Did you notice that a lot of cats don’t drink water after their meals? That is because most of them don’t actually like to drink water. Cats are mammals so, like most mammals, a cat’s body is made of 2/3 water.
So water is critical for the body as it keeps the system functioning well. The system includes the nervous system, cardiovascular system, digestion, kidney, and metabolism. If a cat doesn’t drink the fair share of water, it could lead to dehydration and eventually death.
So how much water should a cat drink? It depends on some factors.
To understand the need of water, you need to know the basic biology or the biological structure of your cat. Cats are descendants of desert dwellers and those dwellers got their water mostly from their prey like birds and small mammals. They didn’t need to drink extra water then.
To think of your cats, they are house cats, nothing like those wild ones. House cats eat commercial canned wet food which contains a high percentage of water. If your cat is eating wet food, it will not need extra water to drink. The cat might drink roughly 1 to 2 ounces daily. But if your cat is fond of dry food, water is essential as dry food contains only 10% water. To meet dietary requirements, your cat needs to drink several ounces of water in a day.
Some factors such as environment, health, age, etc can increase your cat’s water needs. Again, hot weather can also make them drink more water. Some health conditions like hyperthyroidism, diabetes and kidney problems can lead your cat to drink more water. If you see that your cat is active, in good health, eats properly and has shiny fur then your cat is healthy and fit. If they drink a little bit more water, nothing to worry about.
If your cat who rarely drinks water suddenly starts frequent drinking, consult your veterinarian. You can check at home if your cat is dehydrated or not. Pull up the loose skin at the neck of your cat and if it shrinks back quickly, your cat is hydrated. If it takes longer, your cat is dehydrated. If your cat is dehydrated, it needs to drink more water but making a cat drink is a challenge.
If your cat has urinary problems or dehydration, it needs to drink more water. Even if you feed only dry food to your cat, it will need water. As predators, cats used to get enough water from their prey. But house cats also can’t understand the signal when they need to drink. That is why wet food is the best food for your cats.
How to make your cat drink more?
If your cat is unwilling to drink the amount of water it needs, here are some ways to make it drink.
- Provide fresh, clean and multiple bowls to your cats. Keep the bowls in multiple places so that your cat sees it. Keep the bowls clean and refill them at least twice daily.
- Don’t use plastic bowls. The chemicals in the plastic can contaminate the water leading to an unpleasant taste. Use ceramic, stainless steel or glass bowls.
- The bowl should be big enough so that your cat can get its head into it.
- You can even arrange a little water fountain for your cat if he/she likes to drink from such things. You can even put a glass of water on the table. Sometimes, cats drinks on top of the table.
- You can even sprinkle a little water on your cat’s wet food. Don’t do it while giving dry food as the food might spoil soon.
- Use filtered water instead of tap water as tap water may contain heavy chlorine.
- You can even use bottled and distilled water in place of filtered water.
But keep in mind, most of the cats are somewhat fascinated with running water. So if possible, keep the water running to lure your cats to drink more.
One thing you also need to know that cats don’t like congested places if you put them to. They like doing whatever they want. So while putting water bowls in different places, don’t put all of them in boxed areas. Keep them everywhere, so that whenever your cat is panting or feeling hot, he/she can drink.
How much water your cat needs?
An adult cat needs approximately 261 ml of water to drink every day. If you think of both dry and wet food, dry food contains 502 kcal per cup. An adult cat should eat 0.52 cups of food per day. As dry food contains 10% water so 0.52 cups contain .052 cups water or 12.3 ml. If you subtract this amount from 261 ml, you get 249 ml water that a cat needs to drink per day from the bowl.
On the other hand, canned wet food contains 88 kcal per 85 grams. If your cat eats three (small) cans per day, he/she will get 264 kcal. Most of the canned food has 68 to 78% water in it. If you take it on average 73% then the equation 73% of 85 grams times three is 186 grams or 186 ml of water. If you subtract 186 from 261 ml, you get 75 ml which is the outside water your cat should drink per day.
If it seems too tough for you, the easy things are, dry food contains a little amount of water, so your cat needs to drink more water from the bowl. Wet or canned food contains 2/3 of the water needs so your cat doesn’t always drink from outside.
You already know that cats don’t want to drink water. But water is important for their survival. So, it is necessary for them to drink. Cats mostly don’t like drinking water when the water is still. Flowing water attracts cats. To stay hydrated and free from all types of diseases, make your cat drink water as per his/her need.
Why proper hydration is important for cats?
What is hydration? Hydration is the stable electrolyte state of certain fluids and minerals inside the body. Maintaining proper hydration is very important for your cats. Water also helps digest foods. So water is essential in every case.
Signs of dehydration
If you see the following signs, you will know that your cat is dehydrated.
- Dry mouth
- Decrease in skin elasticity
- Loss of appetite
- Depression and
How to tell if your cat is getting enough water?
Check if your cat urinates 2 to 3 times every day. If you see no signs of enough urination, then your cat is not drinking enough water. Observe the normal physical activity of your cat. Check out if she/he is playing as usual. A shiny coat with no dry flakes is another sign of hydration. Skin elasticity also tells you the story. Pull the skin at the base of the neck and release. If the skin shrinks back right away, the cat is hydrated. And if it doesn’t, your cat needs to drink more water.
If your cat does not drink enough water, it might develop chronic low- grade dehydration and bladder problems. When your cat drinks insufficient water, he/she may get a life-threatening blockage in the urinary tract along with painful crystals. Like humans, cats need enough water to have a healthy body.
If you see your cat is not getting enough water, try feeding wet food more than dry ones. You can mix dry and wet food together to meet the need of water. Even sprinkle a little water over the wet food before your cat starts eating. If he/she is not willing to drink extra water from bowls, the water it gets from the canned food will do the work.