Is your cat not meowing for treats anymore? Notice a bowl full of food every morning? Cats go without food for a variety of reasons, from sickness to stress to pickiness. But how long can a cat go without eating?
If you’re worried about your cat’s eating habits, it’s important to first find out the reason they aren’t eating. From there, you can try a few things to get your cat to start eating.
Is It Important for a Cat to Eat?
Yes! Cats may be picky eaters but they need nutrients to live, just like us. Cats require protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and fat to thrive. They also need taurine, an amino acid found in the average cat food.
Without proper nutrients, your cat’s body will become weak and they will start to act lethargic, not having enough energy to play. Without protein, cats will also rapidly develop hepatic lipidosis, a liver condition that can become fatal if it’s left untreated. Your cat’s other organs will also start to shut down without food.
Why Do Some Felines Avoid Eating?
If you notice your cat doesn’t come running for food and their bowl is always full, this could mean serious problems. But don’t panic right away. The first thing to do is determine why your cat has stopped eating. Cats stop eating for a variety of reasons:
- Illness: Sometimes sick cats with serious conditions will no longer have an appetite. This could be anything from a temporary cold to something more serious.
- Upset stomach: If your cat has an upset stomach, leading to diarrhea and vomiting, they will likely lose their appetite.
- Dental problems: It’s unfortunately common for cats to get gum disease and rotting teeth without proper care. If your cat’s mouth is in pain it could be difficult for them to eat, especially if it’s dry food.
- Stress: Eating less is a common symptom of stress in cats. You’ll also notice your cat acting withdrawn, becoming aggressive, and seeming fearful. Cats can become stressed from being in new places, being around new people, or hearing a sudden loud noise and other sudden overwhelming occurrences.
- New routine: One of the most upsetting things for a cat is having their routine disrupted. Cats love sticking to a schedule so eating at a different time or at a different location could be enough to make a cat lose its appetite. Even changing what happens before their mealtime could be a cause.
- Change of food: Cats are picky. They don’t like when their food is changed. Their body may also react negatively to the new food, causing your cat to avoid it.
How Long Can a Cat Go Without Eating?
Cats can survive for about two weeks without eating (and only three days without drinking). But without proper nutrition, your cat’s body will become weak and their organs may fail. If your cat hasn’t eaten in more than a day, contact your veterinarian immediately. Something serious may be going on.
How Can I Get My Cat to Eat?
While awaiting your cat’s upcoming vet visit, there are some things you can try at home to encourage your kitty to eat food. Here’s what to do if your cat refuses to eat.
Make Sure Your Cat is Calm
Cats will often stop eating food if they are in distress. Is there a new pet in the house? Did you move? Was there a loud guest? Fireworks? If your cat seems scared or stressed, try to give them a calm environment and create some normalcy.
Place your cat away from other pets in a room without a lot of noise and stimulation. Put their food and water in there as well as a cat bed and other comforting things your cat likes. Then give your cat some space.
Give Your Cat CBD Treats
If you suspect that your cat is stressed, try giving them CBD treats or oil. CBD is a natural compound found in the hemp plant that supports your cat’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), creating an abundance of positive effects throughout your cat’s body and mind.
Healthy Petables’ CBD treats contain very little THC, meaning they are not psychoactive. Instead, the CBD interacts with the receptors in your cat’s body, indirectly supporting the ECS and helping them feel calm and comforted. Your cat will be relieved from stress, fear, and other negative feelings, which can encourage them to eat. CBD can also reduce stomach upset, which can bring back your cat’s regular appetite.
All of Healthy Petables’ CBD products are all-natural, vegan, and organic. Our CBD is safely and cleanly cultivated from US-grown hemp plants, making them safe and potent. Spray some CBD catnip on your cat’s favorite toy or put CBD oil drops directly into their mouth if they are unwilling to eat treats.
Create a New Schedule
If your cat’s schedule was disrupted (like you now leave for work at a different time), try to stick to a similar pattern each day. For example, feed your cat at the same time every day. Before feeding time, pet your cat or play with them. After they eat, have a cuddle session with your furry friend.
Play With Your Cat
Speaking of playtime, pet owners can encourage cats to eat by increasing their exercise. Throw a ball down the hallway for a bit or dangle a ribbon in front of them, watching them do some acrobatics. This will increase your cat’s appetite! Try playing for about 30 minutes a day.
Switch Cat Food
If your cat refuses to eat, it could be that they are suddenly sick of the food. Or it may be due to you changing the brand suddenly. Try blending their old food with the new brand, encouraging them to eat in a safe, gradual manner.
Your cat may also be allergic to their current food. Look for high-quality brands that don’t have a lot of preservatives, carbs, or meal. Instead, the cat food should have protein, taurine, and other essential nutrients.
You can also try switching to canned food. Wet cat food is often exciting for cats because of its potent smell and abundance of protein. It’s also often a healthier option for your cat since it has more water and fewer ingredients. When you switch to wet food, do it gradually by giving them half dry food and half wet food.
Gently Feed Them By Hand
If your cat doesn’t appear anxious, you can try comforting your cat and feeding them by hand. This can be helpful if you are dealing with a sick cat who isn’t willing to move on their own. Of course, if you’re dealing with a sick cat, you should bring them to a veterinarian as soon as possible, but feeding them meanwhile can help them stay strong and fend off organ damage. Make your cat eat some treats high in protein.
Should I Go to the Vet?
If your cat is still not eating food after a day, you’ll need to contact a veterinarian immediately. A cat that’s not eating may be dealing with something serious, like a previously undetected disease or painful injury. A potentially sick cat should be brought to the vet right away.
Further damage can occur to your cat’s body if they don’t eat for days. Cat owners should monitor their cat’s daily intake and contact a veterinarian if they notice anything different in their cat’s eating pattern.
Final Thoughts – How Long Can A Cat Go Without Eating
While leaving some pieces of dry food behind is quite normal for a cat, not touching their food at all is concerning. Cats need the nutrients in their food to stay healthy. A lack of food can quickly become deadly for your cat.
If you notice that your cat is refusing to eat, contact a veterinarian immediately. Meanwhile, you can encourage your cat to eat with CBD, hand feeding, and providing a safe environment. With proper treatment, your cat will be eating again in no time!