If you’re a cat owner, the thought of your pet going without food for even a day is probably terrifying. It’s not hard to imagine how much more frightening it would be if they were to go days or weeks without sustenance. But what are the real dangers?
So just how long can cats go without food? In most cases, three days if they’re receiving fluids such as milk or water. They will often eat small meals throughout the day if given the chance. However, it is important that you do not leave your pet with no food or water for too long because they may become dehydrated or malnourished.
Reasons why your cat is not eating
Cats are finicky animals. They have their own agenda and it can be hard to predict what they’re going to do next!
If your cat has been refusing food for an extended period of time, there could be a number of reasons why this is the case. Keep reading if you want to find out more about what might be causing your cat’s refusal to eat and when you should reach out for help.
Your cat might be in pain
When a cat is in pain, they lost interest in basic necessities such as food, water, and grooming. It is a big sign that something is wrong. Your cat may have been injured in an accident or had sudden onset of an illness. You should take your cat to the vet as soon as possible if you notice other signs that indicate they’re in pain, other than rejecting food.
Your cat may have dental problems
Dental health is very important for a cat, just like humans dental problems can lead to infections and pain. Make sure you are taking your cat for regular dental checkups. They may not be enjoying their food because they are having tooth pain.
If your cat has bad teeth or molar issues they can no longer properly chew their food. They may have to skip the dry food and switch to a wet food diet or go see the vet for dental work to be done. It’s important that the vet gives them time to adjust to their new diet before making any major changes.
Your cat is stressed from another cat or someone in the house
Cats are very sensitive to stress and so they may be having issues in their social life with other cats or in a fight with a member of your family. Take a good look at the cat’s behavior to see if you can figure out what could be bothering them.
Your cat has grown up and no longer gets excited about food
It is normal for your cat to stop eating certain food once they have grown up. Some cats tend to become finicky as they grow older just because of the growth of the cat’s body and tastes. However, if you have a kitten and they suddenly refuse to eat or are not acting right, it is important that you take them to the vet right away.
Your cat may have an illness such as pancreatitis, or diabetes
If you have a cat that has been acting very lethargic and not eating, they may have an illness like diabetes or pancreatitis. It is important to visit a vet if they stop eating and show other signs of illness.
Your cat might have eaten something bad
If your cat has eaten something they are not supposed to eat, it can lead to stomach upset which in turn leads to not wanting to eat. Make sure you keep your pets safe by keeping harmful chemicals and plants out of their reach.
They are adjusting to the new food
You may be giving your cat a new diet, if this is the case they are going to be more careful and less willing to accept a new food. It can take a while for them to get used to the new food. You will see a difference in their eating habits after 1-2 weeks. Make sure you do not change their diet too quickly or too often because it may cause digestive upset. Also, make sure they don’t go on a long period without eating anything.
Your cat’s stomach might not feel good due to gas or other digestive issues like hairballs or constipation
If your cat’s stomach is not feeling well, they are going to be less willing to eat. It can take up to 30 days for a hairball to pass through a cat’s system. If your cat is having issues with hairballs or constipation, make sure you are feeding high-quality food that promotes better health and a healthy digestive tract.
They are stressed out from something in their environment
Maybe there’s construction going on nearby? Or too much noise? Or new people moving into the house? Try giving them some space and see how they do after a day or two of being left alone with just you home again!
Possible health threats if cats stop eating
If your cat has not been eating well, it is important to know that this will affect his health. If your cat is not eating, they should go to the vet as soon as possible. If they go more than 24 hours without eating anything, it could be dangerous and require an immediate vet visit.
These are just some of the health conditions that they could be exposed to.
Cats can dehydrate quickly if they don’t drink water. This dehydration can occur from not eating for a long period of time. There are several health benefits of hydration for cats, and it is important to help them stay hydrated.
Not eating for a long period of time can cause a cat to become depressed. This is due to the lack of energy and proper nutrients in their bodies.
3. Weight loss
Cats that do not eat for more than 72 hours will lose weight quickly. This is dangerous for cats because they need to have a steady diet and should not lose more than 10 percent of their body weight per week.
A cat that does not eat for a long period of time can become severely malnourished. They need to eat two or three times a day to make sure they have proper nutrition in their bodies.
5. Skin and coat dryness
If your cat does not eat, then their skin can become extremely dry. This is very dangerous because it can cause your cat to lose hair, which could lead to fur loss, and it is hard for cats to keep warm because they have no hair covering their body.
6. Organs damage
Cats that don’t eat for longer than three or four days run the risk of organ damage. This can cause several issues and is therefore very dangerous to them. If your cat does not eat for more than three days, their livers and kidneys may fail. It is extremely important to make sure your cat eats a good diet so that their body stays in balance, otherwise, they could have other damaging effects on their health and well-being.
7. Wounds and infections
If a cat’s body does not get enough nutrients, they will have a hard time healing wounds and infections properly. This could lead to a serious infection or even death of your cat if proper care is not given soon enough.
A cat that does not eat for a few days could develop diabetes. This is due to the lack of nutrients in their bodies. Diabetes occurs when their pancreas is not producing insulin. You can prevent this dangerous health issue by making sure you feed your cat regularly and keeping them hydrated with water.
How to get your cat to start eating
If your cats are not eating and exhibit other signs of illness, pain, or distress, bring them to a vet immediately. If it is due to reasons such as a change of food or boredom, here are some ways to get your cat to start eating.
Offer something tasty and familiar
If your cat is hungry, and you cannot get them to eat the new flavor of food, they may just be craving something familiar. Try placing a drop of tuna or chicken broth or cheese in the food and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving to your cat.
Transition slowly when changing their food
If you want to try changing the flavor of their food, make sure that you do it slowly. You should gradually decrease the food that they were getting and increase the amount that you are giving them as time goes by. This will avoid any anxiety on their part, which could cause them to refuse to eat.
Make sure they have access to clean water
Your cat should have access to clean fresh water 24/7, so that he or she can drink anytime they feel like it. You should keep the dishes refilled with drinking water, as well as wash out their bowls once a day or more if needed.
As mentioned several times over the article, a cat who stops eating is a serious problem if it lasts more than 24 hours. A vet should be consulted immediately.