cat drinking water

How Long Can Cats Go Without Water? How Much Water Do Cats Need? Cat Dehydration Questions, Answered!

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Jacquelyn Pica

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Jacquelyn Pica

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Knowing how to make a cat drink more water is very important. Generally, cats do not really like water but their need to drink enough water is an issue we cannot emphasize enough.

Kidney failure and Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease are two of the most common health problems in cats. They are also two of the leading causes of deaths in cats and marginal chronic dehydration could be the reason behind these health problems.

Ancient cats used to live in the deserts and they rarely consumed water. But ancient cats ate a fresh and raw food diet back then and these foods usually had about 70 to 75% moisture content. Sadly, when cats became domesticated and part of our lives, they did not really develop a “thirst drive” so they do not generally feel the urge to drink when they need to. Some cats do drink water but not all of them drink adequate amounts of it.

How Long Can Cats Go Without Water?

According to “Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats” released by the Nutrition Research Council, a cat can remain hydrated as long as the moisture level of the food he eats is at least 63%. This may seem like an easy thing to take note of but cat foods vary in moisture content dramatically.

  • Dry cat food – 6 to 10%,
  • Canned cat food – 65 to 75%,
  • Raw food – 70 to 75%.

This means that if your cat is feeding on canned or raw food that they’re well-hydrated and don’t necessarily need to drink at all!

Cats with a dry food diet are the ones at risk of chronic dehydration – unless they drink enough water.

How Much Water Do Cats Need?

This means to consume the same amount of water hydrated cats do, a cat eating dry food only has to drink at least 240 ml or 1 cup of water per day.

How to Get Your Cat To Drink More Water

Soak Your Cat’s Dry Food

You can add water to your cat’s kibble. But make sure not to leave soaked cat kibble for more than 30 minutes as it can be a breeding ground of bacteria and be a cause of tummy ache when consumed. If the weather is extremely hot, then it’s safer not leave it for more than 10 or 15 minutes.

Use an Automatic Feeder

Automatic feeders may be useful in getting your cat to drink water. Research has found that the most effective way to get a cat who eats dry kibble to drink more water is to feed them using an automatic feeder, according to Broadway Veterinary Hospital & Laser Surgery Center.

Automatic feeders can be set to give your pet food at different times. Set the feeder on regular time intervals to give your cat small amounts of food. Your cat will come to the feeder anticipating for his next meal once he gets to get used to the schedule. Make sure to place a bowl of water beside the automatic feeder. This way, your cat will drink some water as he waits for the food to drop. Your cat may eat a few pieces of cat food frequently, then drink more water, and then proceed to eat more food.

Do not forget to clean your cat’s water bowl daily since cats do not really like odors that may be sitting on the edge of the bowl. Cats can sense the temperature and taste of water so your cat might refuse to drink if he smells anything unpleasant.

Use a Pet Water Fountain

Turns out cats like drinking from running water sources more than stagnant water. Consider investing in a device that circulates the water. Some water fountains have filters and actually hook into your existing water tap so that you don’t have to worry about refilling with fresh water.

Place Water Bowls in Different Areas in Your Home

Instead of placing just one water bowl, place two or three more in different areas of the house so your cat does not need to walk around the house trying to find the only water bowl available.

Use a Shallow Water Bowl and Fill It To The Brim

Make sure the bowl shallow and is always full. Cats do not like getting wet. Your cat may refuse to drink water if he has to put his face into the bowl.

You may also add a ping pong ball to let your cat see the water level in the bowl.

Consider Giving Your Cat Wet Food At Least Once A Day

You can either choose a canned food or baby food soup as a treat. You can even mix them with more water just to get your cat to consume enough water. You may also choose to boil ground meat and serve it with the water for your cat to indulge in.

Mix Drops of Tuna Water in Your Cat’s Water Bowl

By mixing one or two drops of tuna water into the water bowl, you are attracting your cat to try the water. Do not forget to place a separate bowl of fresh water in the house too.

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