How Long Can A Cat Survive Without Eating Food & Water

​Are you worried about your cat because she isn't eating anything?

How long can a cat go without eating?

Well, In this post I am going to answer exactly How Long Can A Cat Survive Without Eating Food & Water?

This guide will help you to take care of your cat properly and feed them in time as well.

Let's get started

What this article covers:

​Not too long ago, a fellow fur parent decided to change the cat food into another brand.

​It became the group’s topic of discussion especially when the cat owner revealed her cat had been ignoring the food she replaced the old one with.

​Who knows how long the cat has been ignoring it and how long it has been hungry.

It is not only in situations like this when a cat goes hungry. There are times when the cat just doesn’t follow your lead and refuse any food you give them. Leaving you all worried whether they’d survive another day without eating.

How long can a cat survive without eating or drinking? The normal range of days with no food  or water for cat may run from 24 hours to 48 hours..

Yet, not all fat cats that starve for a long time will develop HL. At an HL suspicion, the vets will measure the liver enzymes which would possibly be increased considering the disease, notwithstanding the cat’s body built.

Clinics will use radiographs and ultrasound imaging to rule out other diseases associated with secondary HL. However, the most accurate way to be certain about HL is to do a liver biopsy. Performed under anesthesia, the patient must stay overnight for monitoring to avoid further complications.

Worrying About A Cat Refusing Food

​Cats have a distinctive ability to hide illness or underlying disease. This leaves cat owners less time to work on the problem especially if it has progressed unnoticed. A change in appetite is usually the biggest indicator of a cat’s health condition.

​Generally, a feline can last a good week without food. However, for some of them, their survival rate may only be as long as three to four days.

​This is due to their livers that are not made to support their bodies for long, surviving only from the body’s stored energy.

​What Happens If A Cat Goes Hungry For A Long Time

It can be hard to tell when to visit the doctor to know what’s going on when the cat refuses to eat.

​However, you should always bear in mind that keeping them hungry for long periods can do more harm than what could already be happening within their bodies.

It is dangerous for a moggy to stay starving for a long time. This is because, aside from any disease they may be suffering from, driving them not to eat, being hungry leads to them getting a hepatic lipidosis – or more commonly known as fatty liver disease.

Fatty liver disease is the most common malady in cats. It happens when there is an extreme build-up of fat inside the cells and tissues of the liver. If disregarded, it may progress and lead to liver and biliary tract dysfunction and death.

But, how does being hungry relate to fatty liver?

When a kitten goes for too long without eating, the fat cells stored in the body are processed and broken down for energy.

​This is the typical and common response to starvation for most animals. The fat being metabolized is packaged with protein and sent through the bloodstream to the cells of the body.

However, if the animal is not eating, there won’t be enough protein to go along with the fat.

​Therefore, the fat builds up in the liver and upsets the function of the liver. The liver dis-function it results in will even make the cat less likely want to eat, then becomes even sicker.

Hepatic lipidosis has two types:

Idiopathic HL is when the cats stop eating for no apparent reason. This is usually triggered by stress led by the change of diet, moving to a new environment, a new member in the household, or even death of a companion. Cats are habitual so any changes in their environment cause extreme stress.

Secondary HL happens as a result of preexisting ailment or health condition like diabetes, gastrointestinal disease, pancreatitis, or cholangiohepatitis.

​Such diseases change the cat’s appetite leading anorexia, and further developing to HL.

But, Why Does My Cat Refuses To Eat?

There are a number of reasons associated with your cat’s refusal of food. It is not always because they are sick.

​Just like us, they also make choices of when to eat and what to eat. & sometimes they try to bury their food as well. Still, some reasons that make them disinterested with their meal could be:

  • ​Sickness
  • ​Food lacking flavor
  • ​Pain during eating
  • ​Side effects of medication or vaccination
  • ​Stress

How To Make My Cat Eat More?

Nature and cat’s own instincts know what is good for them, therefore at the very onset of the situation observe and try to understand why they are not eating.

Cats should not go more than 24 hours hungry. If it doesn’t eat in that span of time, take them to the vet for a full checkup.

Before doing so, here are some ways you can try to make mealtime appealing.

  • ​Slowly incorporate food – Especially when he is under medication or just underwent a vaccination. Allow them to go with their food slowly
  • ​Change food – Wet cat food has more flavor than the typical cat food. Either change the diet from dry to wet or add the wet to the dry to enhance the dry food flavor. However, never put a cat on diet or change their diet without the vet’s supervision
  • ​Calm the environment – Feed them in a quiet and private area where they can eat in peace. Let him eat at his own pace.


What do you feed a cat that refuses to eat?

If your cat refuses to eat, you can feed them kitten food like this to bring something new to his or her diet. Alternatively microwave the food for few seconds. They might like hot food.(1)

How long can a cat go without eating after surgery?

A cat can go around 24 hours to 48 hours without eating after a surgery. Usually after a surgery, your cat can experience minor aggression, crankiness & upset stomach from the anesthesia. During that time they might not feel well to eat.

Is it normal for a cat to not eat after surgery?

Yes. It is normal for a cat to not eat after a surgery. But if it exceeds 3 days, I would recommend to consult with a pet near you.

Why cat is not eating or drinking for 3 days?

Anorexia mainly known as loss of appetite can be a sign of your cat not eating or drinking for 3 or more days. If they have a recent surgery, It's possible to not eat for 3 days.

If you see no major reasons, you may want to consult a Vet immediately.

14 year old cat not eating or drinking - Why?

It could have many reasons for a 14 year old cat not eating or drinking including but not limited to loss of appetite, kidney issue, liver issue etc. Please consult with a vet near you.


Aside from sickness, stress, and environment-related causes why cats won’t eat, there could also be instanced where we have to leave them behind with no companion or supervision. Situations like these may cause them to run out of food and water.

Knowing how long they can survive without food helps so you can also work on the plans you make as your cat’s human.

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