How much water should cats drink?

Cats need access to fresh drinking water every day so they can thrive. But how much water should cats drink, exactly? Find out how to keep your cat hydrated for optimal health and longevity.

How much water should your cat consume in a day?

Domestic cats have evolved from desert hunters who were able to get most of their hydration from their prey. Because housecats don’t usually spend much time at their water bowls, a common question vets get asked is: ‘do cats drink water?’

The answer is ‘yes’ – cats need to consume water in order to survive.

How much water do cats drink? As a general rule, an average-sized cat (i.e. 4 kg) needs approximately 1 cup of water per day so their body can function properly.

It needs to be noted however that if your cat is given wet food as part of their diet, they will need to drink less water depending on the moisture content in the products. We advise talking to your vet about the best water intake for your cat depending on their specific diet.

Another consideration is the cat’s environment. Just like humans, cats need to drink more water during the hotter months – which is why it’s extra important to refresh your cat’s water bowl if you live in a warm climate.

How do I check my cat’s water intake?

If you are concerned that your cat might not be drinking enough water, we recommend measuring out the exact amount in their bowl at the same time each day. Then, it’s simply a matter of measuring how much water is left the next day to see how much they have consumed.

It’s also possible for a cat to drink too much water. If you notice your cat drinking more than usual, this could be a sign of feline diabetes or hyperthyroidism.

If you are worried about your cat for any reason, you should take them to your vet for a check-up.

Signs your cat is dehydrated

If you suspect your cat is not getting enough water, here are some signs to look out for:

  • Loose skin – When your cat is relaxed, gently pull up the area of skin over their shoulders. If their skin stays ‘tented’ for a moment (instead of quickly sliding back) this could be a sign that they’re dehydrated.
  • Dry gums – Healthy, well-hydrated cats will have moist gums. If your cat’s gums seem sticky or tacky, this could show they’re not getting enough water.
  • Lethargy – If your cat seems overly tired or low-spirited, they could have a health problem.
  • Reduced appetite – One of the strongest indicators that your cat isn’t well is if they lose interest in food. If it’s been more than 24 hours since your cat last ate, you should take them to the vet immediately.
  • Less urination – If you notice your cat isn’t using their litter box as much as usual, this could point to a problem. Diarrhoea is also a sign that your cat could be dehydrated.
  • Panting – Although panting in hot weather is normal for dogs, it’s abnormal for cats. If you see your cat breathing differently, take them to a vet as soon as possible.

How to get your cat to drink more

Cats are fussy creatures, so it can sometimes be difficult to make sure they’re getting enough water. Here are some ways you can encourage your cat to increase their intake:

  • Invest in a drinking fountain – Cats are instinctively drawn towards fresh, bubbling water. Plus, a drinking fountain will filter the water and keep it fresh.
  • Find the right spot – Make sure you don’t put your cat’s water next to their litter tray, because they won’t drink from the same place where they go to the toilet. They also like to drink and eat in places where they can look around and feel safe.
  • Provide options – It can help if you put more than one water bowl in different locations.
  • Include wet food in their diet – By giving your cat wet food alongside their complete dry food, you’ll be helping to make sure they stay hydrated.
  • Keep it fresh – Wash your cat’s water bowl and refresh the water every day. Cats will reject water if it doesn’t smell fresh.

Caring for your cat

A simple thing like changing your cat’s water will make sure your feline friend stays healthy and bright. By keeping an eye on their water intake, you’ll be helping them to live a long and happy life. It’s the little things that count!