How Long Can CATS Go Without EATING?

Cats normally get hungry very often and the owners need to feed them repeatedly. But it seems unusual when they refuse to eat or go without eating for a day.

You need to know about your feline friend’s food habits to look after them better. Sometimes this might be normal for cats not to eat, but cats stop eating for some health reasons in many cases. Should you worry if your cat stops eating? Let us know how to deal with it.

Don’t Worry, Cats Sometimes Do That

Cats stop eating for various reasons. Not all of them are of concern. Cats are notorious creatures, they tend to stop eating sometimes, but this causes no harm to them or weakens them. If they skip one or two meals, there is nothing for you to worry about, but it is a matter of concern when they stop eating for long.

How Long Can Your Cat Survive Without Eating? 

Cats can live up to two weeks without eating. But this sounds strange how an animal can survive up to two weeks without eating, right? This is not as simple as it sounds. Cats can survive a long period without eating if they are drinking water. 

If your cat refuses to eat but is drinking water, it can survive up to two weeks. But without both food and water, your cat cannot last more than three or four days. This is because cats need high animal protein without meeting this demand and eventually end up being weak. 

Without food, the cat can survive, but without water, their body starts dehydrating, which damages your cat’s kidney and other internal organs. Once they start eating again, they will rehydrate and regain their strength. 

You might be wondering how to treat your cat under such circumstances. But the treatment should be done according to the reason why your cat has stopped eating.

 Here are a few fundamental reasons why cats often stop eating.

kitten food

7 Basic Reasons Why Your Cat Refuses to Eat

If cats stop eating for prolonged periods, then you should know what has made them stop eating. After learning the reasons, you will be able to identify if you can treat it by yourself or if you need to seek veterinary help. 


It is more likely for your cat to stop eating when they are suffering from illness. This is because the illness causes loss of appetite in cats, and they do not eat as they usually do. If they completely give up eating, it makes them weak, so try to feed them chicken or fish soup with added salt. 

This is a matter of concern if your cat refuses to eat food and you see other symptoms like nausea, fever, or fatigue. This is a significant health problem that needs to be solved immediately. Please stick with me to the end to know when to consult a vet for your cat.

Digestive Obstruction

There are several signs to know if your cat is having digestion problems. Cats with digestive problems show symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or sometimes even constipation, resulting in indigestion and loss of appetite. 

Digestive problems are caused because of gastrointestinal issues, which are so-called inflamed digestive tracts. What causes this intestinal problem? Eating rotten or spoiled food, eating toxic plants, food allergies, and sometimes internal parasites. What you can do on your behalf is mentioned in the section below. 

Medicines or Vaccination

Cats sometimes face loss of appetite after vaccination or medication, and you do not need to worry about that. Vaccination causes loss of appetite and vomiting in cats, but that is not for a very long period. They can overcome this shortly. Make sure they are drinking water. 

Change of Food

Cats get habituated with the food they regularly eat, and a change in their food sometimes disturbs them, and they won’t like to eat that initially. Once they get used to eating, they will eat the food you bought for them. But you cannot keep your cat starving because of the new food. 

So what can you do? Here the best solution is to mix the old food with the new food to get the taste of the new food together without shocking their system and avoiding their new meal. 

Feline Depression or Stress

If the vet determines your cat is not physically sick, then feline depression or anxiety might be the reason for your cat not to eat. In addition, schedule change, changes in the household, death of their companion, and loneliness can disturb sensitive cats, and they often give up eating if they are emotionally disturbed. 

Are you traveling with your cat? Have you added a new member to your family? Cats sometimes get stressed due to frequent traveling or the addition of new members to the family. Allow them some time to get used to it.

There might be several internal pains inside the body of your cats, like kidney failure, pancreatitis, intestinal problems, and many more. But the scenario is not always that severe. For example, if you are rearing a junior cat a few months of age, they might not eat because of toothache as this is their tooth falling period. Cats might also quit eating because of physical pain. 

cat and tuna

If Your Cat Is in Heat

What is heat? The mating period of your cat is called heat. Your cat loses appetite when they are in heat and the heating season of cats lasts year-round. So the better option for the well-being of your cat is to spay or castrate. Again cats are expected to eat 15% less in the summer. 

If your cat does not eat, you cannot keep them starving. You need to look for solutions for them to boost their appetite. Let’s learn what to do if your cat is not eating. 

Switch Foods

Have you switched her foods? Is your cat not eating the new meal you bought for them. Changing your cat’s meal is a good practice, but the taste of a new meal sometimes gets shocking to their system. Again the same food for an extended period bores them. 

You need to change your cat food every two weeks and allow them to have a new taste. But don’t give them the complete new food in a bowl. Instead, mix it with the old food, so they eat them together without shocking their system.

Deworm Your Cat Regularly 

When you take your pet to the veteran, the vet asks is when you last deworm your cat. The most common intestinal problems cats get are roundworms and tapeworms, which cause loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and irritation around the anus. 

Treat kittens for roundworms every 2-3 weeks up to 8 months of age. Adult cats need deworming every 1-3 months. Deworming makes your cat lose appetite, so make sure you deworm your cat regularly to have a healthy cat. 

Check if Your Cat Eats Outside

Cats sometimes go outside and eat spoiled and rotten foods, or sometimes swallowing leaves of toxic plants causes them intestinal problems. So make sure your cat does not eat foreign particles when they are out. Feed them well before letting them out. 

If you have an outdoor cat, they sometimes might not eat because they are complete as they have eaten outside. But the foods they eat outside might cause gastrointestinal issues. 

Expert Advice

Some cats might get emotionally disturbed and stressed, so do not change their schedule frequently and allow them to have playtime. Make sure their dish is in a quiet area where they do not feel disturbed. Please do not disturb them while eating. 

Check if their bowls are clean. Some cats might not eat in a dirty bowl, so clean their bowl regularly, especially after providing wet food. If they do not seem to eat much, give them wet food or meat baby food. 

Another wise thing to make your cat eat their solid food is to try drenching those with the juice from a tuna can. This works most of the time. Sometimes give them lickable treats for them to enjoy the taste. 

Finally, ensure that you are not feeding your cold cat food. Instead, heat the food a bit but not too much before serving. 

With the solutions mentioned above, you can make your cat eat. However, if your cat is still not eating, the problem might be severe or damage internal organs. So the best thing you can do is to consult a vet at this time.

When to Consult a Vet

Cats can survive without eating until they are in touch with water but if you notice that your cat is not drinking for more than 24 to 36 hours, then consult a vet immediately. Also, keep your eyes open for observing other symptoms. If other symptoms of fever or vomiting are noticed, then consult a vet ASAP. 

If your pet refuses to eat after several days of starvation, consult a vet because this cannot be a minor reason. Loss of appetite might be the symptom of several diseases, so only your vet will be able to determine the problem if you cannot treat it at home. Do not keep your pet at home for a long time starving. Take it to a vet to know what the problem is. 

Remember, cats cannot survive for more than 2-3 days without food and water, but if she continues to drink water without eating, it can last for two weeks. But do not keep your pet starving without determining the reason.


If you see your pet has skipped a meal after returning from outside, it is not something to be concerned about. Your pet might be full from outside. Sometimes cats refuse to eat once or twice to seek your attention. 

But if you notice that your pet is not eating for days, you need to know the reason and observe their symptoms. If other symptoms are witnessed, it will be better to consult a vet. As mentioned above, if your cat is not eating for minor reasons, you can treat it at home. But if these are not the reasons, then consult a vet to detect the problem.