Cat Fasting: How Not Eating Can Quickly Kill Your Cat

by K Marie Alto September 20, 2020 3 min read

Cat Fasting: How Not Eating Can Quickly Kill Your Cat

As you probably know, humans can go for long periods of time only consuming water, but did you know cats can die in as quickly as two days after not eating? 

This harsh reality is why it’s extremely important to ensure your fur baby is eating regularly.

While Hepatic Lipidosis (more commonly known as fatty liver disease) has been seen in some toy breed pups, it tends to be more unique to cats. 

You’re probably wondering, what is fatty liver disease?  When your kitty begins a period of anorexia/fasting, the body begins moving stored fat to the liver in order to process it for energy. 

The fat deposits begin building up in the liver interfering with its normal function, and when left untreated it ultimately leads to death.


Essentially anything that causes your kitty to not eat can ultimately lead to fatty liver disease.  Obese kitties tend to be at higher risk. 

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Common causes include the following:

  • Pain
  • Nausea
  • Stress
  • Pancreatitis
  • Disease (IBD) and other diseases that cause the body to not properly absorb energy from food


Some of the most common systems to look for are as follows:

  • Reduced appetite / not eating at all
  • Vomiting or drooling, which is often a sign of nausea
  • Hiding / disinterest in normal activities
  • Lethargy
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the white portion of the eyes, ears, gums, or skin)
  • Dehydration
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss / muscle wasting
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    Your veterinarian will take into account the medical history you provide and will perform blood tests to look for abnormal values. 

    An ultrasound will likely be recommended to take a look at the liver, and additional tests may be needed to rule out other diseases.

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    If your kitty reaches the point of diagnosis with fatty liver disease, you can expect your veterinarian to admit your fur baby for around-the-clock care. 

    Your vet will attempt to treat the underlying cause of not eating, which may include administering anti-nausea meds, appetite stimulants, and antibiotics if an infection is suspected. 

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    Your kitty will also be given IV fluids to address dehydration. 

    If medications aren’t getting your kitty to eat on his/her own, your vet may recommend a surgical procedure to place a feeding tube. 

    This tube will allow calories to be provided until your kitty is willing to eat again.

    Has your kitty ever gone for an extended period of not eating?

    Read More Cat Care Guides 

    One more thing, if you are feeling like getting a little special something for your fur baby that is unique, made right here in the USA, 100% pup and cat safe, USDA certified organic and brought to you by a US company, check out Toe Beansonline pet supplies store!


    K Marie Alto
    K Marie Alto

    K. Marie is an animal lover, wife, kitty mom, dog auntie, writer, and co-founder of Toe Beans, a proud American family-owned online boutique pet supplies store focused on the improvement of the life of furry family members via pet parent education, better products, and advocacy. She has over 20 years of experience as a pet momma. She loves sharing her personal journey and experience as a pet parent via her blog and Facebook page where she currently has more than 30K followers (@furrytoebeans) and counting :-).

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