cat drinking water

Is Your Cat Drinking Enough Water? Here’s How to Find Out

Last Updated on January 31, 2023 by admin

Hydration is extremely important for your cat. Did you know that 3% of the cats seen by veterinarians suffer from Feline Lower Urinary Tract Diseases (FLUTD)? Cats that only eat dry food have a higher risk of FLUTD. Kidney issues can drastically affect the health and lifespan of your cat. The best way to keep these issues at bay so your cat stays healthy is to ensure that they are always well hydrated. Simply providing access to water is not enough to ensure cats drink plenty of water. You need to monitor the situation and pay attention to signs of dehydration or inadequate water intake.

Even if you do everything right many cats still don’t drink enough water.

If you only feed your cat dry food, you also need to make sure that they get more water to balance out the dehydration caused by dry food.

Did you know that 20-25% of cats suffer some form of kidney issue? It only gets worse as the cats get older. Maintaining proper water intake will ensure that the cat is able to expel toxins and prevent the development of kidney stones. However, it’s important to note that in addition to adequate water and good nutrition, you must also minimize any stress to your cat for true optimal health. All the best food and water you can provide will not keep your cat happy if they are constantly stressed out or starving for affection.


Cats Slack Off On Hydration

Recommended Water Intake

The general rule for hydration is for your cat to get 4 ounces of liquid per 5 pounds of body weight. The water included in food counts toward hydration so if you feed them wet food they will need less water. The chart below should give you a general idea of how much water they need. The average weight of most house cats falls between 8 to 12 pounds. A regular can of soda is 12 fluid ounces.

Weight (pounds) Water (ounces)
5 4
10 8
15 12
20 16
25 20

When you first get a cat or haven’t had many cats it’s hard to know if your cat is actually drinking enough water. It also doesn’t help that cats don’t need as much water as dogs and can make do with much less because they originally evolved in dry conditions. However, inadequate water intake over the course of a cat’s life will only lead to more problems down the road.

A Cat Drinking Too Much Water is Also a Danger Sign

Also be aware that if your cat is drinking a lot of water it could be a sign of health issues. Cats can also get diabetes and causes symptoms such as increased thirst and urination. Just as not enough water can lead to kidney problems, drinking too much water can be a sign that the cat’s kidneys are not functioning properly. Excessive water intake can be a sign of diabetes, kidney failure, glomerulonephritis (an inflammatory kidney disease), amyloidosis (a protein metabolism disorder), and hyperthyroidism. You should especially be concerned if your cat’s behavior changes suddenly. Usually it will be accompanied by other signs and symptoms of illness. If you notice your cat drinking too much water all of a sudden, get them checked by a veterinarian to be safe.

How to Get Your Cat to Drink More

Even though drinking too much water can signal health issues, if your cat is healthy it will only drink as much as it needs. It is still a good idea to encourage your cat to get enough water by creating an environment that makes your cat want to drink water.

Milk Is Not the Answer

Don’t substitute good old fashioned water with milk or anything flavoured just because your cat isn’t drinking enough water. Milk for human consumption is actually not fit for cats despite what old cartoons and movies have you believe. Most cats are lactose intolerant and can only drink milk that is specially formulated for cats. However, replacing water with cat friendly liquids just for water intake will only complicate things for you and the cat since it will require other dietary adjustments. Otherwise your cat will be getting too many calories.

Instead you should make sure that the water is drinkable, readily available, and served in a way that is enticing to your cat. In this article we will give you some easy tips to implement along with some alternatives that are sure to work.

Keep the Water Fresh

Just as cats are very clean creatures they are very particular about water. Water should be changed daily at the very least and their bowls should be rinsed thoroughly. Cats hate stale water and will avoid it if they can. Keeping the water fresh and the bowl clean will ensure that your cat isn’t drinking bacteria infested water.

Also make sure that the water bowl is a good fit for your cat. Your cat may simply prefer a different bowl. Ceramic bowls are usually a favorite but your cat might prefer plastic or metal. If you think this might make a difference try a few materials and sizes. Also these preferences might change as your cat matures from kitten to adult to senior.

Have Multiple Watering Stations

Another tip is to place water bowls through out the house. Cats like to drink in different locations so having more watering stations can increase your cat’s water intake.

Try Different Water Serving Methods

If your cat still doesn’t drink more water, it could be the way you serve the water. Some cats don’t like certain water bowls or drinking from water bowls at all. You can first try different types of water bowls. You may find that your cat prefers a certain kind of bowl and will drink more. There are also bowls with water dispensers attached to it as well as hanging water feeders. These are all worth experimenting with to encourage hydration.

Get a Water Fountain

Cats love fresh and moving water. There’s no need to install a full-sized water fountain but there are many great options for cats. You should be able to find recirculating water fountains especially designed for pets. Some models also come with filtration units to make the water more suitable for cats. In some municipalities tap water isn’t even fit for human consumption. Fountains with filtration units formulated for cats ensure your cat gets water suited to them.

Just remember that these fountains require more maintenance than simple water bowls. You need to set a regular cleaning schedule to disassemble the unit and do a deep clean of the water pump unit at least once a month along with changing out filters. This will sometimes involve circulating a non-chemical cleaning agent like citric acid away from the cat to sanitize the entire unit. Otherwise the pump and inner chamber of the fountain will get infested with bacteria causing the water to get slimy and nasty. If you are not able to commit to a cleaning schedule definitely avoid this option.

Some people leave their tap dripping to give their cats something of a compromise between fresh flowing water and the water bowl.

Separate the Watering Station

One common mistake many people make is putting all the cat necessities in one location. You especially want to keep the litter box away from the water. In fact cats also prefer the water to be away from the feeding area as well. Cats have evolved to drink, eat, and relieve themselves in different places since it decreases the risk of contamination. That’s how hard wired a cat’s sense of cleanliness is. Of course, this might not be feasible for some living spaces but at the very least try keeping the water far away from the litter.

Incorporate Wet Food

Water isn’t the only source of hydration. You can increase their hydration by switching to wet food or incorporating more of it into their diet. Since dry food increases the need for water consumption it will also make it easier for your cat to be hydrated since wet food also decreases the need for water. Just make sure to do it gradually and make sure your cat is cool with the change. Too much of an abrupt change from dry to wet can cause loose stools and give your cat problems.

High Tech Solutions

If you are still concerned that your cat isn’t getting enough water or want to get more accurate information, there are a number of high tech water fountains that can measure your cat’s water intake so you can monitor it through a dedicated app. These might be a good fit if you are busy and out of the house for most of the day.

Water is Life

Paying attention to your cat’s water intake is a very important aspect of keeping your cat healthy. Cats can be very picky with their water and can get away with slacking on their water intake for a while when they are healthy. However nothing beats keeping your cat hydrated with good clean water to ensure they live a long and healthy life. Each cat is different and you might not even realize your cat is not getting enough water. That’s why it’s important to take the time to observe your cat’s drinking behavior and take appropriate steps to keep them hydrated and healthy.