How long can a Cat Go without Food

Is my cat not eating be a worrying thing? Should I see a vet when my cat turns out to be a picky eater?  No, and Yes, as a cat may not eat due to lack of appetite, is unwell, not hungry, or doesn’t like the food given. If the problem persists it may be good to see a vet rule out any health issues.

Subsequently, cats roam a lot and can eat outside when out and about, making him full by the time he gets home.

It is not a cause of alarm, although it is good to check on what the cat is feeding on when outside. It may be feeding on dead carcasses like birds or rodents which may cause diseases or internal worms if infected.

Apart from the reasons analyzed above a cat may also refuse to eat due to the following causes below.

Causes that Lead to not eating for Cats

Let us look at the obvious causes of not eating

  • Sickness

The first symptom that may get you guessing your cat is sick is refusing to eat. In addition, cats can withdraw from eating when suffering from dental problems. For instance, a toothache, decay, broken tooth, oral tumor, inflammation issues on the throat or intestines, and aching gums. These health problems may make it impossible for the cat to eat, chew and swallow the food due to pain.

Alongside this, a cat that has a parasite infection, gastroenteritis, bloating, and cancer making him/her shy away from food even when hungry.

We all know how constipation can mess once a day. It is also the same for our cats. Not being able to remove excess waste and having a bloating stomach can make the cat refuse to eat more food. To prevent this give enough water and food rich in fiber for easy digestion.

  • Medication

They are medicines that can lower a cats’ appetite leading to a refusal to eat. For example, recent vaccination and taking medication can cause a lack of appetite for your cat.

Encouraging a cat to eat can be a losing battle and one may need appetite stimulants in consultation with your a vet. Supplements are good but need to be advised by a vet to prevent further damage.

  • Change in Diet

It is recommended not to change your cat food at once. Just as the saying goes familiarity breeds contempt, changing your cat food may be detrimental if not done gradually and in small portions.

Without a doubt, introduce one ingredient at a time until your cat is used to it before adding something new again.

Mix the dry or wet food that your cat loves with the new food ingredient. Despite that, check on any reaction that your cat may exhibit after an introduction like allergies or food intolerance. If you are not sure how to go about it consult your vet to advise further and to avoid stomach upsets.

Also, when preparing the food, give small chunks of food and portions to avoid fast-eating which can cause excess gas or obstruction in the digestive tract. If the food is big it can cause choking to your cat which may necessitate surgery or cause death.

Check also on the new food you give your cat as they are food that is hard to digest due to the cats’ metabolism. A senior cat may have a low metabolism and have difficulties digesting the food fast while a young cat can digest the food fast.

How long can a cat stay without Food?

Cats are domesticated, but also have a wild side. Unquestionably, cats have a distinctive temperature preference of their food which is around 38 °C.

Clearly, this is a temperature of a fresh kill that is why you can find your cat escaping through the cat flap to go hunt outside for a bird or rodent in the yard. Cats love fresh food, anything cold or refrigerated may be a turn-off for your feline friend.

Cats can survive on water, they can go without food for 2 weeks while water is 3 days. It is good to get your cat back into eating as soon as you notice it is not feeding.

Lack of eating can make your cat weak and unhealthy as it needs proper nutrition for growth. Take the cat for a checkup by your vet to get the necessary diagnosis and treatment.

Additionally, one can have various solutions to entice your cat into eating

Solutions; How to Get the Cat to Eat

  • Keep the feeding bowls clean and in an accessible area.
  • If the home has multiple cats have separate eating bowls for all cats. You can buy different color bowls for different cats and place them in different areas to avoid confusion and food fights.
  • Place the food bowl in a quiet area where your cat will eat comfortably without distractions.
  • Make the food yummy and tasty by adding food that the cat loves like tuna soup to its dry food.
  • Also, give wet or canned food which is easy to swallow.
  • Stress can be a contributing factor to your cat’s refusal to eat hence ensure your cat is stress-free.
  • Have water fountains or bowls for constant water supply at all feeding areas for your cat to drink. Ensure the bowls are always clean.
  • On the food temperature, remember cats do not love cold or frozen food, let the food temperature be appealing to your cat.
  • Monitor your cat’s behavior and feeding habits and if the eating disorder persists take him/her to the vet as it may be an indication of a serious medical condition. This will allow the vet to carry tests on him/her, diagnose and give proper treatment.


Once you notice that your cat is not eating we recommend you consult your vet immediately. As much as the cat can survive on drinking water, lack of protein for several days can be fatal as their bodies cannot survive on stored energy found in their bodies alone.

They are factors that lead to a cat refusing to eat, observe your cat when eating, and its behavior change. If you notice your cat eats less or looks to be in pain during feeding time try to find out what is the problem.

Sometimes it may be hard to know the cause and that is where we advise you to consult a vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Lastly, cat organs shut down very quickly hence if it goes for 3 days without food it is good to see a doctor and avoid any death.