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How long can cats go without water?

Food and water are essential for all living things. Not only do they provide energy, but they also allow the body to function correctly. If your cat has suddenly stopped eating and drinking water, it is understandable that you are worried because, after all, neither cats nor humans can go for long without food and water. And then you ask yourself, “how long can cats go without water?

Have you ever wondered how stray cats survive, considering they probably don’t have food and water available daily? Can cats go for days without food or water? Not at all. A cat would not last the same time we could. In this article, you will find everything you need to know to keep your cat well-hydrated and fed at all times and what to do when it refuses.

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How long can cats go without water and food?

A healthy cat can survive up to two weeks without food, although not in good condition. When a cat goes for more than two days without food, it enters a phase of malnutrition in which its body begins to take energy from other sources, quickly fatiguing the animal. A cat that is not well fed, for example, a stray cat or a cat suffering from an illness, will probably only last 2 to 4 days without food.

When a cat stops eating or has no food for several days, it can develop hepatic lipidosis, one of the cats’ most common liver diseases. This disease severely affects the liver and quickly damages other organs, regularly leading to death.

As for how long a cat can go without drinking water, the times are even shorter. Although they consume small quantities of water, cats shouldn’t go more than 24 hours without drinking liquids. Otherwise, the animal begins to dehydrate, which can cause severe problems in its organs. Generally, a cat will not survive more than 2 days without drinking water; if it does, its health will be terrible.

Why does my cat refuse to eat or drink water?

If your cat has fresh food and water within reach and you still don’t see him drinking or eating, he may have one of the following problems. Remember, it’s essential to identify the cause to eliminate the problem.

  • Doesn’t like the new food
  • The food is too close to the water bowl
  • The water is no longer fresh or is dirty
  • Dental issues
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Upset stomach or digestive issues
  • Parasites
  • Other medical conditions
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What can I do if my cat is not eating or drinking?

Now that you know the consequences of feline malnutrition and dehydration, you’ll want to see how to prevent your cat from going long hours without eating and drinking. Luckily I have some excellent tips to help your cat.

If your cat refuses to drink water, try cleaning the water bowl very well and, if you have the opportunity, use a drinking fountain, as running water attracts the cat’s attention. If this doesn’t work, add a few drops of liquid from canned tuna or chicken broth to the water to give it a little flavor. Another trick is to provide him with wet food since it contains liquid, and although it isn’t the necessary amount that your cat needs, it will prevent him from getting dehydrated.

However, if the problem is that the cat doesn’t want to eat, it may be enough to change the type of food or encourage him to eat by giving him something tasty like tuna, boiled chicken, or some rice. Whatever you feed your cat should be cooked, never raw, and preferably warm, as cold food is not appealing to them. Be sure to place their food bowl away from the water bowl, as they don’t like them to be too close together for hygiene reasons, and make sure it’s in a quiet place where your cat will feel safe.

Bonus: Do cats hate water?

You probably think your cat doesn’t drink much water because he hates bathing, but that’s not the case. Cats don’t drink much water because their organism doesn’t require as much liquid to function. We need to consume between 11 and 15 cups of water daily, while the average cat needs one cup or less, depending on its weight.

Factors such as the smell of the water, its cleanliness, and freshness greatly influence whether a cat wants to drink water or not, but not because it doesn’t like it. And if you still think that cats hate water because you have a hard time every time you have to bathe them, well, let me tell you that this hatred is not entirely true. They don’t hate water, per se.

Instead, they don’t like losing their body’s control and feeling heavy. Remember that their fur can become quite a burden when it gets wet. Most cats don’t enjoy bathing because they have had traumatic or unpleasant experiences with water, and that is primarily our fault because, most of the time, we clean them without knowing exactly how to do it. Cats can swim and know how to do it better than many other animals.

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How long can cats go without water? Final thoughts

Cats, like humans, need food and water to stay healthy and fit, so they shouldn’t go for long hours without food or hydration. Although they can go for several days without eating, it is perilous for them to go for more than 24 hours without drinking any liquid.

Whatever the cat’s problem is, if you notice that it hasn’t been drinking for many hours, you must go to the vet to fix the situation since it’s very likely that the cat has a medical problem that can be aggravated if it also presents malnutrition or dehydration. Have you ever had any issues with your cat not drinking enough water? How did you solve it? Leave us a comment and share your experience!

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