Support us! When you buy through links on this post, we may earn a small affiliate commission, that no extra cost to you. Learn More

How Long Do Cats Survive Without Food and Water?

Our beloved cats give us much joy when we play with them. We feed them and try to do the best. But what if they don’t follow our rules? We know how much we need to feed them. What will happen if they refuse to eat or drink? Now the question arises, how long do cats survive without food and water?

It is not a pleasant topic to discuss but let’s see what happens. To have this answer we need to discuss a couple of issues. In general, cats can survive for a week maximum. But in many cases, they just live for only three or four days.

How long can cats survive without water and food?

A cat can survive for three days without drinking water without big health complications. The more it is without water, the more it will be dehydrated. This can lead to serious health issues and even death. In some rare cases, cats survived for a week without water. Their liver cannot handle that much as it stores energy and controls the metabolism of the whole body system.

This article will also show why they don’t want to eat and how to encourage them to eat and drink. Overall cats survive without food and water for maximum 7 days or a week.

How much water does a cat drink?

The amount of water that a cat needs depends on a number of conditions. Observe it to check about the intake of water and watch for some signs. Small size cat needs little water and vice versa.

The food is also a factor. If the cat only eats dry food, then it will need more water. Wet or canned wet food will fill up its 80% water requirement. 2-4 ounces of water is needed besides food for a cat to survive daily. If it is hydrated properly, then its skin will be elastic and the coat will shine. With sufficient water, the cat will stay active and urinate regularly. 

How much food does a cat need to eat?

Cat drinking water

Many ready made foods are available. Some of them are dense, some are dilute. Some are rich in value. Many cat owners give their cats free access to dry food all the time. The problem is, it is difficult to measure the amount in that case.

Dry food needs to drink water more. Dry food contains 300 cal/cup and canned food has 250 cal in each can. As an example, an 8 pound cat needs about a cup of dry food everyday. Divide the food for per serving in a day. Make sure what type of food it likes-dry or wet.

You can get help from a veterinarian for this. He will adjust its food amount according to its weight and age. Notice the cat while eating. This will help to determine the amount.

Why is the cat not eating?

Notice carefully if the cat feels some kinds of pain while eating or not. Is it giving up after a few bite or not interested in eating? Is it injured in the mouth? Do teeth itch or in pain? Without illness there might be some other factors involved in this situation.

Check whether it has fever, nausea or fatigue or not. Maybe it is not hungry in the mood of not having food or drink. If the cat has no food or drink for more than two days then it is a matter of alertness. Don’t be late. Take it to a doctor. It may survive for a couple of days but get seriously ill from starving for long. Like humans, cats also make decisions for eating or not. Foods need to be tasty. Cats can be bored by having the same food again and again.

Food flavor can be another issue. Side effects of medication or vaccination could be the cause of not having food. A new environment or people can give stress to a cat. The stressed cat doesn’t feel like eating or drinking. You can measure the starving period if it misses a regular eating habit.

How to motivate a cat to eat and drink more?

Motivate cat to eat more

During the recovery period from illness, motivate it to eat slowly and help to eat and drink. Feed it and praise while eating. Buy wet cat food and feed it slowly. This will reduce pressure on teeth and will digest quickly. Add flavor to its regular food by adding pet gravy. Add some extra chicken or tuna in its food.

Crowded environment could interfere with cats eating. Don’t force it to eat. Avoid using syringes while feeding. If the cat is mildly dehydrated, slowly feed her water every 10 minutes for an hour. Add warm water to its food. You can use a dropper for liquid food. Give it liquid food slowly throughout the whole day. Continue this until it seems strong.

In case of vomit, give her to lick ice chips for one day. For severe case, consult with a doctor.

What could happen after long term starving?

Animals survive by the nutrients they take from food and water. When a cat stops eating, its metabolism gets slow. Digestive system shuts down. Gradually brain and heart. Liver fails for lack of food or illness. Kidneys fail for dehydration. Immediate hospitalization is the only thing to do at that moment.

What could happen for not having water for a long time?

Every living being needs water to survive. Drinking little water can have a negative impact on one’s health. When the pet is dehydrated, it could have constipation, vomit and a quick heart rate. It could react in an inappropriate way. It pants frequently. Without water, the cat will have hepatic failure and muscle will be catabolized which will result in slow and painful death.

Owners sometimes forget them and leave them in the house for several days. What will happen then? It is not intentional. But things happen. There comes some time when the cat won’t eat at all and we need to know how long it is going to survive without eating food or drinking water.

In that case you can get prepared to take it to the hospital. It will be a wise decision to keep sufficient food and water when leaving the cat home alone. Cat might get scared in home if it fails to see the owner. Try to take it with you if possible or keep it at a neighbor’s house.

Leave a Comment