Cat Hydration Guide: Do Cats Drink Water?

cat enjoys water from tap

It is crucial for you to keep your cat hydrated at all times. 

This is a very important part of maintaining their overall health. Water is the absolute best way to do this, but there are other things you should know about proper pet hydration.

Should I Give My Cat Water?

You should absolutely provide your cat with a bowl filled with water each day, and it is important to keep refilling it as needed. While you might think that milk is ideal for these animals, the truth is that it doesn’t do much to keep them hydrated. When it comes to proper hydration, water is king.

Importance of Keeping Your Cat Hydrated

As we mentioned above, it is incredibly important for you to keep your cat properly hydrated throughout each day. This ensures that their body functions normally as a whole. In fact, it is impossible for a cat to survive if it doesn’t get a certain amount of water on a daily basis.

Signs of Dehydration

There are a number of signs that indicate dehydration in cats that you should be aware of, including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargic behavior
  • Sunken eyes
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Heavy panting
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If you notice any of these things in your cat, you’ll need to make sure they have enough water to drink throughout each day. These symptoms will only continue to get worse the longer your cat remains dehydrated.

red cat drinks from tap e1583488098869

When to See Your Vet

If you think that there could be an underlying medical condition causing your cat’s dehydration, you’ll want to take them to the vet. Look out for other signs of illness, such as persistent vomiting and diarrhea. Cats that have bad diarrhea are especially at risk of becoming severely dehydrated. There are lots of things that can cause diarrhea in cats, which is why it’s a good idea to see your vet.

Your veterinarian will most likely want to run some tests to find out if there is some condition or health problem that is causing them to be dehydrated. They will also administer fluids to your pet through an IV. It might be necessary to leave your cat overnight for observation.

How to Keep Your Cat from Becoming Dehydrated

There are lots of effective ways for you to keep dehydration from becoming an issue with your cat.

1. Always Keep their Water Bowl Filled

If you notice that your cat’s water bowl starting to get empty, you should make a point of topping it off right away. It can be easy to put off doing this, but it could lead to your cat becoming dehydrated. This is a very important thing that you’ll need to stay on top of as a responsible cat owner.

2. Choose the Right Delivery System

Some cats prefer to drink water out of a bowl, while others really like to drink from a water fountain. If it seems like your cat is hesitant to drink water, you should try switching to a new delivery system.

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3. Keep the Water Fresh and Clean

Make sure that your cat’s water is fresh and clean at all times. This will encourage them to keep drinking and stay hydrated. If there is any dust or other things in the water, you’ll want to empty, clean and refill it. This will go a long way towards keeping your cat hydrated and healthy. You never want your pet to drink dirty and potentially contaminated water.

4. Provide Your Cat with Water When Traveling

If you are traveling with your cat on a long trip, you need to make sure that they have access to water. Whether you have just gotten done flying with them or riding in the car, this is very important. 

When you go on a long road trip in the car with your kitty, bring plenty of water so they stayed hydrated at all times. The last thing you want is for your cat to get sick in the vehicle.

cat is drinking water

5. Switch to Wet Cat Food

One of the best ways to ensure that your cat stays hydrated is by switching them to wet food. While your cat will still need to drink water each day, they won’t have to consume quite as much. You can give your cat both wet and dry food, but make sure that you strike a good balance between the two. You can find the best wet food for your cat here.

How Much Water do Cats Drink?

Some cats drink more water than others based on a number of factors. The average cat consumed around two to four ounces of water each day. If your cat is drinking significantly more or less than this, they could have some health issue that needs to be addressed.

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You can tell that your cat is properly hydrated if it is urinating around two to three times daily. You’ll also notice that they are staying active and not behaving very sluggishly. Cats that are adequately hydrated tend to have a shiny, healthy-looking coat. Their skin also has a good amount of elasticity to it.


  • Pretty much all cats should be given water to drink, as it is absolutely necessary for proper hydration.
  • Even mild dehydration can cause all sorts of serious problems with your cat’s health as a whole.
  • Some of the most common signs of dehydration include lethargy, sunken eyes, dry mouth, and heavy panting.
  • It is important that you always keep your cat’s water bowl filled up and clean.
  • If you notice any dust or other things in your cat’s water, dump it out, clean it and refill it.
  • If you are going to be traveling with your cat on a long trip, you need to make sure they have access to water.
  • You might want to switch your cat to wet food, as it makes keeping them hydrated a lot easier.
  • The average can drinks anywhere from 2 to 4 ounces of water daily. If yours is drinking a lot more or less than that, there could be an underlying medical condition.