Do House Cats Drink Water? This is Important

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It’s common knowledge that we all need water to survive, but it can become tricky when monitoring an animal’s hydration. There are plenty of factors to consider when ensuring your cat’s hydration. So, do house cats drink water?

House cats do drink water and need water to survive. They need water to maintain proper body and brain function. Most cats drink around 1-ounce of fresh water to 0.5 ounces of dry food that they consume.  If they eat wet cat food, they may receive the minimum hydration they need.    

With so many different aspects to consider, it can become confusing when trying to make sure your cat has enough water. Stick around to find out how water and hydration affect cats and how to ensure your cat’s health by providing freshwater accessible to your fluffy feline around the clock.

Do house cats drink water?

Yes, every cat needs water to survive. House cats usually do not need encouragement to drink water if they are healthy, as they will drink when they are thirsty, much like humans would. However, some situations will necessitate encouragement.

Best Cat Water Fountain

I use a water fountain for drinking water for my house cat Charlotte (domestic Shorthair).  I rarely see her using the water fountain, but I know she does because I have caught her using it before, and I can see the water level go down.  I highly recommend this water fountain on Amazon (affiliate link):  Click Here To See This Awesome Water Fountain on Amazon.

My Cat’s Veken Water Fountain That I Recommend. Check out the Amazon Link (affiliate) Above This Photo.

Where Should I Store My Cats Water?

You should store your cat’s water in a cat water container. The cat water container that you use can matter. Water stored in galvanized cat water containers can become toxic since this material is coated in zinc which is toxic to cats and dogs. For this reason, water bowls should be made of glass, steel, or ceramic.

If you are looking at a cat water container made out of plastic or resins, I suggest getting something that is BPA-free.  The cat water fountain that I suggested above is BPA-free. 

Cat Is Not Drinking Water

There are a wide range of medical issues that could cause your cat to not drink water. Most of these reasons would require professional guidance from a veterinarian or pet behaviorist to resolve. One way to get your cat more water is to use wet cat food due to the moisture in the food.

But, there are many simple reasons which can be resolved without a trip to the vet.

Cats and water bowls

Cat water bowl placement is quite important. A cat’s water may be too close to its food bowl and there could be a problem. Some cats are pickier than others, and you may need to wash the water bowl daily or even more often to keep them content with their water source.

How do I get my cat to drink more water?

In many cases, indirect encouragement can get your cat to drink more water. Multiple freshwater sources, running water sources like water fountains, a range of containers, and various placements may encourage curiosity for drinking.

Trying out different containers or placement may also help test what the cat may like more, helping more successful cat hydration in the future.

How Can I Increase My Cat’s Water Intake?

To increase your cat’s water intake try introducing a cat water fountain. Before buying more than one water fountain, try using one, testing out some different locations, and monitoring the water level on it. Additionally, try introducing wet cat food which contains a lot of moisture.

I rarely see my cat drink from her cat water fountain but I can tell she is because the water level goes down. Also, I caught her drinking from it a couple times and it made me happy!

It’s also a good idea to test various safe water options, such as tap or bottled water as your cat may have a preference.

How To Force A Cat To Drink Water?

One of the best ways to force a cat to drink water is to trick your cat into consuming more moisture. Two ways to do this is to utilize a water fountain or replace dry cat food with wet cat food. If your cat refuses to drink water through a water fountain or eat wet cat food you should visit a veterinarian.

It’s important to note that cats cannot live long without water, so owners should do their best to add some water in other areas where possible.

Water in wet cat food

The main goal is to add moisture to a cat’s food source, as this will provide some hydration for your cat.  Switching to we cat food can be a game-changer since dry food contains around 6 – 10% water compared to wet food containing around 70% – 80% water.

Most cases of cats drinking more or less than usual could come down to environmental influences and changes. Still, it’s important to monitor your cat and try different methods, as there may be a simple solution. If your cat continues to avoid water and wet cat food then please contact a veterinarian.

Why It Is Important For Cats To Drink Water

All cats need to have efficient hydration to maintain proper brain and body function, and they cannot survive for more than a few days without water, even if they have food. The lack of water can cause a wide range of harmful repercussions, some of which will need medical attention to resolve safely.

Dehydration in cats

Dehydration symptoms include drooling, trembling, unusual urination, dry or tacky gums, a weak pulse, an elevated heart rate, panting, weakness, and a decreased appetite. A visit to the vet is recommended in the event of such symptoms.

How much should a house cat drink?

A standard ten pound house cat should drink about 8 fluid ounces of water per day. If your cat is drinking less water then try using wet cat food to introduce more water into your cat’s diet. A cat water fountain may help your cat the right amount of water daily since it keeps the water moving.

Cats usually drink in smaller quantities by slurping delicately with their tongues or even dipping their paws in and licking them. They will drink at varying points throughout the day in different amounts.

Should cats always have access to water?

Cats need to have access to water at all times, and they need to know that their water source is stable, reliable, safe, and clean. One way to accomplish this is by using a cat water fountain and cleaning it routinely. If you need professional guidance on where to place your cat’s water talk to a cat behaviorist.

Why do some cats drink more than others?

Some cats drink more than other due to many factors. The biggest factors are the food source, which may be wet or dry, the environment and weather, which may be hot and dry, or cold and rainy, as well as how much a cat drinks from its bowl.

Much like humans, cats may not drink the same amount of water every day. Thus, it’s important to monitor the cat and ensure they are drinking as normal for them.

How much water is too much for a cat?

While all cats drink different amounts, anything over 2.5 cups per 10 pounds of body weight may indicate polydipsia in cats.  Polydipsia is an issue with metabolizing carbohydrates. If the cat is over-drinking, it could indicate medical issues with the liver, urinary tract, and kidneys and may indicate diabetes or hyperthyroidism.

Here are some of my favorite cat products

In addition to checking out some other More Meows articles, I hope you’ll check out some of my favorite cat products as well.  These are affiliate links, so if you end up using them, I’ll get a commission at no extra cost to you.  These are the products I really do find most helpful.

Litter Box:  I started out with normal, traditional litter boxes for my cat.  Then, I tried this automatic litter box on Amazon (affiliate link), which helped reduce the litter upkeep.  Finally, I am now a believer in the Litter-Robot 3 Connect on Amazon (affiliate link).  This robotic litter box is not for everyone based on the price tag, but for me the benefits (very little upkeep, works efficiently, clean, mobile app) far outweighed the cost. 

My Cat’s Litter-Robot 3 Connect (with night light on) – See the link above the photo!

Cat Tree:  I have purchased a couple of this Amazon Basics Cat Tree on Amazon (affiliate link).  My cat spends a lot of time on and around this cat tree, which I position near my sofa.  She uses the scratching posts on this cat tree multiple times a day, which means she is not scratching the sofa instead.

Cat Water Fountain:  I love this cat water fountain on Amazon (affiliate link).  There are three main benefits to having a water fountain like this for your cat.  The first benefit is that it keeps water running so that your cat doesn’t need to drink still water.  The second benefit is that it filters the water.  The third benefit is that it will keep your cat hydrated!

Cats drinking water outside

Cat Drinking Puddle Water

There are various reasons why an owner should make sure their house cat gets enough water, many of which come down to basic care. Another reason is that by ensuring that your loveable feline is hydrated at home, you are also preventing them from contracting a range of illnesses and diseases by drinking from other water sources out of desperation.

Can cats get sick from drinking water outside?

Yes, cats can get sick from drinking water outside. If you allow your house cat to venture outside regularly, which I don’t recommend, you should keep in mind the risks around outdoor drinking water.  Cats are known to drink tainted water outside when they feel like it, such as water tainted by antifreeze.

Understanding the water sources available to your cat outdoors is important because cats are sometimes known to drink water clearly seen as not safe by a human.

Cats drinking rain water

Although most cats drinking rain water outside should be fine, there are some cases of rain water becoming toxic when stored in certain containers, such as galvanized steel, or when it has run through dirty areas like gutters or drains.

When cats drink rain water outside, they may suffer the repercussions of ingesting the harmful substances it contains.

Cats drinking pool water

Pools are another concerning water source outside for cats, regardless of how clean they are or what sort of treatment the pool undergoes. Although small amounts are unlikely to harm your cat, larger quantities may cause adverse side effects and health issues.

If your cat drinks pool water and does not feel well you should immediately contact your veterinarian.

Is it safe for cats to drink from puddles?

You do not want your cat drinking from puddles. It’s probable for puddles outside to have plenty of bacteria and bugs, including E.coli, Giardia, Leptospira, Cryptosporidium, Campylobacter, and many more. Ingesting such bacteria can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and other illnesses.

All cats encounter puddles outside, and it’s important to be prepared for situations like this.

Cats drinking pond water

Ponds, lakes, and swamp water is home to plenty more living organisms in addition to bacteria. This includes algae which could be toxic, particularly if the algae is green, red, brown, blue, or purple. If your cat drinks pond water and appears to be sick please call your veterinarian.

Water that has foamy residue floating on the surface is even more dangerous, and pond water treated with heavy metals like copper sulfate. Cats outside shouldn’t go anywhere near this water – let alone drink it. Contact with this water requires immediate cleansing of the cat and a visit to the vet.

Cats drinking salt water

Keep your cat from drinking salt water outside because ingesting it can cause salt intoxication, characterized by depression, vomiting, fatigue, and diarrhea. The bottom line is that if you won’t drink from a water source outside, your cat should not either.

Can I take a cat to the beach?

Cats can go the beach. While it may be fun to take your feline outside for a stroll on the beach and even an occasional swim, caution needs to be taken since ocean water contains high amounts of salt, not to mention human waste and pollution.

Will a cat drink contaminated water?

Yes, a cat will drink contaminated water. Drinking water from outside sources can cause illness at best and could be fatal at its worst. Vaccinations help prevent worsened effects, but it’s best to keep your cat indoors with plenty of fresh and clean water available.

If you are going for walks or adventures with your cat, ensure that you have enough clean water for both you and your cat. Ensuring that your cat has the freedom to drink clean water when they feel the need will help prevent them from being drawn to poorer quality water sources.


House cats do drink water.  Clean water is essential for a house cat.  You may find that your house cat does not want to drink the clean water you have set out for it.  In this case, you may need to switch to wet cat food, or if you are worried, take your cat to see your veterinarian. 

If you let your cat go outside from time to time, which I do not recommend, your cat will have exposure to many potentially contaminated water sources.  Don’t assume your cat will not drink tainted water. 

My recommendation is that if you want to let your cat outside, take your cat out using a leash and harness, cat backpack, cat stroller, or putting them into a Catio outside that is secure.  If you take your cat outside, make sure you bring your cat clean water because your cat may want a drink.

If you enjoyed this article, please check out a few more:

  • Do American Shorthair Cats Like Water? Complete Truth:  Click Here.
  • Do Burmese Cats Like Water? See The Best Reasons:  Click Here.
  • Do Baby Cats Drink Water? Read This Now:  Click Here.

Christopher Carlson

I have an Domestic Shorthair Tabby named Charlotte. She is full of energy when she isn't sleeping most of the day. I share what I learn about cats on this site.

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