How Long Can A Kitten Go Without Eating?

Like all animals, a kitten needs food to survive.

Like all people, their metabolism is constantly running. Generally, panhandling kittens is exhausting, and it may take your patience to feed yours.

So, how long can a kitten go without eating?

Cats can go without food for hours because unlike humans who are constantly burning calories, a kitten’s metabolism slows down at night time.

A healthy adult cat can go 8-10 days without eating but kittens are the exception.

Kittens can’t go without eating for more than 24 hours without suffering or dying.

A cat’s digestive system can process only 8-10 grams of food an hour; so kittens need to eat frequently throughout the day.

Although cats can survive for three days without water, a kitten can survive for only around 24 hours without water.

How Long Can A Kitten Go Without Eating?

A cat’s food requirements may change as they age, depending on their activity level and the amount of nutrients in their food.

A kitten requires to eat and drink more than an adult cat because they are growing and need more calories and nutrients for growth and development than an adult cat.

A cat may usually go for a day without eating; however, this may be a sign of a health problem.

Kittens have tiny stomachs and empty their stomachs frequently while eating or drinking.

It’s also critical that the cat’s litter box is clean to avoid infections that affect the cat’s urinary tract, such as bladder infections.

In the early stages of life, a kitten needs to eat every few hours because of rapid growth and constant energy needs for muscle development.

What Should You Serve Your Kitten?

Compared with cats, a kitten’s stomach is much smaller, so a kitten can eat more food than an adult cat on the same diet.

They require diets rich in protein and fat because their bodies are growing rapidly.

0-4 Weeks

During this time, a kitten generally swallows its mother’s milk only.

As a kitten ages, it will begin to eat solid foods at around 2-3 weeks of age.

Newborn kittens need a special sterile diet immediately after birth to ensure they get all the nutrients to grow normally.

After a few weeks of this feeding, you can transition to regular kitten food. Cat food looks like it is much tastier than it actually is.

Cats don’t need a human or animal diet; they need a feline diet.

4-5 Weeks

You can feed her moistened dry kitten food if she is drinking well and alert.

It should be a time of fun, not frustration, for cat owners who are providing proper nutrition for their kittens.

6-8 Weeks

Your kitten is now moving into his adult coat and will lose his baby hair within the next couple of weeks.

Feed them three meals of dry food or four or five meals of wet food each day, depending on their age and activity level.

8 Weeks or more

Your kitten is sexually mature, with reproductive organs fully mature and able to function.

You may feed her moistened dry kitten food if she is drinking well and alert.

Why Is The Kitten Not Eating?


Any underlying health concerns in cats can be life threatening.

Oral infection, intestinal infection, stomach upset or obstruction can lead to dehydration and possible death.


Your kitten might have an aching tooth that is painful to eat or chew.

If there is any swelling or bleeding around a tooth, take your cat to a veterinarian to have it examined and treated immediately. Feed her moistened dry kitten food if she is drinking well and alert.

Broken Teeth A broken tooth is painful to eat and chew and can cause loss of appetite and dehydration.

If the tooth is non-vital and can’t be saved your veterinarian will have it extracted and the bleeding stopped with styptic powder.


Stress is a normal part of feline life, but can significantly impact appetite and cause weight loss or irregular eating patterns.

She may be fearful and depressed since her move to a new home or she may be experiencing stress from other cats in the household or other animals outside her home.

This, in turn, can lead to a loss of appetite.


If your cat won’t eat in front of his/her food bowl, try removing the bowl completely and place her food in several different areas of the house that she frequents and encourage.

Cats can also be finicky eaters, so try offering different foods at different times of the day so her preferences aren’t predictable.

Detached From Mother

Your baby kitten is brand fresh to the world and lacks the comfort of her mother.

Because a newborn kitten’s senses and eyesight are impaired, their mother must help them develop to become independent.

They are in desperate need of their mother’s warmth and milk and want to feel safe.

What to Do If Your Kitten Isn’t Eating for Days

Consider Bottle-feeding

If your cat isn’t eating or its mother isn’t producing enough milk and the kitten is growing slowly or showing signs of dehydration, your veterinarian may recommend bottle-feeding until the kitten is old enough.

After 4 weeks, kittens are generally weaned and able to regulate their intake of milk on their own.

This can be done at your veterinarian’s office or at home but be sure to follow proper feeding techniques.

You should only use kitten formula and follow your health care provider’s instructions when bottle-feeding.

You may also give other supplements such as vitamins or probiotics to encourage further growth and development.

If you feed a chilled kitten, warm the bottle up slightly before feeding to prevent burns.

Good Environment

In order to provide your kitten with a safe, warm environment, be sure to monitor her temperature regularly.

Look for a Foster Mother Cat

If your pet kitten is less than eight weeks old and you find that it isn’t eating or drinking by itself, you should consider finding a mother cat to foster your kitten until she is.

A veterinary clinic can recommend a shelter or rescue center near you that finds homes for stray cats or kittens.

An animal shelter is a helpful resource as well, and they often take foster cats or kittens who are not adoptable due to their age or health.

Consult a veterinarian

In order to provide your new pet with the best possible care, it is important to have a veterinarian provide necessary guidance.

The veterinarian will be able to provide you with tips on bottle feeding and stimulation along with a host of other important kitten care tips.


Injecting the kitten with a warm mixture of Pedialyte or diluted chicken stock can be done daily for several days until the kitten starts feeling better again.

Put the kitten on her back to gently feed her in the cheek pouch.

Use a syringe to gently squeeze the milk or formula into the cheek pouch.

Can a Kitten Go All Night Without Feeding?

The secret to kitten care is following their feeding schedules on a daily basis.

A cat may or may not need to eat all day and night, but it is generally best to follow a strict feeding schedule where kittens are fed at least three times a day.

Do Kittens Need Feeding At Night?

Yes, kittens do need to eat at night.

They have a little stomach that can only hold a small quantity at a time and they need to empty their stomachs frequently.

If you try to feed your kitten at night and he doesn’t feed at first but after a while he starts to lap up the milk or formula, then it is OK.

Kittens can go without food for a few hours but it is best not to do this regularly.

If your cat won’t eat in front of his/her food bowl, try removing the bowl completely and place some dry food in a dish on the floor or in the kitten’s crate in case they decide to eat something later.

Also See: Can Cats Eat Twizzlers?


In conclusion, a kitten can go without eating for up to three days without dying. However, it needs to eat often or else it will die of dehydration or starvation.

Additionally, by not eating for extended periods of time, the kitten will lose strength, become dehydrated and will eventually die.

So the most important thing to remember is that you should feed your kitten at least three times a day which should be at the same time every day. Also, try to feed a kitten every few hours to avoid dehydration and starvation.