Cats have a reputation of being an extremely low maintenance pet. While it’s true that cats are much more self sufficient than their canine counterparts, they still require care, attention, and work from their human friends. You should never leave cats for any extended period of time without access to food, water, and a clean litter box.
If, for some reason, your cat is refusing to eat or you are unable to get someone in to refresh their food, it can be important to know how long cats can go without food.
Cats can live 1-2 weeks without regular food as long as they have access to protein and water.
A lack of regular food may not prove fatal for a week or two, but if your cat isn’t eating for over 24 hours, you should bring them to the vet as they can begin to see health complications in as little as two days, especially if they have not had any protein.
Cats can live without water for 3-4 days before they experience organ failure. Again, if your cat has not eaten or has not had water in over 24 hours, bring them immediately to the vet.
Make sure your cat has enough food, water, and company while you’re away
If you’re going away on vacation, it’s important that you think ahead and make plans for your pet’s safety and well-being.
1. Use an automatic feeder
If your cat eats dry food, an automatic feeder might be a good solution to make sure that your cat continues to be fed at the correct time of day. These are robotic food bowls that dispense a certain amount of food at a programmed time. They come in different sizes and models, but make sure you use one that will hold enough food for the entire time that you are gone so your cat doesn’t run out.
If you’re nervous about relying on a machine, some feeders work with gravity to keep a bowl constantly filled which can be great for grazing cats who won’t overeat.
This automated pet feeder is great for grazers and cats who are always hungry! It dispenses food at programmed times of day so you can be sure your cat is getting all of the nutrition they need!
Its also extremely important that cats have access to fresh water at all times. Still water can get stale, warm, and filled with bacteria if it is left out so large bowls of water are not always a great solution while you’re on vacation because your cat might not drink from it.
2. Use a water fountain
A water fountain can be a game-changer! They allow a continuous flow of water so that your cat can get that “straight from the kitchen sink” experience. They also hold a large quantity of water, but must be refilled as the water levels get low. Do not rely on water fountains for long trips as your cat will end up drinking it all and will not have enough water which can be fatal.
This water fountain filters water to keep it fresher for longer for your kitty’s health and happiness while you’re away. It holds 2.5 L of water so your cat won’t run out.
3. Hire pet care professionals
The best way to ensure the safety and happiness of your cat while you’re away is to hire professionals who can come to your home, clean your cat’s litter box, feed them, and give them water. They can also play with them, give them scratches, and cuddle with them. Cats need love and affection just like any living being and there are wonderful people just waiting to know and love your cat!
If you’re in Philadelphia, we even have a recommendation for you! Spotwalk is a great company with knowledgeable, caring walkers who love to visit with their cat friends in the city. A small company, Spotwalk cares about each and every one of their clients and will do everything they can to make sure your cat feels like they are on vacation too!
Cats can get very sick without food
Cats bodies are very efficient which means that they use all of the energy that they take in. They aren’t built to be able to live off of stores of energy in their bodies the way that humans and even dogs are. Because of this, organ failure can happen very quickly when cats stop eating, especially if they aren’t getting any protein. This can cause severe liver issues and, eventually death.
Cats are not meant to go any length of time without food. If your cat hasn’t eaten in 24 hours, take them to a veterinarian.
Cats can get very sick without water
Without water, your cat will quickly deteriorate. Cats can only last 3-4 days without water before it becomes fatal. Dehydration and organ failure both happen soon after cats stop drinking water.
If your cat hasn’t had any water in the past 24 hours, take them to a veterinarian immediately.
What to do if your cat isn’t eating or drinking?
Sometimes, even if you are home with your cat, they might refuse to eat. So what’s going on? Remember, we are not medical professionals. Always call your vet if you are concerned with your cat’s behavior or health.
1. Your cat might not like their food
Cats are notoriously picky and they might not like the taste, texture, or temperature of their food. Did you recently change brands? Your cat might be turning their nose up because they don’t like the new option. Try a different brand or kind of food and see if they start eating again.
If your cat eats wet food, they might not have been hungry when you first put it down and it might have gotten cold by the time they started to eat. Try reheating the food to see if that makes it more appealing.
2. Your cat might be stressed out
When your cat is dealing with anxiety due to excessive noise, new people, or a change in scenery, they might avoid eating. Give your cat time to calm down and see if they are still avoiding their food. Some times, you just need to wait them out. If your cat hasn’t eaten in 24 hours, call your veterinarian.
3. Your cat might be experiencing other health issues
A lack of interest in food or water could be a sign of something more serious. Dental/tooth pain, gastrointestinal issues, pancreatitis, kidney disease, constipation, or medication can all be causes of a lack of appetite. If your cat is refusing to eat, calling or visiting your vet is the best way to be sure that it is not a sign of something more serious.