How to Hydrate a Cat That Won’t Drink Water

How to Hydrate a Cat That Won’t Drink Water

Water is essential for the overall health and well-being of your cat. Adequate hydration ensures proper digestion, kidney function, and helps prevent urinary tract issues. However, some cats simply refuse to drink water, which can be a cause for concern. If you’re facing this issue with your feline friend, here are some tips on how to keep them hydrated:

1. Wet Food: One way to increase your cat’s water intake is by feeding them wet food. Canned cat food contains a higher moisture content than dry kibble, which can help keep your cat hydrated.

2. Water Fountains: Cats are often attracted to moving water, so investing in a cat water fountain can encourage them to drink more. The flowing water will pique their curiosity and make drinking more appealing.

3. Multiple Water Sources: Place water bowls in different areas of your home to make it convenient for your cat to access water. Some cats prefer drinking from a specific location, so providing options can encourage them to drink more.

4. Broth or Stock: Adding low-sodium chicken or beef broth to your cat’s water bowl can entice them to drink. The flavor can make water more appealing, especially if your cat is a picky eater.

5. Ice Cubes: Some cats enjoy playing with ice cubes and licking the water as it melts. This can be a fun and hydrating activity for them. However, always supervise your cat when giving them ice cubes to prevent choking.

6. Watered-down Food: If your cat refuses to drink water, add a little water to their wet food. This will increase their overall water intake and ensure they stay hydrated.

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7. Consult a Veterinarian: If your cat consistently shows signs of dehydration, it’s important to consult a veterinarian. They can assess your cat’s health and provide specific recommendations or suggest alternative methods to hydrate your cat.


1. Why won’t my cat drink water?
There could be various reasons, including illness, stress, dislike of the water source, or a preference for getting moisture from food.

2. How much water should my cat drink daily?
Typically, cats should consume around 60-80 milliliters of water per kilogram of body weight per day. However, this can vary based on factors like age, activity level, and diet.

3. How can I tell if my cat is dehydrated?
Signs of dehydration include dry gums, sunken eyes, lethargy, loss of appetite, and decreased urine output. Consult a veterinarian if you suspect your cat is dehydrated.

4. Can I give my cat milk to hydrate them?
Contrary to popular belief, most cats are lactose intolerant and should not be given regular cow’s milk. It can cause digestive issues. Instead, provide fresh water or consult your vet for appropriate alternatives.

5. Should I be worried if my cat doesn’t drink water for a day?
While it’s important to address the issue promptly, a healthy cat can typically go a day without water. However, if the problem persists, consult your veterinarian.

6. What are the risks of chronic dehydration in cats?
Long-term dehydration can lead to severe health issues, including urinary tract infections, kidney problems, and organ failure.

7. Can dehydration be prevented in cats?
Ensuring your cat has access to fresh water, feeding wet food, and using water fountains or other techniques mentioned above can help prevent dehydration. However, if your cat consistently refuses to drink water, consult a veterinarian for further guidance.

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