This is a commonly asked question and I’ve not yet seen a really good answer. When you ask how long a domestic cat can survive without food you are presuming that the cat has access to water and therefore you are asking for how long a cat can survive on water only. Technically, the answer to that question would be about 1-2 weeks according to my research. The outcome depends on the cat’s age and health and indeed the circumstances.
But what if the cat has access to food only and no water? How long can a domestic survive without any water? The classic answer to that question is that on average a cat might survive for about 3-4 days as a maximum according to my research because water is vital to survival.
But this is the critical point that I want to make in this short post. If a cat has access to food but no water, they do, in fact, have access to water not in liquid form but as part of the food that they eat.
And therefore, if you are asking how long a cat can survive without water it will be longer than the typical 3-4 days if they are also eating wet cat food or eating mice. Both wet cat food and mice have an approximate 70% water content.
So, the domestic cat just eating mice or wet cat food is in fact ingesting quite a lot of water. And here is another very important point. The wild cat ancestor to the domestic cat can live off prey without water for a very long time, somewhat like the sand cat which is the only true desert cat.
The sand cat can live without water permanently, obtaining all their water from their prey animals. This ability wouldn’t apply to the African wildcat because they are not a true desert cat but the point that I am making is that without water they can survive for longer than the 3-4 days commonly stated on the Internet regarding the domestic cat.
To conclude, a domestic cat can survive without water provided they are eating wet cat food or have access to prey animals like mice for, I would estimate, up to a week perhaps more. It may be as long as two weeks as they will be ‘drinking’ water.
And a domestic can survive without food but with access to water for a similar time in my estimation.
The point I want to make is that food contains water and this is a point that I have not seen raised in other articles on this topic.
Turning to online news media stories, I have seen several in which a domestic cat has been trapped inside say a container for upwards of one month and survived. It was assumed that the cat had access to some water perhaps condensation on the inside of the container but no access to food. On the basis that the story is true, it is probable that a domestic cat can live longer without food with access to water than is often stated on the Internet.
RELATED: How long can a domestic cat go without food? This is an earlier post.
P.S. There is perhaps another point worth making and that the domestic cat has nine lives. That’s the well-known saying. And the reason why they have nine lives is because they are great survivors. And they are great survivors because they can use their physical attributes and indeed their intelligence to help them survive. Their intelligence is geared up to hunting and survival which includes defending themselves.
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