How Many Days Can A Cat Go Without Food?

Is your cat refusing to eat any food? Have you tried switching her food to something tastier? If that hasn’t worked either, it’s time to take your cat to the vet. Whether your cat is healthy or not, knowing this might help.

As a cat owner, chances are you’re making mistakes that you don’t even know are mistaken. This happens to lots of new cat owners. And the only way around it is to know how long cats can go without food.

This shouldn’t stop you from taking your cat from the vet in case she stops eating. But it’s good to know these things. Because they help you understand your cat better. And what is and what is not good for her.

How Many Days Can A Cat Go Without Food?

The short answer to this question is that a cat can survive as long as 7 days without food. However, this also depends on the physical condition of the cat. Some cats can survive without falling sick, and getting lethargic. Or collapsing for 3 to 4 days maximum.

After the fourth day mark, the cat’s body will no longer be able to perform normal activities. Such as walking or even sitting up on the bed. The energy, from food, stored in a cat’s body is completely depleted. This can cause starvation, organ damage, and fainting.

The long answer to this question is as follows.

Why Is My Cat Not Eating?

There can be many reasons why your cat isn’t eating food anymore. It may be due to an illness, new surroundings, behavioral issues, or vaccinations. Recognizing the cause can help you help your cat quicker and more decisively.

Those of you who have never been through something like this before. I know it can be quite confusing to handle. Your best chances are to take your cat to the vet right away. Explain your cat’s medical history and diet you provide at home.

Only a professional vet can let you know the diagnosis and treatment plan for your cat. Common conditions like tummy ache, diabetes, and thyroid can also develop loss of appetite.

It’s best to determine the cause of this before jumping to conclusions. Or before taking matters into your own hands and perhaps making it worse for your cat.

What Can Happen When A Cat Goes Hungry for Long?

If your cat hasn’t eaten food for a long time. A long time being anywhere from 4 to 7 days. This is what you need to know about it.

Organ Failure

Your cat’s digestive system is sensitive and active all the time. The food your cat consumes is directly used as fuel for daily activities. The nutrients in cat food keep him healthy and energetic.

If your cat fails to provide the body with proper nutrition for even a day or two. The body starts attacking the internal organs for energy expenditure. The digestive system takes a hit first. Followed by the brain, the heart, and so on.

To avoid this deterioration, your cat needs IV fluids that only a vet can administer. Even if your cat refuses to eat solid food, the IV fluids give your cat all the nutrients to avoid organ failure.

Hepatic Lipidosis

Hepatic Lipidosis is when the liver gets affected because of starvation. It causes liver failure or grave illness of the organ. This is mainly due to starvation caused by an underlying disease in cats.

To check this, you have to get your cat’s blood tests done.

In other terms, fatty liver disease is also very common in cats. It’s when the body starts metabolizing the fat cells in the body for energy. Without food, the body fails to metabolize proteins along with the fats.

Your cat needs proteins to maintain energy and proper well-being. If a cat isn’t eating well, the lack of protein causes the fat cells to metabolize out of control. This affects the liver as the fat cells start to build up and interfere with the proper functioning.

When this happens, your cat is more likely to not eat because of liver dysfunction. Underlying health conditions like gastrointestinal disease, pancreatitis, diabetes, and thyroid can also Hepatic Lipidosis in cats.

More apparent causes such as stress, change of diet, guests, and psychological issues can too.

What to Do When My Cat Refuses to Eat?

You shouldn’t force your cat to eat food until and unless you know the problem. There are different things you can do at home if your cat refuses to eat. Cats with pancreatitis often starve themselves. So you have to force-feed them with a syringe or a spoon.

If you’re going through a similar problem, it’s best to take your cat to the vet.

If, on the other hand, your cat has undergone surgery and that is why she’s refusing to eat. That is completely normal. Cats are not supposed to eat for 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Your doctor will give you proper post-op instructions.

But in case your cat doesn’t go back to eating food normally after 2 days. You need to talk to your doctor about the possible causes for this. Your cat may be in pain or stressed.

In that case, you can slowly introduce delicious cat food to your cat. Make sure you keep a calm environment so that your cat isn’t afraid to go toward his food and water bowl.

Final Thoughts

Even though there’s no reason why your cat should stop eating food. Unless there’s an underlying cause such as digestive disorder, thyroid, etc. Your cat shouldn’t stay hungry for more than 2-3 days.

Once it goes beyond 3 days, it can cause organ damage, fainting, and even death. Make sure you take your cat to the doctor. Taking into consideration the cat’s blood reports and other scans, the vet will prescribe a proper treatment plan.

There are many things you can do at home to “bribe” your cat into eating food. Force-feeding with a syringe, exercise, and proper hydration. If these do not work, the doctor will inject IV fluids right into the cat’s bloodstream. This prevents organ failure, hepatic lipidosis, and fatty liver disease caused by starvation.

Emma Thompson

Hi, I'm Emma Thompson. Welcome to The Pet Town! I'm a Pet lovers like you and please feel free to get in touch with any questions. Enjoy your stay!

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