Can a Cat Go 24 Hours Without Food?

Can a Cat Go 24 Hours Without Food?

When you go on an overnight trip, you might worry that your cat will suffer if it doesn’t have any food until you return home. Or, your cat might be sick and has refused to eat for the past 24 hours. Is this healthy, and can a cat go 24 hours without food?

While your cat might think otherwise, a cat can safely go 24-48 hours without food before any health issues appear. Cats cannot convert fat to energy as humans do, so they need food more often. If your cat stops eating for 24 hours, you need to call the vet, as there might be a medical issue.

Cats are famous for not being able to go an hour without eating, so if your cat isn’t eating, there could be a medical reason. If you think you need to call your vet, stay tuned.

Why Is Your Cat Not Eating?

A cat might not be eating because they have a sore mouth or some type of gastrointestinal illness, which is indicated by their continuous vomiting. Your cat’s appetite will be affected if they are sick. If you suspect your cat is sick, make an appointment with your vet for a checkup.

Aside from medical issues, your cat might not be eating because it is depressed or tired. You might have moved recently or brought a new person or cat into your home, which could cause your cat to feel stressed or anxious. Because of the anxiety, your cat might not want to eat.

If all medical issues have been dismissed, but your cat is still not eating, try spending some time cuddling with your cat and playing games with it. It might just be a case of your cat being lonely and needing some attention and time with you on their terms.

Cats Can Skip One to Two Days Of Eating

When it comes to cat health, your cat shouldn’t go more than two days, or it will suffer from malnourishment and could become unwell. Immediate veterinary care should be given so that your cat can recover their health. However, if a cat has water, it might be okay without food for up to a week.

Can a Cat Go 24 Hours Without Food?

Cats’ livers are not designed to support health if they do not get the proper amount of protein daily. If they are not eating and go one to two days without eating, it might be because they are depressed, anxious, or ill.

If, after two days of not eating, your cat is still lethargic and refuses to eat, try coaxing your buddy to eat by placing a little tuna and juice in a bowl and offer it to your cat. There is some salt in the tuna juice, but it also has trace amounts of protein. If your cat drinks up the tuna juice, it will get some of the tuna with it, which might be enough to stimulate their appetite. If it doesn’t at least help your cat’s appetite, it will give your cat a little protein.

Cats Cannot Convert Fat to Energy As Humans Do

Humans can go a very long time without eating, providing they get plenty of water and other liquids because their livers can convert body fat into glucose for energy. When a human being fasts for more than 24 hours, the growth hormone responsible for many things like cell regeneration becomes more prolific. All bodily processes become more efficient, leading to greater health for humans.

Cats need to eat daily because their livers cannot convert fat to energy as humans’ livers can. So if they don’t eat every day, their bodies could start breaking down, and they could become deathly ill, or at least malnourished.

A cat that doesn’t eat daily might be ill, have mouth pain, or is depressed about something. At the end of the second day of not eating, you should take your cat to the vet to rule out any disease or dental issues. If, however, you feel that your cat is sick sooner than that, then contact your vet immediately.

You might also try rubbing a little Karo syrup on your cat’s gums to help it work up an appetite. The simple carbohydrate might activate your cat’s appetite before it becomes dangerous.

What Can You Do If Your Cat Stops Eating?

If your cat stops eating, there could be a medical reason for it. Take your cat to the vet to rule out any illnesses before you try to encourage your cat to eat. If any illnesses cause your cat to stop eating, your vet can give you some medicine that will help clear it up right away, which will help your cat’s appetite come back.

But if there are no medical issues and your cat is not eating, it might be stress-related. A new family member or a new pet might cause your cat some stress, which might make your cat not want to eat.

Try giving your cat some attention and love before encouraging it to eat. Your cat might need a little love and attention before they settle down to eat.

Then, try the following:

  • If you normally feed your cat dry food, try getting a can of wet food for a change of pace. Cats like variety as much as humans, so changing their food might encourage your cat to eat.
  • Skittish cats often wait until there is no more chaos around their food to eat. Ensure your cat’s food is set in a quiet space so they feel comfortable enough to eat in peace.
  • Your cat loves certain human foods like eggs, bacon, or deli meat. Get some of these foods to entice your cat into eating.
  • If your cat has some dental issues, try getting some baby food like turkey or chicken to feed your cat. That might be enough to jump-start your cat’s appetite.

Don’t let your cat go longer than two days without food before you intervene, as any longer can get dangerous to their health.

Cats Still Need Cool Water Daily

Even if your cat is not eating, they still need to have 24-7 access to water. Without water, a cat will get very sick within two days or less, so if your cat isn’t drinking water as well, you need to rush your cat to the vet. Dehydration in cats is a very serious issue and one that needs to be addressed immediately.

A sick cat won’t be willing to get up to drink water, so you might need to help your cat get water, whether they want it or not. Take a clean eyedropper with cool water and try to squirt it in your cat’s mouth. Do only a few drops at a time, however, as you don’t want to choke your cat. Give a small amount at a time. If your cat is nauseous, the water might come back up.

Be careful as your cat might be too sick to take in even that amount of water.


Twenty-four hours without food can be a long time for a cat, and if a cat is not eating, it is putting itself at risk for several health problems. Stress and fear are powerful emotions that keep your cat from eating. If you can provide your cat with a quiet place to eat, they might be more willing to try eating.

Sometimes, you need to be patient with your cat and keep offering food. Your cat might not have an appetite due to any medication they might be taking. Once the medication is finished, your cat’s appetite will probably return.