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How Long Can Cats Live Without Food and Water?

How long can cats live without food and water? If you’re asking this question, then we certainly hope curiosity got the best of you. We wouldn’t want any cats to be left in danger of dying due to a lack of water and adequate nutrition. That would be an absolute travesty.

There are other reasons why a cat owner may be thinking about this question. Maybe your furry friend is not feeling well and has stopped eating food. Or maybe your cat has stopped drinking the water you pour in the bowl every morning. These changes should give a cat owner some concern.


cat nibbling

How Long Can a Cat Go Without Water?

There’s a big difference between not eating and not drinking for cats. Just like humans, a cat cannot last very long without water. Cats absolutely need water to survive. Your cat’s cells cannot function regularly without adequate water intake. It just won’t work.

As such, your furry friend would probably only last 2-4 days without water. Each cat is different, and some other factors come into play, but on average a cat will need to drink some water before three full days have passed to survive.

How Long Can a Cat Go Without Food?

Food is also essential to keeping cats healthy and functioning. Your furry friend will struggle to live long without any food. While it’s not as critical to everyday cell functions in cats as water, your cat won’t make it too long without food.

The average cat would pass away within 10-15 days without food if they have some water to drink. Once ten days passes, kidney problems due to slow starvation would probably creep up and kill the animal.

cat eating food

The Tricky Part

Now, here is where things get a little tricky or confusing. Cat’s bodies are designed to get a lot of their water from food. In the wild, the meat cats hunt contains a lot of water and helps hydrate them.

As such, many modern day cat foods offer a lot of water and hydration. This means that a cat eating a high-quality cat food could last a little bit longer than a cat that doesn’t have anything to eat or drink.

For example, if your cat didn’t have any water, but did have a full week of cat food – there’s a chance he or she would survive. It’s not likely, but there’s a chance your furball could survive with just food and not water.

Age and Health Play a Role

To make matters more complicated, the age and health of a cat plays a significant role in how long the animal could live without food and water. This isn’t rocket science. Just like a healthy 20-year old male would probably last longer than an injured 85-year old guy without adequate nutrition.

Young, healthy cats have a better shot of living without water and food for a few days than an older cat. A lack of water will enhance any health issues, like cancer or diabetes, in older cats. This will cause them to pass away much quicker than a healthy, youthful feline. 

laying down

How to Handle a Cat Who Refuses to Eat or Drink?

If you cannot get your cat to eat or drink, then you have a serious issue on your hands. Healthy cats love to eat and drink. Only unhealthy cats avoid giving their body adequate nutrients.

When your cat refuses food and water, try getting them a liquid-based treat of some kind. These treats are filled with nutritious ingredients and have a lot of water in them. Plus, they typically feature a smell that cats cannot resist.

If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to take things one step further. That means grabbing a can of tuna and adding some water. The water will smell of fish, and the little bit of tuna in the can will add some nutrients. I’ve yet to see a cat reject this concoction.

If this type of behavior persists over 1-4 days, you’ll definitely want to take your cat to the vet. Cats love to eat and drink. If they aren’t – them there’s usually something wrong with them. Your vet will be able to diagnosis this quickly and get your cat feeling better.

Give Your Furry Friends the Nutrients They Need

Your cats need to eat and drink every single day. Our furballs can’t go long without water or food. So make sure they’re getting the proper nutrition they need to stay healthy!

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