Like people, cats can go longer without food than water. Cats can survive for about two weeks without eating but only three days without drinking. The longer your cat goes without proper nutrition, however, the weaker they become, so it’s important to contact your vet if you suspect they haven’t eaten in a day or more.
It’s common for cats to lose their appetite toward the end of their lives. As with all animals, their bodies know that it takes work to process food and drinks. Your cat may be too tired and weak to consume anything.
How to Get Your Cat to Eat Give them some canned/wet food (the stinkier the better — try seafood varieties) Give them some meat baby food. Add some water from a can of tuna or anchovies to their food. Add a little bit of warmed, low-sodium chicken broth to your their food, whether it’s kibble or canned.
Cats who eat dry food that you can make readily available may be left on their own for 24-48 hours as long as fresh water is accessible as well. Beyond that time frame, water may get too dirty to drink and the litter box full.
If you find a starving cat like Gloria, avoid what is known as Refeeding Syndrome by feeding it very small amounts of high protein wet food, instead of dry food, which is often high in carbohydrates. You can also add additional nutrients to the wet food using very small amounts of fish oil or Brewer’s Yeast.
The average life expectancy of a cat is around 14 years but many cats live well beyond this age.
It is fortunate if a pet is able to die at home in a painless and peaceful state. This is ideal, and is most predictable when using veterinary supervision that includes proper pain control and home euthanasia services.
This includes detecting weakness or changes in body temperature and odor. They are also intuitive in that they often know when they are about to die. Therefore, cats are attuned to their bodies and their environment to the point where they can detect signs associated with death.
Behaviour signs of a cat in pain Reduced appetite. Lethargy. Decreased interest in positive things like playing, social interaction and exploring outside. Being withdrawn and hiding away. Appearing lame and experiencing increased sensitivity to touch in specific areas of their body. Reduction in movement and activity.
Ways to Make Sick Cats Feel More Comfortable Turn to pain medication when necessary. Pain medication can alleviate a lot of the discomfort. Encourage your cat to drink as much water as possible. Keep the noise level down. Many cats crave contact and giving warmth through body contact is a great way to keep your sick cat comfortable.
Your cat may vomit or have diarrhea and often shows a loss of appetite with corresponding weight loss. The buildup of toxins in the blood can lead to a depressed cat or even more severe neurologic signs such as seizures, circling, or head pressing. Some cats will die from these toxic buildups.
Mirtazapine is a drug that was initially developed to control nausea but has been shown to be an effective appetite stimulant in cats.
The average cat can technically survive for one to two weeks without food if they have a water supply. However, without protein, it may be more like three to four days, even if they have enough water. With no water or food, it is unlikely that a cat would survive longer than three days.
Loss of Appetite/Thirst This is because an animal’s body knows it takes work to process any food or drink, and sometimes a cat is simply too sick or tired to expend the additional energy. Dehydration can set in rapidly during a cat’s final days.
Your veterinarian may perform a quick procedure where they give your cat fluids under the skin. In severe cases, your veterinarian may hospitalize your cat and give them fluids through a needle that goes directly into the cat’s vein. This method can usually rehydrate your cat within a few hours or days.