How Long Can Cats Go Without Food?

Cats are known for being fluffy fuss pots. So turning their nose up to their dinner now and then is usually not much of a concern. Often changing the flavour of their food, the texture of it, or even the bowl can be enough to coax them back into eating normally. However, if this doesn’t work and your kitty-cat refuses to eat for more than 24 hours it can be harmful to their health and may indicate an underlying medical issue. But exactly how long can cats go without food? And how do you stop them from refusing their dinner? Let’s dive in. 

Why is My Cat Refusing Their Food?

How long can Cats go without food?

Before we can answer “how long can cats go without food?” let’s take a look at the reasons why your kitty might be refusing their dinner.


Often, when your kitty-cat refuses their dinner it’s simply down to fussiness. Even if your cat has been tucking into their usual dinner for years, out of the blue they may decide that it’s just not hitting the spot anymore. This can be down to changes in the recipe by the manufacturer or your cat not enjoying the texture or even the bowl or location that it’s being served in. Usually, small changes can be enough to get them licking their lips again. 

Digestive Issues

Digestive issues, bowel obstructions or food allergies can cause symptoms such as nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting, and put your cat off their food. Although bowel obstructions and food allergies are uncommon in cats, if your floof is refusing their dinner and showing any of these other symptoms, you should have them checked over by their vet. If the cause is simply a digestive issue and nothing more serious, feeding them a high-quality cat food that’s specifically designed with gut health in mind (hint Scrumbles) can help get them back to feeling their usual self. 

Dental Disease

Dental disease is unfortunately an extremely common and often poorly detected issue facing British cats. Periodontal disease can lead to gum inflammation and in more severe cases tooth loss which can cause your cat to be in pain when they’re eating. Cats are great at hiding pain, however, if they’re eating more slowly or refusing their food and their breath isn’t smelling so minty fresh anymore, it may be a sign of dental disease.

Anxiety + Depression 

Anxiety and depression in cats is more common than you think. Cats can become stressed for a variety of reasons such as environmental changes (e.g. moving house), social changes (e.g. adding a new floof to your fur fam) or phobias (e.g. loud noises such as fireworks), and this can be enough to turn them off their food. 

Other Underlying Medical Conditions

Many underlying health conditions can also cause your cat to lose their appetite including kidney problems, liver disease, heart conditions, pancreatitis, and cancer. With this being so, if your cat is refusing their food for more than 24 hours it’s always safest to get them checked over by their vet to understand the cause. 

How Long Can Cats Go Without Food?

Now that we know some of the reasons why your cat isn’t eating, how long can cats go without food?

Cats can survive for 1-2 weeks without food as long as they still have enough fresh water to drink. If your cat goes without food for around 24 hours it’s usually not a cause for concern, as long as they start tucking back into their dinner again. 
However, if your kitty-cat  is refusing their food for more than 24 hours you should take them to a vet as soon as possible to get to the bottom of it. Like us, cats need a highly nutritious and regular diet to provide them with all of the vitamins, minerals, and energy to keep them healthy. 
If they aren’t receiving these vital nutrients, their liver will start breaking down fat stores to use for energy. If this occurs over the course of 3-7 days it increases the risk of them developing a severe liver condition known as hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver syndrome which can be fatal if left untreated. 
If your cat goes without food for any period of time, and is also vomiting or showing any other signs that are out of the ordinary, you should have them assessed by their vet urgently as this may indicate something more serious is going on. 

How Do I Get My Fussy Cat to Eat Their Food?

If you’ve excluded any underlying medical cause for your cat refusing their food and you suspect it’s just down to pure fussiness, there are a few ways to persuade your feline princess to eat again. 

First, you can try changing the flavour of meat in their cat food. For instance, most cats love the taste of chicken cat food, however, others may be keen on salmon
Textures also play a large part in palatability or how delectable cats find particular foods. If your kitty-cat is refusing their normal dry cat food, try changing to a wet cat food such as a pate cat food to see if that helps. 
You can even try changing their bowls to see if that may have been the trigger to them refusing their food.

As always try to keep meal times the same each day and feed them in the usual spot in the house, as domesticated kitties thrive on routine. Also, be sure to wash their dinner bowl regularly to prevent bacteria buildup or funky smells from wafting which may also cause your cat to turn their nose up.

Keep Your Fussy Feline Crawling Back For More With Scrumbles Nutritionally Dense Cat Food

We know how hard it can be to keep your cat pleased at dinner time. That’s why we’ve worked hard to perfect all of our cat food recipes to make them the most delicious in the game.

In fact, all of our recipes score 100% on palatability testing meaning even the most fussy of felines adore our nutritionally dense and affordable cat food
Cooked with high-quality human-grade meat and free from nasty fillers or additives, our cat food provides all of the essential vitamins and minerals that kitties need to maintain optimal health. 

With a range of flavours and textures, from dry cat food to, pate cat food, to jelly cat food and, even a luxurious broth, we have something to satisfy all of our beloved floofs.

Plus, we add either gut-loving prebiotics or probiotics to all of our recipes to improve digestibility and soothe sensitive tummies. 
So, stop the stress of wondering “how long can cats go without food?” every time your fussy cat refuses their dinner, and make the switch to Scrumbles today!

Scrumbles Dry Cat Food


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