Tips On How To Get Your Cat To Drink More Water

Proper hydration is not only essential for humans but also for our feline companions. Cats, known for their independent nature, often have subtle ways of telling us when they need more water. This article explores the importance of hydration for cats, signs of dehydration to watch for, and practical advice on encouraging your cat to drink more water. Understanding these key aspects ensures your beloved feline friend remains healthy, hydrated, and happy.

Signs of Dehydration in Cats

Cats are experts at concealing their discomfort, making it vital for pet owners to be vigilant when identifying signs of dehydration. Dehydration occurs when a cat’s body loses more fluids than it takes in, leading to severe health issues. Here are some common signs that your feline friend might be dehydrated:

  • Lethargy: A lazy cat that is unusually tired or weak can indicate dehydration. If your normally active cat seems unusually sluggish, it’s time to investigate further.
  • Dry and Sticky Gums: Healthy cat gums should be moist and pink. Dry, sticky, or pale gums may indicate dehydration. Gently lift your cat’s lip to check its gum condition.
  • Loss of Skin Elasticity: Dehydrated cats often have less skin elasticity. You can test this by gently pinching a bit of skin on the back of your cat’s neck or between its shoulder blades. It may be a sign of dehydration if it doesn’t snap back into place quickly.
  • Sunken Eyes: Dehydration can cause a cat’s eyes to seem sunken or hollow. If you notice a change in the appearance of your cat’s eyes, it’s a cause for concern.

The Importance of Water for Cats

Water is the lifeblood of every living creature, and cats are no exception. Proper hydration is pivotal in maintaining a cat’s overall health and well-being. Here, we’ll explore why water is so vital for our feline companions:

  • Kidney Function: Water is essential for properly functioning a cat’s kidneys. These vital organs filter waste products from the bloodstream and regulate fluid balance. Adequate water intake helps prevent kidney issues.
  • Digestion: Cats require sufficient moisture in their diet to aid in digestion. Water assists in breaking down food in the stomach and intestines, facilitating nutrient absorption.
  • Temperature Regulation: Cats can’t sweat like humans, so they rely on panting and drinking water to regulate their body temperature. Hydration is important, particularly during hot weather.
  • Urinary Health: Maintaining proper hydration can prevent urinary tract problems in cats. Diluted urine helps reduce the risk of crystal formation and blockages.
  • Detoxification: Water helps flush toxins and waste products from a cat’s body. It supports the liver and ensures the efficient removal of harmful substances.
  • Joint Health: Well-hydrated cats are less prone to joint issues. Water cushions joints and helps maintain joint mobility.
  • Cognitive Function: Dehydration can affect cognitive function in cats. A well-hydrated brain is more alert and responsive.

Understanding Why Cats Don’t Drink Enough

Cats’ unique relationship with water stems from their evolutionary history as desert-dwelling creatures. In the wild, their ancestors obtained much moisture from their prey, reducing their reliance on standing water sources. This instinctual behavior often carries over to domestic cats, making them less inclined to drink from a bowl. 

Additionally, some cats are sensitive to the taste or smell of tap water, leading them to be picky about their water source. Understanding these factors is crucial for cat owners, as it helps them address inadequate water intake in their feline companions.

Tips to Encourage Hydration

Getting your cat to drink more water is essential for their health, but it can be tricky, especially if your feline friend is picky or has specific priorities. Here are some practical tips to encourage hydration in your cat:

  • Choose the Right Water Bowl: Opt for a clean, shallow, and wide water bowl. Cats often prefer this bowl type as it doesn’t interfere with their whiskers.
  • Water Placement: Place water bowls away from food dishes and litter boxes. Cats tend to avoid water near their food due to an instinctual preference.
  • Fresh and Clean Water: Ensure that the water is always fresh and clean. Cats are sensitive to odors and may avoid stagnant or dirty water.
  • Water Temperature: Some cats prefer slightly cool or room-temperature water. Experiment to see if your cat has a temperature preference.
  • Cat Water Fountains: Invest in a cat water fountain. Many cats are drawn to moving water, and fountains provide a continuous flow, which can be more enticing.
  • Ice Cubes: Some cats enjoy playing with ice cubes in their water bowl. The movement can attract their attention and encourage drinking.
  • Flavor Additions: You can add a tiny number of tuna juice or beef broth to the water to entice your cat, but do so sparingly and ensure it’s safe for them.
  • Multiple Water Stations: If you have a larger home, consider placing multiple water bowls in different locations. This gives your cat options and makes water more accessible.

Creating a Hydration Routine

Establishing a daily hydration routine for your cat can help them get the needed water. This section will guide you on setting regular meal schedules and incorporating interactive playtime with water into your cat’s daily life. Consistency is key when it comes to promising healthy hydration habits.

Monitoring Your Cat’s Hydration

Every cat owner is responsible for monitoring your cat’s hydration levels. This section will offer methods for monitoring your cat’s hydration at home, including simple observations and the skin tent test. It will also discuss when it’s crucial to seek veterinary care if you doubt your cat is dehydrated.

Q&A Section

1. How much water should my cat drink daily?

Cats must consume around 3.5 to 4.5 shreds of water per 5 pounds of body weight daily. However, individual requirements may vary.

2. What are the best water bowls for cats?

Stainless steel or ceramic bowls are excellent choices, as they are simple to clean and less likely to harbor bacteria.

3. Can I add flavor to my cat’s water to entice them to drink more?

It’s best to avoid adding flavorings to water, as some additives can harm cats. Instead, try offering ice cubes or a cat water fountain to make water more appealing.

4. Are there any health conditions that can lead to cat dehydration?

Certain medical requirements, like kidney disease and diabetes, can increase the danger of dehydration in cats. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to monitor for such conditions.

5. What should I do if my cat refuses to drink water?

If your cat consistently refuses to drink water, consult your veterinarian. They can execute a thorough evaluation to rule out any underlying health issues.


Ensuring your cat receives adequate hydration is fundamental to responsible pet ownership. Cats may not always be forthcoming about their water needs, so we must provide a safe and appealing water source. By recognizing the signs of dehydration, understanding the importance of water, and executing practical strategies, you can assist your feline friend in staying healthy and well-hydrated. Recognize that your vet is a valuable resource for concerns about your cat’s hydration and overall health.