Hey there, cat lover! You must be concerned about your feline friend’s eating habits or lack thereof, and you’re not alone. Worrying when your cat is not eating is natural, as it can indicate an underlying issue.

This article will explore how long a cat can go without eating, factors that can affect this, and what you can do to encourage your cat to eat.

Factors Influencing Cat Fasting

Several factors can influence the length of time a cat can go without eating. Let’s dive into some of these factors.

cat eat food


Young kittens have a higher metabolic rate, so they need more food to maintain their energy levels. As a result, kittens should eat for a maximum of a few hours.

Adult cats, on the other hand, can typically go a bit longer without food. However, it’s still crucial to address any prolonged fasting.

Health Conditions

Specific health issues, like dental problems or gastrointestinal disorders, can make it difficult for your cat to eat.

Suppose your cat has a medical condition affecting their appetite. In that case, it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian to address the issue.

Physical Activity

A cat’s activity level can also affect how long it can go without eating. Active cats will burn more calories and require more food, while less active cats may be able to go longer without eating. However, even less active cats need proper nutrition to maintain their health.


Water is crucial for your cat’s overall health, and dehydration can make them less interested in eating. Ensure your cat always has access to fresh water to help maintain their appetite.

Signs of a Cat Not Eating

Here are some signs that your cat may not be eating and what to look for:

cat eat food when evening

Behavioural Changes

Suppose your cat is usually enthusiastic about mealtime but suddenly seems disinterested. In that case, this could be a sign that they’re not eating. Look for changes in their routine, such as sleeping more or hiding.

Physical Symptoms

Weight loss, lethargy, and a dull coat can all indicate your cat is not eating enough. If you notice these symptoms in your cat, taking action is essential.

Risks of Prolonged Fasting

Going without food for an extended period can harm your cat’s health. Here are some risks associated with prolonged fasting:

black cat eat food

Hepatic Lipidosis

Also known as “fatty liver disease,” hepatic lipidosis is a severe condition that can develop when a cat goes without food for too long. When a cat’s body is deprived of essential nutrients, it starts breaking down stored fat for energy.

This fat can accumulate in the liver, causing liver dysfunction and potentially leading to liver failure if not treated promptly.


A lack of food can also lead to dehydration, as cats often get a significant portion of their water intake from their food, especially if they eat wet food. Dehydration can result in various health issues, including kidney problems and electrolyte imbalances.

Muscle Wasting

Prolonged fasting can cause muscle wasting in cats as their bodies break down muscle tissue for energy. This can lead to weakness, reduced mobility, and decreased overall health.

Encouraging Your Cat to Eat

If your cat isn’t eating, there are a few things you can try to encourage them to eat:

cat hungry need food

Appetite Stimulants

Your vet may prescribe appetite stimulants to help kick-start your cat’s appetite. These medications can help increase your cat’s interest in food and get them to eat again.

Trying Different Foods

Sometimes, cats may refuse to eat because they’re bored with their food or have developed a preference for a particular flavour. Try offering your cat a variety of wet and dry foods to see if they find something more appealing.

Creating a Comfortable Environment

Cats can be sensitive to their surroundings, and a stressful environment may cause them to lose their appetite. Ensure your cat’s feeding area is quiet, clean, and free from distractions to encourage them to eat.

When to See a Vet

Suppose your cat hasn’t eaten for more than 24 hours or shows signs of illness. In that case, it’s essential to consult your veterinarian. They can help determine the underlying cause of your cat’s lack of appetite and recommend the appropriate treatment.

cat dont want eat go vet


While adult cats can sometimes go without eating for a short period, it’s crucial to address prolonged fasting as soon as possible to prevent severe health issues.

By monitoring your cat’s eating habits, trying different strategies to encourage them to eat, and consulting with your veterinarian when necessary, you can help ensure your feline friend stays happy and healthy.


1. How long can a healthy adult cat go without eating?

A healthy adult cat should eat for at most 24 hours. If your cat has yet to eat for this long, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian.

2. How can I tell if my cat is not eating enough?

Signs that your cat is not eating enough can include weight loss, lethargy, a dull coat, and behavioural changes such as disinterest in food or hiding.

3. Can a cat survive on just water without food?

While water is essential for a cat’s survival, it cannot survive on water alone. Cats require proper nutrition from food to maintain their health and energy levels.

4. What can cause a cat to stop eating?

A cat may stop eating for many reasons, including stress, illness, dental problems, and environmental or food changes. It’s essential to consult a veterinarian to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.

5. Can I give my cat human food to encourage them to eat?

While some human foods are safe for cats, it’s generally best to stick with food specifically designed for cats. If you need more clarification, consult your veterinarian for guidance on safe foods for your cat.


Fauzan Suryo Wibowo, experienced online publisher and founder of Meongnium.com, combines his love for cats with deep knowledge to provide reliable, engaging content. With a history in pet-focused platforms, he offers a trusted resource for cat enthusiasts, promoting appreciation for felines worldwide.

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