How Long can a Kitten Go Without Eating? (in 2024)

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How long can a kitten go without eating? Well, my cute kitten can last about two weeks without having a meal, as long as there’s water nearby. But, let me tell you, even in that short time, they might start feeling hungry after only three to four days.

I have to keep a close eye on my kitty’s eating schedule because, you know, cat health is a big deal. Just a couple of days without eating, and my precious pet could become malnourished and sick. I really don’t want to imagine my furry friend going through that!

It’s not just about a growling tummy; skipping meals could lead to hepatic lipidosis—a nasty liver disease that could be really bad if I don’t do something.

I definitely don’t want my feline buddy going through that tough time! So, I’ve made it my goal to understand how long my kitty can go without food. I want to know all the details—the effects, the risks, and most importantly, how I can encourage my cat to eat again.

After all, a happy and well-fed cat makes for a happy pet owner! Let’s learn all about feline nutrition and make sure my little one stays healthy and happy.

Reasons your cat isn’t eating or drinking

When my cat suddenly stops eating or drinking, it can be a sign of various underlying issues. Here are some common reasons why my feline friend might exhibit such behavior:

Reasons your cat isn't eating or drinking

Upset Stomach:

Just like humans, cats can experience stomach discomfort or nausea, which may lead them to avoid food and water.

Change in Food:

My cat is a creature of habit, and alterations in its diet can sometimes result in a loss of appetite. Introducing new food or abruptly changing its regular meals may cause reluctance to eat.

Change in Food of kitten

Stress or Emotional Causes:

My cat is sensitive to changes in its environment, and stress or emotional upheavals can affect its eating habits. Events such as me going on vacation, moving to a new home, or the introduction of a new pet can cause stress.

Stress or Emotional Causes of kitten not eat food

Dental Issues:

Pain or discomfort in the mouth, teeth, or gums can make eating a painful experience for my cat, leading it to avoid food and water.

Medication Side Effects:

Some medications may have side effects that affect my cat’s appetite. If my cat has recently started a new medication, it’s worth considering this as a potential cause.

Medication Side Effects of kitten not eat food


Internal parasites, such as worms, can interfere with my cat’s digestive system and appetite. Routine deworming is essential to prevent such issues.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Digestive Issues:

Chronic conditions like inflammatory bowel disease or other digestive problems can lead to a loss of appetite in my cat.

Underlying Medical Issues:

Various medical conditions, ranging from infections to organ diseases, can impact my cat’s overall health and appetite. In essence, there are numerous factors that can contribute to my cat’s reluctance to eat or drink.

It’s crucial for me to observe my cat’s behavior closely, and if this behavior persists, consult with my veterinarian. A professional evaluation can help identify the specific cause of my cat’s reduced appetite and guide appropriate treatment.

Remember, early intervention is key to addressing potential health issues and ensuring my cat’s well-being.

Kitten Underlying Medical Issues

How to get your cat to eat?

When it comes to getting my cat to eat, especially in those critical first 24 hours or while waiting for a vet appointment, there are some strategies I can try:

Keep Her Hydrated:

First and foremost, I need to ensure that my cat stays hydrated. Hydration is crucial for a quicker and smoother recovery. If my cat isn’t freely drinking water, I’ll consider adding a small amount of low-sodium chicken broth or tuna juice to entice her.

If that doesn’t work, I can try syringe-feeding small amounts of water or Pedialyte every two hours.

Keep kitten Hydrated

Entice My Cat with Different Foods:

To encourage my cat to eat, I’ll experiment with different types of food than what she’s used to. As Drs. suggests, I can offer a bland diet consisting of boiled chicken, white rice with yogurt, or meat-flavored baby food.

Sometimes, a change in the type of food offered can be enough to stimulate my cat’s appetite. Additionally, I’ll consider warming the food before offering it, as cats generally prefer food that is not too cold.

Entice My Cat with Different Foods

Choose a Quiet Eating Spot:

Knowing that cats are sensitive to their surroundings, especially noise, I’ll place my cat’s food in a quiet area of the house to create a calm and stress-free environment.

I’ll also make sure that her food and water bowls are clean, as cats may avoid eating or drinking from dirty dishes.

Choose a Quiet Eating Spot

Offer a Variety of Foods:

Kittens can be quite picky about what they eat. I’ll experiment with both wet and dry foods, trying different flavors and brands to see what appeals to my furry friend.

Offering a variety increases the chances of finding something they enjoy.

Offer a Variety of Foods to kitten

Adjust Food Temperature:

Knowing that warm food can be more enticing to kittens, I’ll consider microwaving their food for a few seconds to remove the chill. Of course, I’ll make sure it’s at a comfortable temperature for my kitten.

Serve Small, Frequent Meals:

Understanding that kittens have small stomachs, I’ll adapt by offering smaller meals more often. This approach accommodates their natural eating habits and ensures they get the necessary nutrients throughout the day.

Use a Shallow Dish:

Some kittens might struggle with deep dishes, so I’ll opt for a shallow dish to make it easier for them to access their food. This simple adjustment can make a big difference in their willingness to eat.

Use a Shallow Dish for kitten food

Offer a Variety of Treats:

Introducing a variety of treats can sometimes spark interest in eating. I’ll try small pieces of cooked chicken or turkey, along with small amounts of canned tuna or salmon, as tempting alternatives to their regular meals.

Consult a Veterinarian:

If I’ve tried these strategies and my kitten still refuses to eat, I know it’s crucial to consult a veterinarian. There might be a concealed medical concern that requires addressing.

A vet can assess my kitten’s health, identify any potential problems, and recommend appropriate steps for treatment. Remember, a veterinarian’s expertise is invaluable when it comes to understanding and addressing my kitten’s eating habits.

They can provide tailored advice based on my kitten’s specific needs and health condition. I won’t hesitate to seek professional guidance if I’m concerned about my kitten’s eating behavior.

Consult a Veterinarian

Some guidelines to help you with feeding your kitten

Use Special Kitten Milk (KMR):

When I’m making my kitten’s food softer or encouraging them to eat, it’s crucial to use a special kitten milk like KMR (Kitten Milk Replacer). Additionally, explore the safety of adding different flavors or textures, such as canned chicken or tuna.

I’ve found this brand to be well-known and easily accessible on Amazon. I’ll remember to steer clear of regular milk or other substitutes, as they might not provide the essential nutrients my kitten needs.

Use Special Kitten Milk (KMR)

Consider the Size of Their Tummies:

My kitten has small tummies, about the size of an acorn by the age of 6-7 weeks. Because of this, I know it’s important to feed them small amounts regularly to ensure they get all the nutrients they need.

Gradually Feed Less Often:

As my kittens grow, I’ll think about transitioning to feeding them about 2 meals a day by the time they are 6 months old. This gradual change will help them get used to a more adult-like eating routine.

Gradually Feed Less Often to cat

Avoid Quick Changes to Their Food:

I understand that kittens can experience tummy troubles if their food is suddenly changed. It’s best for me to make any adjustments slowly, allowing their stomachs to adapt.

Set a Regular Feeding Time:

Having set times for feeding is a good idea. It makes it easier for me to control their diet and ensures my kittens eat the right amount. I’ll try to keep the schedule consistent.

Watch Wet Food Time:

I’ll keep in mind that wet food shouldn’t be left out for too long, ideally not more than 30-60 minutes. Any leftovers should be thrown away, and I’ll make sure to clean the bowl well. Dry food, on the other hand, can be left out overnight without any worries.

kitten Wet Food Time

FAQs about how long can a kitten go without eating:

Can stress impact a kitten’s eating habits?

Yes, stress can significantly affect a kitten’s appetite. Changes in environment, new people or pets, or even changes in routine can cause stress, leading to a temporary decrease in appetite.

Are there specific signs that indicate my kitten is in distress due to not eating?

Yes, signs of distress may include lethargy, weight loss, dehydration, changes in litter box habits, and a dull coat. If you observe these signs, it’s crucial to seek veterinary attention promptly.

Is it normal for a kitten’s appetite to fluctuate?

Yes, some fluctuation in a kitten’s appetite is normal, especially during growth spurts. However, prolonged or severe changes in eating habits should be investigated by a veterinarian.

How often should I feed my kitten, and what is an appropriate diet?

Kittens typically require multiple small meals throughout the day. Follow the feeding guidelines on the kitten food packaging or consult your veterinarian for specific recommendations tailored to your kitten’s age, weight, and health status.

Are there common health issues that can affect a kitten’s eating habits?

Yes, dental problems, infections, gastrointestinal issues, and parasites are common health issues that can impact a kitten’s appetite. Regular veterinary check-ups can help detect and address these issues early.

Can kittens become dehydrated if they’re not eating?

Yes, lack of food intake can lead to dehydration in kittens. Dehydration is a serious concern and can exacerbate other health issues. If you suspect dehydration, seek immediate veterinary care.

Should I be concerned if my kitten is not eating as much during the weaning process?

During weaning, it’s normal for a kitten’s appetite to change as they transition to solid food. However, if there’s a significant and prolonged decrease in eating, consult your veterinarian to ensure a smooth transition and address any potential issues.


Ensuring a kitten receives proper nutrition is crucial for its growth and well-being. While kittens should not go without eating for an extended period, the specific time frame can vary based on individual health and circumstances.

Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and prompt attention to changes in eating behavior are essential for maintaining a healthy and thriving kitten.

If you notice any signs of illness or persistent refusal to eat, seek professional veterinary advice promptly to address potential issues and ensure the best possible care for your kitten.

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