How long can a cat go without food or water? This is the question that you’ll most definitely ask yourself when you start traveling with your cat. You’re not always going to be able to feed them or give them water, so let’s take a look at how long they can go before you need to worry about.
Both feral cats and indoor cats require daily fluids and nutrition to remain healthy. Domesticated indoor cats can go without water for 3 days and without food at most about two weeks. This is great news if you’re traveling because it means they will be fine when you’re flying with a cat.
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How Long Can A Cat Go Without Water?
This isn’t a silly question to ask yourself, especially, if you spend a lot of time traveling with your four-legged friend. When you’re traveling, it’s not always easy to stop every time they want a drink.
It’s easier if you’re transporting your cat in a car, but if you’re on a long flight, then Fluffy is just going to have to do without.
If your domesticated feline is in perfect health, they will be fine no water throughout the flight or small sips. You just don’t want to give them a bunch of water during the flight, as this can lead to unwanted accidents.
Water is critical for your cat’s survival, especially, when they are not being fed on schedule. If you’re on a long plane ride or driving to a destination, try not to let them go for more than a few hours without water.
If you’re on a long flight or flying Internationally, make sure that you give them water during your layover. Every airport has pet relief areas you can take them to before you board back on the plane.
Flights that are just a few hours, you can give them some water as soon as you land. Don’t forget their favorite portable water bowl that will make it easy for them to drink water.
Never allow your cat to go too long without water. Without sufficient amounts of water, it could be potentially hazardous to their health.
If you can’t give them water because you don’t have any, then consider giving them some wet canned food that’s high in moisture.
Health & Age
If your cat is healthy and does not have any illnesses or diseases, it will be fine without water longer than an elderly cat or a kitten.
An older cat or one that is stricken with illnesses will dehydrate quickly witha lack of water intake. You’ll need to learn spot the signs of dehydration, which are:
- Refusal to eat
- Dry, Tacky Gums
These symptoms can occur when they are dehydrated or they drink an excessive amount of water.
Loss of Fluids
Dehydration occurs when the electoylytes, chloride, potassium, and sodium are lost from your feline’s body. Some cats will also experience the following symptoms:
- Vomiting diarrhea
So it’s important to make sure that you’re paying attention to how much and when Fluffy drinks water while traveling.
How to Get Your Cat To Drink
It’s vital that you get your cat to drink if you’ve been traveling for long hours. Going too long without fluids can be dangerous for your pet. If they are refusing to drink, which is totally possible in an unknown environment, these tips should help you out.
Take Their Favorite Water Bowl: Some cats are extremely finicky and won’t drink from plastic water bowls, ceramic bowls or anything that doesn’t belong to them. I’d recommend purchasing a travel bowl from Amazon or your favorite pet store like PetCo or Petsmart.
Before your travel date, give them enough time to start drinking from it. This way, they won’t have any issues drinking from it while you’re on the road or in the air.
If they are used to drinking from a pet fountain, it can be a big change for them to drink from a deep plastic water bowl.
Bottled Water: If you’re traveling to a different state or flying abroad, the water may be taste totally different than what your four-legged friend is from. If they’ve been without water for awhile, and they are refusing to drink, switch to bottled water.
Let Them Drink From The Water Faucet: If you’ve ever owned a cat, you know that some of them enjoy drinking from a running faucet. When you get to the hotel or your destination, try letting them drink from a running tap source, you may be surprised at how easy it can be to get them to consume water.
How Long Can A Cat Go Without Eating?
Nutrition is vital for keeping felines healthy and functioning properly. Without the proper food on a consistent basis, your furry friend will suffer from malnutrition.
Malnutrition symptoms consist of:
- Organ failure
- Poor coordination
- Weight loss
- Caved in nails
- Failing eye sight
- Swelling of gums
- Impaired immune response
- Muscular weakness
These symptoms don’t occur instantly, in fact, the average cat can go without food for anywhere between a week and two weeks. They should be fine, as long as they are receiving the proper amount of daily water intake.
Older cats, kittens or cats that are already dealing with illnesses or diseases won’t be able to go as long without food.
Care Tips While Traveling
As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to make sure that Fluffy is getting the proper amounts of food and water while traveling. The rule of thumb should be, whenever you eat or drink something (if you eat every 3-4 hours) you should take the time to feed your cat.
They may not always want to eat, but you should at least make it a point to let them know that you haven’t forgotten about them.
Your kitty will enjoy the experience a lot more if they are aren’t just left in the cat carrier while you enjoy the sights and foods around you.
It’s extremely important to pay attention to your cat’s eating and drinking habits when they are not in their familiar environment. If you noticed that they have stopped eating or drinking, don’t panic, sometimes it can take a few hours for a cat to get comfortable in a new environment.
However, if it’s been over 24 hours and they are still not eating, it’s time to call the vet. Dehydration and malnourishment can have fatal outcomes so it’s important to take your cat to the vet so they can give them fluids with an IV.