Cats do not instinctively drink water. In the wild they get the moisture they need from the food they eat. If you have a cat with a medical condition, like Kidney Disease, which we talk about all the time here hydration becomes an essential way of keeping your cat healthy and stable. So let’s look at our top tricks on how to get cat to drink more water.
How Much Water Should a Cat Drink?
If you are looking to encourage your cat to drink more we should probably back up and start with just how much your cat should be drinking in the course of a day. Cats need between 3.5 – 4.5 ounces of water per 5 pounds of body weight per day.
Remember cats are different from us humans. Cats don’t have to, per se, drink all their water. The amounts above include both consumed as water from a bowl and moisture in they consume in their food as well. If your cat has dehydration issues the best thing you can do is get your cat off dry food and eating wet food.
How to Get Cat to Drink More Water
Note that I organized this list starting with the quick wins, things that shouldn’t cost you a penny to implement. If the first items don’t get the trick done or you want to encourage you cat to drink even more then keep diving down the list.
Do you enjoy drinking water that’s been left out in a glass for a few days? Yeah I didn’t think so, and your cat does want stale water either. Things can get into their dish and bacteria can start to grow. A fresh clean bowl of water is just what ever cat looks forward too. It never fails that a furry face pops up when I swap out their water daily.
Also we want to add not only should you be changing out the water in your cats bowl daily, you should also frequently be washing their water dish as well. At a minimum I would say once a week. Often times after just a few days a slime will develop in their bowl that’s when I know it needs to be wash ASAP. I keep some extras on hand so I can put a new dish out and just run the dirty dish through the dishwasher.
Get A Water Fountain
You may have heard of this recommendation before. The running water of a cat water fountain is a natural encouragement for your cat. The sound indicates fresh yummy water for them to drink.
Ideally you will want to get an all stainless steel model. The plastic counterparts, while it will save you money, can scratch. Once plastic food containers get scratched they can breed and grow bacteria. If you want to start off with an affordable plastic version first we recommend the Flower Catit Fountain.
Try Ice Cubes
Yup that’s right frozen ice cubes! Sometimes your cat just wants some extra cold and fresh tasting water. Ice cold water is often more tempting to cats than standard room temperature water.
Not everything about ice cubes is all good though. Ice cubes can be a bit messy if your cats decide to play with it leaving you with a puddle of water to clean off your floors. If a cat decides to eat the ice cubes they are also at risk for breaking or damaging their teeth. Lastly, there is such a thing as too cold. Super cold water can upset their tummies.
The key takeaway is the cool water is the temptation here. This doesn’t mean it has to be frozen. You can keep a pitcher of water in your fridge for your cat as an alternative. There are also cooling bowl on the market, like this one, that keep your cats water at a cool temperature.
Add Water to Your Cats Food
Like we mentioned earlier cats get most of their water in the wild from their food. So if you are feeding dry kibble this is the first thing you need to stop doing. You can switched to a canned wet food or raw food to naturally give your cat more water during their meal times.
Regardless of whatever your cat is eating you can always add water to it. When doing this I try to not over do it and slow build up water over time.
More Water Locations
When it comes to water bowls and your pets you can never have too many options for your cat. At a minimum if you have a two story house I would make sure that you have at least one water dish for each floor.
Focus on finding a quiet spot that is out of the hustle and bustle of the main household. Don’t place the water dish next to your cat’s food. When food particulars get in the water it will grow bacteria and which isn’t good but also it will deter your cat from wanting to drink. Also don’t place your cat’s water or food for that matter near their litter box. No one wants to drink or eat where they poo. Instinctively cats no that water in these two no go locations are polluted and shouldn’t be drank.
If you don’t want to have loads of cat dish placed all over your house I hear you. I recommend placing a bunch out and then see which ones end up being your cats favorites. Then you can just keep the popular spots and remove the rest of the excess water dishes.
Try a Cat Broth Soup
You know how when you don’t feel good sometimes a big old bowl of soup does just the trick. Well cat’s love soup too, but of course cat soup. Just to be clear, do NOT feed your cat human soup. There are lots of human foods that can poison or kill your cat.
Good news though is you can make your own cat soup at home! Simply take a package of chicken legs with skin and bone and cover with water. Then boil together, once it reaches a boil drop to a simmer for 90 minutes.
If cooking isn’t your thing there are plenty of broth and soup cat treats out on the market. These will also help encourage your cat to get some extra fluids. For some options of cat soup you can buy, go here.
Offer Different Types of Water Bowls
While we have the most success with water fountains some cats just never go for it. Do note that it can take your cat a week or two to adjust to water fountain or any other change. Cat’s are skeptical of change and take time to adjust. Now that we have that out of the way here are a few other bowl options.
Elevated water bowls. These bowls lift food and water to your cat’s level, so he doesn’t need to bend and strain his neck—this may help cats with arthritis, encourage smooth digestion and make it easier to swallow.
Purina Hydra Care
This is a newer product that is available as a prescription only. It’s pricey so be prepared. This water is enriched with nutrients to promote hydration and it contains nutritional osmolytes to help support the absorption of water at a cellular level.
We had a miss with this product personally. Our cat refused to touch this but it was also offered to him in the last days of his life when he wouldn’t eat a thing. I would absolutely try this item again if ever another one of our cats got to a dehydration point even with subcutaneous fluids and wet food. But felt for fair transparency before you spend money on this item know it can be a real hit or miss with some cats. I have heard amazing things from others and I have also heard people have a similar experience to our cat.
Syringe Feeding Water
Much like assist feeding your cat, you can also do the same with water. It can be a bit of a battle, no one like having anything shoved in their mouth but it’s good to know if you are in a pinch. We use these syringes and follow the same rules as assist feeding. You should never aim down a cats throat. We very slowly will add to side cheek or roof of mouth. Slow is key to avoid choking.
If you are getting to this level however, I would seek veterinary assistance. At this point it would also be a good time to explore IV fluids or doing subQ fluids at home.
Conclusion on How to Get Cat to Drink More Water
We hope our tips above give you and your furry friend plenty of options to stay hydrated. Every cat owner can relate on how fussy cats can be.