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Thirsty cat? | A Guide to How Much Water Your Cat Should Drink

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Hydration is an extremely important part of your cat's overall health. Cat owners are often concerned that their cats arenít drinking enough water, or are drinking too much.

file0001637064796In this blog post we will look at how much your cat should be drinking and tips on how to ensure your feline is getting enough.

Cats, like all animals, need to have access to fresh, clean water at all times. Use a bowl that will hold a dayís water and everyday this should be emptied, washed and refilled. Donít just refill the water bowl without washing it because the water will taste bad and can become contaminated. Cats are very fussy about things in general and water is no exception. Some cats can be particularly fussy about the kind of water they will drink, demanding a certain bowl or only drinking from a running tap or fountain and of course there are the cats that prefer bath or toilet water!

How much water should my cat drink?

The broad answer is a cat should drink on average 60mls/kg per day of water. That means a 4kg cat should be drinking approximately 240mls a day (about one cup) to ensure their body functions properly. But there is no one size fits all answer for cats. This amount depends on a variety of factors such as the age and weight of the cat, the time of year, how active they are and what they eat.

Cats do not drink a particularly large amount of water compared with dogs or people. Cats get a lot of their hydration requirements each day through their food. If cats are given dry food only, they will require significantly more supplemental water to stay acceptably hydrated. Wet or canned food contain about 80% water, where as dry food contains about 10%. A 4kg cat solely eating canned food may only need to drink about 30ml of water per day, where as the same cat eating only dry food would need to drink more than 200ml of water per day.

How do I check my cat is drinking enough?

There are a few simple signs that will give you a pretty good indication to check your cat is staying hydrated:

  • Skin elasticity. Gently pinch and lift the skin between your cats shoulder blades (the scruff of its neck). If the skin bounces back instantly it is well hydrated, if however, it takes a few seconds to bounce back to normal your cat may require some veterinary care.
  • A shiny coat without dry flakes is a sign of hydration.
  • Your cat should exhibit normal physical activity and not be overly lethargic.

Is your cat drinking too much water?

Some cats actively enjoy playing in water and splashing about, but if you notice your cat at the water bowl drinking more than usual this could be an indication of a health problem. Excessive drinking or polydipsia can be caused by untreated hyperthyroidism, kidney disease or diabetes. A usual fever or infections can also make cats more thirsty than usual. It would be wise to make an appointment with your vet whenever your cat drinks more water just to rule out any of these possibilities.

It's very important to pay attention to your cat's "normal" water consumption and take note if that amount happens to change. It is often difficult to measure accurately exactly how much your cat has been drinking, especially if there are multiple cats or other animals in the household. Other signs that can indicate an underlying health issue include the following.

  • Increase in urination frequency (e.g. full litter tray or accidents in the house overnight)    
  • Change in appetite (either increased or decreased)
  • Sleeping more than normal or in unusual places
  • Change in general behaviour (e.g. hyperactive or meowing incessantly)
  • Vomiting and/ or diarrhea

What can I do to encourage my cat to drink more water?

Here are a few steps you can make to encourage your kitty to stay hydrated:

  • Always make sure the water is fresh, and the bowl clean.
  • Try using a glass or stainless steel bowl Ė sometimes plastic can leave a taste cats donít like.
  • Try filtered water Ė tap water can be too high in minerals and heavily chlorinated.
  • Try a pet water fountain, as these provide constant fresh water as well as mental stimulation.
  • Sprinkle a little water on top of your cats food Ė this works best with wet food, as this may cause dry food to spoil more rapidly.
  • Change their diet to include some wet food.
  • In the warmer months add ice cubes, these help cool the water and provide entertainment.



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