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How much water should my cat drink?

Tabby cat drinking water advice

Is your cat drinking enough water?

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Does your cat drink enough water? Or is this something you've never thought about before? Well, keeping your cat hydrated is essential for their long term health, and there's much more to it than simply leaving out a bowl of fresh water.

By Ashley Murphy

So here are a few handy tips, including why some house cats struggle to drink water, what you can do to encourage them, and how changing up their meals might help. 

Should I be concerned if my cat doesn't drink a lot of water? 

Yes! Water is one of the most important things for any living organism. It breaks down food, generates energy, transports nutrients throughout the body, and regulates temperature. 

How much water should a cat drink in a day?

You should always make sure your cat is drinking enough water. A cat's water intake will vary depending on their age, size, and health. But, generally speaking, a healthy adult cat requires around 50 ml of freshwater for every kilogram of bodyweight. So if your kitty weighs 4kg, they'll need 200ml every day. 

What causes kidney disease in cats?

Staying hydrated helps flush toxins from the body. So increasing your cat's water consumption is a great way of minimising their chances of developing certain health problems, including kidney disease and urinary tract disease (UTIs).

Find out more about kidney disease

What are the symptoms of kidney problems in my cat? 

Kidney disease is a serious problem. If left untreated, the consequences can be fatal, so you need to recognise the early warning signs. 

Is your cat suffering from kidney disease? Here is how to treat your cat

Common symptoms of kidney disease in cats include:

  • Frequent urination or no urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Repeated bacterial infections and UTIs
  • Loss of appetite and rapid weight loss
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Blood in urine or cloudy urine
If you notice any of these symptoms, call a vet ASAP.

How to make my cat drink more water? 

There are plenty of things you can do to encourage your cat to drink more water. To start with, make sure you regularly refill their water bowl with fresh water. You can also add a few ice cubes to make it more refreshing. If you've got more than one feline friend, use multiple water bowls. Cats can be put off by the smell of another kitty, so make sure each cat has its own bowl. And one of the best things to use to get a cat to drink water is a specially designed kitty fountain.

Why do cats need a fountain? 

Cats prefer to drink running water. It replicates how they would drink in the wild. Like many other animals, cats are naturally attracted to free-falling or moving water sources that you'd find in forests and mountain ranges, like streams, brooks, and waterfalls. You can pick up decent water fountains from any good pet store or online retailer.

Why does my cat put her paws in her water before drinking it?

Some cats don't like drinking out of a bowl. For example, does your cat ever dip their paws in the water then start licking them? Well, it might be because they don't like the sensation of their whiskers brushing against the edges of the bowl as they drink.

How to make sure your cats drink enough water? 

We all know how much cats love to drink milk. In fact, many kitties will stroll right past the water bowl if they see a tasty saucer of milk. However, milk should never be used as a substitute for water. Milk is a treat to reward your cat. Too much will cause digestion issues. And with milk's naturally high sugar content, your pet cat might start piling on the pounds.

How to keep a cat hydrated that won't drink water? 

If you still struggling to get your cat to drink more water, switching up their diet can help keep them hydrated. Many cat owners prefer dry cat food. It's convenient, lasts longer, and the best brands are packed with goodness. 

But wet cat food ( the food you find in tins and pouches) has a much high moisture content, which helps your cat get all the water it needs. You could introduce a few wet meals each week or even go for a half and half wet/dry food mix.

For most kitties, a few changes to their environment or routine will encourage them to drink more water. And you don't have to stick with one method. Try a few out at the same time, including making a few slight adjustments to your pet's diet. This should normally do the trick. However, if you don't see an increase in your cat's drinking habits or they start refusing water altogether, speak to a specialist for more advice.