How Long Can Cats Go Without Eating (And Why)?

Exact Answer: One To Two Weeks

People have a common question about their cats on how long they can go without eating. The answer to this question depends on several factors, including the age and health of the cat and the type and amount of food it’s typically fed. 

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that they require animal-based proteins to survive. Many people believe that cats can go without food for weeks or even months, but this is not true. 

In general, though, cats can go without food for one to two weeks before they start to experience any negative health effects.

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How Long Can Cats Go Without Eating?

TypeDuration
Cat without food1 to 2 weeks
Cat’s lifespan12 – 18 years

Cats can only go without food for one to two weeks before their health suffers. They do this by breaking down lean muscle tissue to use as fuel. This “pruning” process helps prepare them for the long, lean times when prey is scarce, and starvation is imminent. 

Cats will also drink water from their food or by licking wet surfaces to avoid dehydration that usually accompanies starvation. 

The pet may not put on the pounds while fasting but should still be monitored for other tell-tale signs of starvation like weakness, vomiting, constipation, unusual discharge from nose or eyes, labored breathing, and sunken eyes with loss of the eye’s protective fat pad below the lower lid margin. Make sure to see the veterinarian if one is concerned about the cat’s lack of eating food.

A healthy cat should not go without food for more than a day. Cats can eat up to 10 plus small meals in a single day. Cats are obligate carnivores, requiring certain nutrients that can only be found in animal-based proteins. 

A cat’s body is designed to digest and use these nutrients efficiently, so it can go quite a while without eating.

But it’s not healthy for a cat to go too long without eating. They may start to lose muscle mass, and their body will begin drawing on its energy stores. Sometimes, if a cat doesn’t eat for more than three or four days, it may die.

Why Would Cats Go Without Eating For So Long?

There are a few reasons cats might go without eating for a long time. Cats have a low thirst drive and often go without drinking water for long periods, leading to them becoming dehydrated. 

Another reason could be that the cat is not feeling well and doesn’t feel like eating. Finally, some cats may be picky eaters and only want to eat when they feel like it.

Cats have several adaptations that allow them to survive for long periods without food. One example would be that the cats have a high resting energy expenditure rate, so they can burn more calories while at rest and conserve their energy stores.

They also have a very efficient gut that allows them to extract nutrients from very small amounts of food. Finally, cats can mobilize their body fats and use them for energy, which is why they can go for long periods without eating and still maintain their health.

One should remember that cats can be a great pet for people who are allergic to dogs or don’t want one. 

Cats are independent animals that need very little maintenance. That’s why it’s easy to be satisfied with just petting the cat once in a while rather than having an animal that needs walking and feeding regularly. 

Many people say they have more interaction with their cat because the relationship is closer with less physical work involved. Plus, many generations of American families have had cats as pets, so there’s something naturally huggable about them.

Conclusion

Cats can go without eating for a relatively long time, but it’s not healthy for them to do so. Cats that don’t eat for more than 48 hours can develop hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver disease.

The average cat can go without food for around five days before developing serious health problems. It’s not healthy for them to do so, and it’s important to make sure they have access to water and food at all times.

Spend extra time teaching one’s family how to play nicely with the new furry family member and make sure they’re supervised at all times – cats need plenty of rest and different types of stimulation like humans do. 

References

  1. https://academic.oup.com/aje/article-abstract/95/5/475/215953 
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/101053959901100207 
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