped Eating!

There can be a number of reasons your cat is not eating. Listed below are just some of them but there can be many more.

  1. Food Allergies
  2. Upset stomach
  3. Diet changes
  4. Dental or jaw issues
  5. Stress, Anxiety, Depression
  6. Health Issues
  7. Kidney Disease
  8. Medication
  9. Digestive Issues such as IBD
  10. Respiratory problems such as stuffy nose
  11. Indigestion or constipation
  12. Parasites
  13. Pancreatitis

How To Get Your Cat To Eat?

There are a couple of things you can try to help your cat eat. But please consult your vet to make sure that there are no serious issues and get help as soon as possible.

Change the Food Bowl

Dirty or small food bowls can throw off a cat’s appetite. Small things like changing to a ceramic bowl from a steel one, elevating the food bowl can have major impacts on your cat’s desire to eat.

We recommend Fukumaru Ceramic Food Bowl as the best for fussy cats.

Let Your Cat Eat in Peace

Moving your cat’s food bowl to a more peaceful location can really help your cat eat, especially if your cat has a bit of anxiety or is stressed.

Try placing your cat’s food bowl and water bowl in a less busy area of your house or from another cat’s food bowl.

Change Food Type

If you have recently changed your cat’s food, try changing it back to their original one. Sometimes it takes a bit more time to transition to new food.

Change back to their original food and try transitioning to the new one very gradually.

Check out this article on how to change cat food successfully.

Smelly Food is Yummy Food

Cats’ appetite is smell driven, add extra smelly food as topping to your cat’s usual food to make it more appetising.

Try adding juice from tuna cans or boiled chicken pieces to your cat’s food.

Hot Food

Cats are not a big fan of cold food. If your cat is refusing to eat, try warming the food a bit to make it more appealing for your kitty.

Keep Your Cat Hydrated

It is important to keep your cat dehydrated during this phase as dehydration can prolong recovery.

Water can also trigger hunger in cats.

Get Food Designed For Picky Eaters

Sometimes your kitty might be craving something a bit scrumptious, it doesnt hurt to try one of the best tasting cat food out there.

Our pick for the best tasting wet food is Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau Canned Cat Food.

Our best pick for the best tasting dry food is Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Dry Cat Food.

Seeking Veterinary Help

Loss of appetite can be a serious concern and can be caused by a number of medical conditions. 

Consult your vet as soon as you notice changes in eating habits of your kitty or your cat hasn’t eaten for more than a day.

The vet will be able to diagnose the exact issue and come up with a treatment plan to get your kitty back to its playful self.

The Bottom Line

It is important that a cat gets enough food and some water every day. At the first sign of a problem, like if your cat isn’t eating or drinking, take it to the vet immediately. It’s better to be safe than sorry!


Can Cats Go 12 Hours Without Eating?

Yes, cats can easily go 12 hours without eating. Cats should eat every 12 hours or so, there is no cause of concern if your cat hasn’t eaten in 12 hours.

More than 12 hours can be a issue, so make sure your cat is feeling their best and there are no ants etc. in their bowl.

How Long Can a Cat Go Without Food Before Liver Damage?

The liver can start getting affected within 48 to 72 hours of not eating.

If you notice yellowing of the eyes and skin, it could be a sign of liver damage and you should take your cat to the vet immediately.

What is the Best Cat Food For Picky Eaters?

The best cat food for picky eaters is Tiki Cat Puka Puka Luau Canned Cat Food and Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Dry Cat Food

Cat parents are delighted by the fact how much their cats love this food.


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