Let us say you are going away for an overnight journey, and if all works out, you'll be back tomorrow. This raises some interesting questions like, can you leave your cat alone for that long? How long can cats do without food?
What is the length of time cats can go without food?
A crucial sign of sickness in cats is a change in appetite. For felines, going without food or water can quickly end up being a deadly emergency situation. Here are the indications of an emergency situation due to not eating.
Both house cats as well as feral cats, need regular meals. But how long can cats go without eating? Let's find out!
Alone for the day?
All cats have specific personalities and varying levels of self-reliance. Some cats may not do well being away from their owners, while others might be more tolerant and self-entertaining. This needs to kept in mind when deciding if you can leave your feline alone or if you need somebody to look at them several times throughout the day.
Let us focus on feeding. Assuming your feline eats completely dry food (kibble), it's probably practical to place food out before you leave and then freshen it up one day later. Like you, your feline needs to eat every day, but some cats will do okay with this setup, which can allow for brief overnight journeys. If your pet has wet-food diet, the meal can not be out for very long. If your cat can go on to eat only one meal per day, you might want to feed them right before leaving and immediately upon returning home.
What if your trip did not go as planned?
Suppose you can't return as quickly as you thought. Your feline's kibble will stagnate, or your cat will go out. It's simply not safe to leave any pet unattended for long. At the minimum, have a backup plan beforehand. Schedule a friend or family to be the on-call pet caretaker if needed. You could also think about taking your cat with you. Normally, adult cats need to eat every day and shouldn't be left long without fresh food.
How much time can a feline go without consuming food?
What about ill cats or picky eaters? What about feral cats that might have unstable food resources? How long can felines go without eating?
In any case, an ill, picky, or feral animal that doesn't eat could make it through for two weeks without food. However, this is not without serious health repercussions. A cat not eating for three days or more will begin to use stored fat for energy, similar to humans. However, a cat's body is built to use primarily protein for energy. Felines are obligate carnivores, which means that they must have meat in their diet regimens to survive. If a cat can't eat meat for a couple of days and begins to use its fat deposits, the liver can be overwhelmed.
While a cat could survive a reasonably long time without food, it needs to eat every day to keep optimum health and should not be left very long without fresh food.
Feral cats need the exact same type of dependable meal as pet cats. However, they can not always get them because of their challenging circumstances. For chillier months, you may want to use heat keeping pads and bowls to let feral cats have accessibility to fresh food and water that doesn't ice up. Consider connection to a local rescue that dedicates their time and to sustain feral cat colonies. This is an excellent way to ensure these "wild" felines get the nutrition they need to remain healthy.
Nonetheless, if your cat is merely a fussy eater, you can try to make dinner a bi more appealing by warming it, adding some wet food on top of dry or, or even trying out new food.
Why your cat can't do without food for long
Cats inherently hide sickness, and an underlying illness may be pretty advanced when a fur parent notices that something is amiss. An big red flag is a change in appetite. Medical issues such as kidney condition, pancreatitis, poision ingestion, dental condition, urinary tract, et cetera can all prevent a pet cat from eating.
In addition to health concerns, a cat's mental health can also play a role in modifying a cat's appetite. Stressors can include relocation, a new baby or a new pet, or any kind of ecological adjustment can affect a cat's appetite.
Given that a change in appetite usually does not happen until in the late stages of health problems, pet parents must be in harmony to their feline's appetite and seek clinical attention at the initial observation of a problem
For how long should you wait to go to your vet?
The choice as to how long to wait before taking your feline to a vet depends on you. It is necessary to be accustomed to your feline's unique habits. Some cats are infamously picky and skipping one or two meals is not unusual. Some cats may be prone to eating less below erratic after vomiting episodes due to hairballs, plant consumption, or other inexplicable reasons.
Cats with persistent upper respiratory problems will often have lower appetite due to nasal congestion. Parents of cats showing the above propensities are more likely to wait longer before arranging a vet visit since it is not an abnormal habit for their felines to periodically miss meals.
If your cat has actually been "off his food" for more than a day or two, see the vet immediately, as there can be multiple, as well as serious health issues behind this.
The dangers of sudden weight loss in felines
If your cat, for no apparent reason, stops eating for 24-36 hrs, even despite regular water intake, an assessment by a vet is suggested. Significant and life-threatening problems can occur if a cat is completely anorectic for a few days or partly anorectic for a few weeks.
The consequences a subsequent reduction in body weight by 30% are particularly unsafe for obese felines. Obese cats that fail to absorb sufficient calories start to activate their fat stores for power, causing fat infiltration into the liver.
Because cats are obligate carnivores, protein consumption is extremely crucial compared to omnivores such as human beings and dogs. Prolonged exhaustion of protein intake can cause hepatic lipidosis.
Some conditions, such as diabetes mellitus, drive need to drink and might offer a false sense of security for pet dog parents.
Dehydration is a serious problem
While hepatic lipidosis can take some time to develop, the main concern for cats that are not taking insufficient nutrition and water are a damaged body immune system and dehydration. Even if the feline is consuming a lot of water, if there is vomiting looseness of the bowels, the cat will not be able to keep ample hydration, which can rapidly end up being an emergency situation requiring helpful treatment at a vet medical facility.
Physical indications of serious emergency situations
In addition to observing a reduced appetite, pet parents may notice that their cat has dropped weight. A weight reduction appears when the feline feels lighter when carried or the spine more noticeable to the touch.
With both weight loss and dehydration, the feline's eyes will develop a sunken appearance. The eyes can also be a telltale sign of hepatic lipidosis as the sclera creates a yellow, or jaundiced, look.
Felines that have actually been eating poorly and reducing weight will certainly likewise end up being clinically depressed and weak. If you observe any of these issues, seek an immediate veterinary visit.