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By Jamie Stowell
4th October 2022

how much water do cats need?

Reviewed by Dr Ailsa Rutherford
Tuesday 4th October 2022

You’ve likely noticed that your cat doesn’t drink heartily like a dog. They are more likely to be sipping water and often need encouragement to drink. If you think your cat isn’t getting enough water, we have some tips for you – check out some strategies at the end of this article!

Many cat parents are concerned about their cats’ not drinking enough water. Questions like why my cat does not like water or how to get my cat to drink more water are two of the most searched cat questions on Google. So, if you are one of those people, you are not alone.

Cats are desert animals, which means they have evolved to function in a place where most animals can’t. As a dessert animal, cats get their hydration from food and not necessarily from drinking water. Hence, drinking water to quench thirst is not something entirely natural for them. If they don’t get enough water from their food and don’t compensate for its lack by drinking water, your cat can suffer from chronic dehydration.

Signs of dehydration can include appetite loss, panting, drooling, increased heart rate, lethargy, dry gums, and changes in urination habits.

Chronic dehydration and severe dehydration can cause damage, leading to chronic kidney disease. Without adequate hydration, a cat’s urine will have a high concentration of waste products and excess minerals. This urine can lead to the formation of the crystals that make up kidney stones that contribute to chronic kidney disease.

For more information on how to look after your cat’s kidneys, read CKD prevention.

The amount of water your cat should drink varies depending on your cat’s activity level, weight, diet, health condition and whether they are an indoor or outdoor cat.

Generally, your cat’s daily water consumption should equal approximately 30 ml for every 15 grams of food per day or ½ kilo of their body weight. It’s also important to note that some cats can consume water through their wet food, and cats that eat mainly dry food will need to drink more water as dry food doesn’t contain anywhere near the amount of water and moisture that wet food does.

Tips to get your cat to drink more water

Whatever your cat’s eating habits are, it is crucial to ensure that your pet has access to clean water all day/night.

Always keep your cat’s bowl clean and filled with fresh water.

Try placing their water bowls in several locations to see where your cat prefers to drink. Some cats don’t like the taste of a metal bowl and would drink better from a ceramic one.

Your cat might also prefer slightly warm water (room temperature). Cats are desert animals, and they absolutely hate cold. Hence, cold water might taste unappetising to them.

You can also consider increasing the amount of wet food you give your cat and mixing water with dry food. Keep an eye on the water level in your cat’s bowl; check it in the morning and then again at night to assess how much has been drunk throughout the day.

Cats are naturally curious and can become more interested in drinking if you add something to their water. Ice cubes will bob up and down when added to water bowls and are a great source of intrigue for cats; some cats are more interested if the water is moving - and one tip that works a treat – add a bit of tinned tuna juice to their water and watch them lap it up as they try to fish it out!

If the tips mentioned above aren’t effective and you’re concerned about your cat’s hydration, please get in touch with your vet to discuss your options.


Photo byengin akyurt on Unsplash

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