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How Much Water Should My Cat Drink?

How Much Water Should My Cat Drink?

We know that feeding our cats a proper diet is important for their overall health and wellness, but proper hydration is just as essential. It can be difficult to know for sure how much water our cats drink, but there are some guidelines to keep in mind when it comes to hydration standards.

Although your cat’s recommended water consumption depends on a number of factors—like their overall activity level, their size and weight and the weather—a good rule of thumb is for cats to drink approximately 3.5 to 4.5 ounces of water per day per 5 pounds of body weight. Your veterinarian can help you determine if there are additional factors to consider for your specific cat.

The following chart is a good example of how much water your cat should be getting on a daily basis based on their weight.

Cat water guide

Cat Water Guide

What if my cat drinks too little or too much water?

Most cats, as long as they have access to clean water, do a pretty good job of staying hydrated, but it’s still important to pay attention to their intake. Drinking too much or too little water can have negative consequences. For example:

  • When your cat is drinking too much: A cat who drinks too much is probably also urinating a lot, a condition called polyuria. You’re more likely to notice inappropriate urination outside the litter box or that you’ve been scooping a lot more litter than usual in recent days than that the water level in their bowl has been dropping. Increased thirst can be a symptom of a number of underlying conditions, starting with anxiety or stress and including more serious conditions such as diabetes mellitus, hyperthyroidism and chronic kidney disease
  • When your cat is drinking too little: Cats can be choosy, so if your cat doesn’t seem to be drinking enough, start with the basics. Make sure that they have fresh water every day and that their bowl is  clean and clear of any debris in its immediate area. Barring any environmental issues, not drinking enough can be a sign of a thyroid condition or diabetes.

If you notice a drastic change in your cat’s drinking habits and simple environmental adjustments don’t make a difference, contact your veterinarian right away to rule out underlying issues.

How to get your cat to drink more water

Here are some easy ways to encourage your cat to drink more water.

  • Change the water bowl location. Sometimes something as simple as moving a water bowl to another spot can make a big difference, especially if it’s in a high traffic or noisy area or next to their food bowl (where it’s more easy to get contaminated), consider moving it to a more secluded location. You may also want to try getting a new type of bowl as some cats prefer different bowl materials and shapes.
  • Try a water fountain. Most cats love moving water. Rather than leaving your sink running all day to encourage drinking, consider a water fountain.
  • Offer them hydration through another source. You can support your cat’s daily hydration goal by adding wet food to their diet. Some formulas have a water content as high as 75%. If your cat is partial to their dry food, however, you don’t have to make a total switch over to wet. Instead, consider adding a wet food topper to their dry food to increase their water intake while still providing them with the dry food they enjoy.

Keeping your cat properly hydrated may seem like a Herculean task, but with a few key steps it doesn’t have to be. If you’ve tried all of the above options and you still feel like your cat is drinking too much or too little water, contact your veterinarian right away.