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What to feed a cat without cat food? (When run out of cat food)

Did you forget to stop by the store and pick you cat up food? Do not worry we have all forgot to get cat food and have run out. Many times this is late at night and the stores are also all closed. You may now be looking through your house trying to figure out what you can safely give your cat to eat. There are many human foods that are safe for your cat that you can try.

What can I feed my cat when I run out of cat food?

If you have ran out of cat food and looking for something that you can feed your cat these are a few things that are okay to feed your cat until you can get them some more cat food.

  • Boiled chicken
  • Tuna
  • Canned chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • Rice
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Carrots
  • Banana
  • Oatmeal 

Many of these you can find around your house or easily cook for your cat so that they can eat. When feeding your cat a homemade diet it is best to try to include a meat, carb and vegetables or fruit to help them have a balanced diet. 

How much food can a cat survive on?

While your cat can survive for a few days on just a little bit of food they will need to have a normal amount of food to sustain life for a long time. Your cat will need to eat 25 to 30 calories each day. An average 10 pounds adult cat will need to eat about 250 calories to 300 calories each day. They can survive on a smaller amount of food than they normally eat. Most cats will need to eat at least 1/4th a cup to ½ a cup a day. 

How long can a cat survive without food?

Your cat can live a few weeks without food. While this will lead to many health issues, especially if they are overweight. Your cat can only stay health without eating for a day or two. 

When your cat does not eat, their body breaks down the extra fat for energy and fuel for the body. If your cat is not eating at all their body will quickly break down this fat which can lead to a disease called Hepatic Lipidosis or fatty liver disease. 

What is Hepatic Lipidosis

Hepatic Lipidosis is the medical term for a fatty liver. This occurs when a cat does not eat food which leads to the fat in their body quickly breaking down causing fat to build up in your cat’s liver. This will prevent the liver from doing its normal job of filtering toxins out of their body. This can lead to your cat getting very sick.

Signs of a cat with fatty liver are:

  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargic
  • Diarrhea
  • Not eating

All of these signs would indicate that your cat is very sick and needs to see your vet right away. Your vet will wants to give your cat IV fluids and possible feeding tube to help provide your cat nutrition. 

Can I make my cat food each day?

If you want to cook for your cat each day there are many great recipes that you can use to cook your cat their food. It is best to make sure that you are feeding a well-balanced diet. This is a good recipe to use to feed your cat

  • 1 cup of chicken, fish or turkey (no oils, butter or seasoning)
  • 1 cup of cooked brown or white rice 
  • ¼ cup of broccoli that has been steamed and mashed up into small pieces
  • ¼ cup of carrots that have been steamed or boiled and mashed into small pieces
  • A few tablespoons of unsalted chicken broth

When you feed your cat this meal, it is best to give them about 1/4th of cup at a time. Your cat may be very picky and still not want to eat this diet. 

When looking to make a homemade diet for your cat, speaking to a veterinary nutritionist for the best diet formulation or using an online diet creator site like will help you make sure that your cats food is completely balanced and that they receive the proper nutrition for them to stay healthy. 

What foods should I Avoid when feeding my cat?

There are many things that are toxic to your cat and should be avoided such as: 

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes/raisin
  • Onions/ Garlic
  • Milk or cheese: many cats are lactose intolerant and milk products can cause them to have diarrhea. 
  • Bacon, hotdogs, sausage: These are high in fat and can lead to your cat having GI issues like vomiting and diarrhea. 
  • Avocadoes
  • Bread dough and yeast
  • Mushrooms
  • Anything with xylitol

These things are very toxic to cats. If your cat eats any of these things, it is best to see your vet right away. The sooner that your vet sees a vet after eating these things the better the prognosis. 

How long can my cat go without water?

While your cat may be able to go a few days without food they cannot live very long without water. Your cat will need fresh access to water each day. They can survive only 2 to 3 days without water. Most cats will find a place to get food and water if they live outside to survive. Cats are great at hunting for prey and finding water in any place possible. 

Final thoughts

If you forgot to buy your cat food and looking for something to feed your cat. These are a few great things that you can safely feed your cat. Your cat will only be able to go a about a day without any food. After that you will notice that your cat starts to get very sick. Your cat should always have fresh clean water available at all times to help prevent them from becoming dehydrated. If your cat is not eating because they are sick after a few days of not eating, they need to see your vet to see why they are not eating and get them started on treatment to help them start to eat again.