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FelineMed , Licensed Veterinary Technician
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 386
Experience:  Accomplished LVT for over 10 years with a BS in Biology as well. Experience working in 2 feline specific hospitals.
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I have 2 outside cats (approximately 2 and 4 years old, which

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I have 2 outside cats (approximately 2 and 4 years old, which I am working to move inside. I brought the oldest one in yesterday evening; he seems to have adapted very well with the inside enviornment and other animals, and seems content, however, he has not eaten today, nor have I seen himdrink water or go to the litter box. The younger cat came in this morning; she was previously feral and was very frightened at first, howling loudly; she immediately hid inside a chair. I have her in a separate room, and have visited her several times during the day. She is still inside the chair, but I can reach her to pet her; she no longer appears afraid, and will purr, but of course has not eaten or gone to the litter box. How long should I allow them to go without eating (and possibly avoiding water) before I must return them to live outside?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  FelineMed replied 2 years ago.
Hi! I am a Licensed Veterinary Technician and have worked in 2 different cat hospitals for well over 10 years. I'm looking forward to assisting you!

That's so great of you to take these feral cats in! That is pretty amazing that you were even able to get them inside! Although Tabitha seems to be pretty scared, any cat in a new environment will react this way, so I think there is a good chance of both cats coming around ok after some time and working out well. If you do have other cats that were yours previously, just be careful of their interactions with the new cats, just not knowing the medical history of these new cats.

It is great that you asked about how long cats can go without eating because a cat can get very sick with a condition called hepatic lipidosis if they go for a few days without eating. There is no set time limit on when this can occur since every cat is different, however I would not feel comfortable letting a cat not eat for more than 3 days for sure. My guess though is since they seemed to be doing well and eating fine outside, then they will get hungry enough probably overnight tonight when it is quiet and eat. If Tabitha prefers to be under that one chair for now, that is fine and I would put her food under there and a litter box nearby until she feels more comfortable. With both of them though you may want to try a new more enticing food, such as an odorous can food or tuna, or even the treats as you mentioned to help them get over their fear of their new environment and eat. If they are playful cats, a laser pointer or cat fishing pole may help them to feel more comfortable and give them positive experiences indoors.

Do you know if the male cat is neutered? My biggest concern with him is that he would urinate elsewhere in the house since he is not used to a litter box....and if not neutered, that will of course not be a very pleasant smell and may make any other cats quite upset. Will he let you place him in the litter box to scratch around for a bit so that he sees where it is located and that it is an ideal surface for urinating in? You may want to add a couple of litter boxes as well to give all of the cats more options. I would offer different varieties as well such as covered vs uncovered, since you never know which type a cat will prefer.

I would certainly get some Feliway diffusers, which will release synthetic happy cat pheromones similar to how a plug in air freshener works. This can have a calming effect on cats in stressful situations.

If it really seems like even overnight that Tabitha is not leaving her spot under the chair, even to go to the litter box, she may be better off in a bathroom by herself that is not frequently used with a good hiding spot and her food and water. If she is shut off, she may feel safer with coming out to use the box and eat and drink, and as she gets more accustomed to this area, then with time hopefully she will start to feel safe enough to roam around more.

I hope all of this information has been helpful and that the cats can start to get more comfortable and eat soon!

Please do not hesitate to ask any further questions. I aim to provide you with the best service possible. If you feel I have done so, then
an excellent rating is greatly appreciated! If not, please let me know how I can better assist you. Thanks! XXXXX

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks so much for your help! I will definitely place Tabitha's food by her chair "safe spot". [She did eat 3 treats a few minutes ago, but Bobby still did not take the food that I offered.] I have cared for both cats since they were kittens, so know that they are up to date on mediciations and have been spayed and neutered; no problems there. Both cats are use to eating dry with fancy feast "topping", but Bobby still refused this. [He doesn't care for treats, so that is not an option.] I do hope you are correct, that they will adjust - I very much want to give them a good, safe "inside" home. I may need to return for more advice if they do not eat tomorrow. Thanks, again.

Expert:  FelineMed replied 2 years ago.

That is so great that they are already spayed and neutered! You've been taking good care of them then : )

That is a positive sign that she at least ate 3 treats and although Bobby has not eaten yet, the fact that he seems more comfortable is definitely a good sign. He may just be too preoccupied with everything right now to eat heh.

I feel that if you were to put them back out for one reason or another and tried to bring them back in again another time, you will probably still end up with this exact same situation. Until they get over their fear of being inside and get used to the environment, I think they will react in this same I definitely hope for their sake that they hurry up and get used to their new and better environment : )

You're welcome and this question will certainly stay open for awhile even after you rate so you can continue to ask further advice about this and give me updates


: )


FelineMed, Licensed Veterinary Technician
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 386
Experience: Accomplished LVT for over 10 years with a BS in Biology as well. Experience working in 2 feline specific hospitals.
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