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How Long Can A Cat Go Without Eating?

Without water/fluid, your cat will not be able to survive more than a few days, but according to Best1x, without food, they can live up to 2 weeks. The damage done would be untreatable hence if you notice signs of no eating in your cat, it will be wise to take them to the Vet as fast as you possibly can.

The cats may be hydrated by drinking water, but they will inevitably suffer slow starvation, this will cause many physiologic problems such as Kidney problems, intestinal problems and will ultimately lead to death if not managed.

Fatty liver disease or Hepatic Lipidosis (HL)

This is another fatal disease that can strike a starving cat; this occurs when the accumulation of fats inside the liver tissues and cells become excess. If not adequately managed, the liver will damage progressively and biliary tract dysfunction sets in, the last will be death.

This is the pathophysiology when a cat has gone long without food. The fat cells stored majorly in the liver and other parts of the body becomes metabolized, this is the typical response to starvation in both humans and animals. Fat is then packaged with amino acid and sent through the bloodstream to the cells. In cats that are not eating there is lack of available protein hence fats build up in the liver and disrupts the liver functions. This condition makes the cat less likely to eat as it feels sick therefore worsening the health even more.

For a cat to get Hepatic Lipidosis during starvation few conditions matters. E.g., A skinny cat will succumb later than an obese cat. A young cat will also last longer than an older cat that is obese.

Hepatic Lipidosis is broadly divided into two,

Idiopathic and Secondary

In Idiopathic HL; the cat stops eating due to unknown reason. This is mainly caused by stress, such as moving, a new animal in the household, death of a human or champion animal, change of diet, etc.

Cats are very sensitive to changes in their environment hence ensure you are observant.

In Secondary HL; the primary cause is as a result of a preexisting disease or body condition such as G.I.T disease, diabetes, pancreatitis or cholangiohepatitis. All of these conditions can lead to anorexia which will later lead to Hepatic Lipidosis.

The average days to survive this depends on if help is given as fast as possible, if not managed between two to ten days, the case may become fatal. Even if the cat manages to survive, it's likely to suffer organ failures and organ damage.

Be informed that not all obese cats that go without food develops HL, and not all cats with HL are obese.

When there is any suspicion of Hepatic Lipidosis they Veterinarian will take accurate measurements of the liver enzymes, and this will be confirmed if the enzymes are increased. An increased liver enzyme is a giveaway sign of HL.

Other procedures like Radiography and Ultrasound may also be used; this is to rule out other possible diseases associated with HL and get a proper differential diagnosis if there is any.

This is what you look out for; Cats with IHL will often have a history of anorexia and weight loss just before being diagnosed. Too they are more likely to be obese before the starvation began. The symptoms may include not limited to; constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy when there is an underlying medical condition.

Treatment is by aggressive nutrition therapy, protein and calories will be given in large quantity so that the Liver can resume its standard physiologic functions and get rid of the accumulated fasts.

Other processes will also be used, E.g., vitamins and electrolytes will be given to help the liver enzymes, and this is done according to the individual cat's needs.

If Hepatic Lipidosis is left untreated, the cat will die, but if treatment is given in time most times the condition will be reversed, and prognosis will be okay.

Take proper steps and measures to ensure you avoid this condition; treat fat cats, don't leave your cat in a stressful environment, don't change his food without guidance from Vet and ensure your cat eats every day.

Eating the Wrong Things, Colds or Stress?

According to James Jenkins, Cats can also stop eating when they accidentally eat a bug, have a cold or stressed. The hairball from eating bug makes them feel weird. 

Also according to Dr. Lou Budik of the Transit Alley Animal hospital in New York; Healthy cats can go for weeks without food or water, so don't fret when your cat doesn't eat for a day due to conditions like being stranded in a new country as she will be fine without food.

But also be aware that when a cat refuses water or food for several days, this is a serious issue as it may lead to dangerous health conditions like Dehydration and Hepatic Lipidosis.

When a cat refuses to eat, apply some methods that may encourage the cat to eat.

Use aromatic canned food as they prefer smelly canned food than anything.

Pet her when she shows interest to eat as this will encourage the cat to eat.

Feed your pet in a part of the house that is entirely free of distractions and noise.

If you changed food, go back to her old food.

If these methods still proof abortive, then take your cat to a specialist (Vet), the will give an appetite stimulant. 

Cats are survivors by nature, but this doesn't mean you should neglect your pet when it losses appetite in food or refuses to eat as there may be a serious underlying medical condition.

All things we want to do is give the best world to our cute little friends as a true friend leaves paw prints in your heart; your world is fantastic because you meet them in your life. Linda Butts of pawsometalk affirms.

Right and proper care of these little creatures will also make you happy as they are always friends with us both in deed and in need.

Lindsey Browlingdon

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