In this article we will see together how long a cat can go without food. Physically, and in the most extreme cases, these animals are able to go several weeks without eating, but in the sweetness of your home, if you see that your cat refuses to eat, you should talk directly to your veterinarian, because it is an indicator of a health problem. In the last paragraph of our article, we will give you some steps to follow in order to help a cat that refuses to eat in order to avoid possible complications.
If your cat has been refusing to eat for a week, continue reading our article to find out the consequences of this fasting and how to help him.
How long can a cat go without food and drinking?
Cats, like almost all other animal species, including humans, are physically capable of going without food for about three weeks. But this average is applicable to healthy, adult cats, because the length of time a cat can go without eating will depend on the age of the specimen as well as its health status. For example, if you’re wondering how long a kitten can go without eating, you should know that it will never last several weeks. These little ones die within hours if their milk intake is interrupted. Therefore, if you come across a litter of abandoned kittens, you should take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible in order to initiate the artificial feeding process as soon as possible.
Although survival without food is possible, it is completely compromised when there is no water. A cat cannot go more than three days without drinking. Of course, this data should be viewed in the extreme context of a cat being abandoned or trapped in an area. If your cat refuses to eat completely or has not been drinking for 24 hours, contacting your veterinarian is essential. This is a sure sign of physical or psychological illness.
My cat refuses to eat for a week, what should I do?
We have just said that a cat can go without eating for several weeks, but although it can survive, you should never let it go a day without feeding. A kitten, a cat suffering from any kind of disease, or an older cat is especially vulnerable, so if you see that your cat is refusing to eat, you should call your veterinarian. You should also go to the specialist in cases where a healthy cat refuses to eat and, in addition, presents symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, changes in urination frequency, pain, etc…
Anorexia is a symptom of many diseases, so it is important that your veterinarian diagnoses it after examining your cat and performing the appropriate tests. But a cat’s refusal to eat does not always have a physical cause. Cats are very sensitive to change, and if you’ve just adopted your cat, or if you’ve moved or adopted a new pet, your cat may be stressed to the point of refusing to eat. The first step in diagnosing a psychological cause is to rule out physical causes.
How long can a sick cat go without food?
It is normal for a sick cat to refuse to eat, especially if it has an illness that affects its digestive system and it has diarrhea or vomits. In these cases, you should not feed your cat because it will vomit, making the condition worse. When the problem is in the pet’s mouth and it is physically prevented from eating, it is normal for your cat to refuse to eat. This is a situation in which your cat will need to be hospitalized, so your veterinarian will put it on fluid therapy and, as soon as possible, restore its nutrition using a tube.
Cats need a lot of protein, which can cause them to show symptoms of malnutrition very quickly, worsening the prognosis. With intensive veterinary care, the amount of time a sick cat can go without eating can be as little as three days, or less if the cat has lost a lot of weight or muscle mass. If the anorexia is prolonged, the cat’s prognosis will be poor and it may be complicated by lipidosis of the liver, especially if it was obese. In this disorder, fat accumulates in the liver, preventing it from functioning properly.
How to feed a cat that refuses to eat?
Just because we’ve said that a cat can go several weeks without eating doesn’t mean you can let him fast for days on end. If she’s refusing to eat because she’s stressed, you’ll need to scrutinize her routine to implement the changes necessary to improve her living conditions. A veterinarian who is an expert in feline behavior can help you discover what’s stressing your cat. It’s also possible that a cat may refuse to eat if you’ve changed its food too abruptly. If this is the case for your cat, you should know that a change of food should be done gradually.
On the other hand, it’s normal for your cat to be listless after being hospitalized or recovering. To encourage him to eat, follow these recommendations:
- Choose tasty foods for your cat. You should know that there are cans specially formulated for cats in convalescence. You can also choose a good homemade dish!
- You can start by making a small purée and putting a small drop on his nose or paw to encourage him to clean himself. If your puree is liquid, don’t hesitate to put it in a syringe, which will allow you to feed him drop by drop in the corner of his mouth.
- It’s important that your cat is well hydrated so that he’ll want to eat. You can take advantage of the puree to add water or a small broth cube to hydrate your cat.
- As your cat begins to eat, you can start leaving larger and larger pieces of food.
- If you do choose to make your cat some good food, remember that salt, sugar and excessive fat should be avoided.
- Giving him tempered food reinforces his scent, which may encourage him to eat.
- You should always give your cat several small meals a day, in quantities that will follow the increase in his appetite. You should never force your cat to eat, as this could make him disgusted with the food, or you could end up giving him breathing pneumonia if the food gets into his lungs.
- Gradually you will be able to mix his food with what he normally eats, until he can eat what he normally eats again.
- If you can’t get your cat to eat, you must go to the vet, in the most serious cases, we will consider feeding your cat with a tube.