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What You Should Do if Your Cat Won’t Drink Water

Help! My cat won't drink water!

Help! My cat won't drink water!

It’s no secret that cats are finicky creatures. They can be picky about their food, their litter, and even their water. If your cat refuses to drink water, it can be concerning. After all, water is essential for your cat’s health.

There are several reasons why your cat may not be drinking water. It could be a simple case of them not liking the taste of the water, or it could be a sign of a more serious health condition. In either case, it is critical to take precautions to ensure that your cat receives adequate hydration.

Keep reading to learn more about the reasons why your cat won’t drink water and how you can help them.

How Much Water Do Cats Need?

A cat’s body is largely made up of water, meaning they need to remain hydrated to function properly. Water helps to regulate a cat’s body temperature, flush out toxins, and aid digestion.

Although cats may not need as much water as other animals, they still need enough to stay healthy. In general, a cat weighing 10 pounds needs to drink about one cup of water each day. However, the liquid content of the food they eat makes up a large portion of their daily needs. They must "top-up" the remaining amount by consuming fresh water throughout the day.

Three Possible Reasons Your Cat Isn't Drinking Water

There are several reasons why your cat may not be drinking water. It could be that they simply don’t like the taste of the water, or it could be a sign of a health problem. Here are the most common reasons why a cat may not be drinking water:

Taste: Cats can be very picky when it comes to their food and water. If the water has a funny smell or taste or has a film on top, then your cat may be avoiding it. This could be a sign that your water bowl needs cleaning more often.

Unfamiliarity: If you recently moved to a newly acquired home, your cat may not be used to the taste of the different tap water. For example, if your new home has hard water, it may taste different from the soft water you had before. Try gradually introducing your cat to the new water to see if they like it.

Health Reasons: If the water bowl has remained the same and your cat is still refusing to drink, it could be a sign of a more serious health issue. Cats can develop diabetes, kidney disease, and other illnesses that can make drinking water difficult.

Make sure the water bowl for your cat is clean and away from the litter box.

Signs That Your Cat Is Dehydrated

Not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration, which can be dangerous for cats. Make sure you’re on the lookout for these signs that your cat is not getting enough fluids.

Lethargy: If your cat is lethargic and not interested in playing or interacting with you, it could be a sign of dehydration.

Panting: Cats rarely do this, but if your cat is panting heavily, it could be a sign of dehydration. Panting is the body's way of trying to cool down, so it could be a sign that your cat isn't getting enough fluids.

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Dry Skin: Check your cat’s skin and gums. If they’re dry or sticky, it could be a sign that they’re not drinking enough water.

A panting or lethargic cat may be signs of dehydration

A panting or lethargic cat may be signs of dehydration

Tips for Getting Your Cat to Drink More Water

To ensure that your cat is getting enough water, there are a few steps you can take to encourage them to drink more.

Change the Water: Experiment with different types of water for your cat. If they’re used to tap water, try giving them bottled water or filtered water. You can also try adding a few drops of tuna juice or other fish-based broth to the water to make it more appealing.

Keep it Fresh: It’s critical to make sure that the water in your cat’s bowl is clean and fresh. Change the water daily and clean the bowl every few days to keep it free of bacteria and impurities.

Make it Fun: Some cats enjoy playing with water. Try adding a water fountain to your home to make drinking more playful. The sound of running water may also be reassuring to your cat.

Cats enjoy playing with water, which makes it more fun to drink

Cats enjoy playing with water, which makes it more fun to drink

Consider Switching to Wet Cat Food

If you have a cat that typically eats dry food, you may want to introduce them to wet food to help them stay hydrated. Wet food has a higher moisture content than dry food, so it can help keep your cat hydrated.

You can either switch to wet food completely or mix it with dry food. If you do switch to wet food, make sure to slowly transition your cat to the new food so that its stomach can adjust.

Dehydration in Cats Can Be Serious

Dehydration in cats can be serious if left untreated. A dehydrated cat can develop blood clots, urinary tract infections, and kidney failure. It’s imperative to take steps to ensure that your cat is drinking enough water. Your veterinarian should be consulted if you observe any signs of dehydration.

Summary

Water is essential for your cat’s health, so it’s critical to make sure they’re drinking enough. Many factors could contribute to your cat not drinking water. Make sure you’re giving them access to clean and fresh water, and try introducing them to different types of water if necessary. Your veterinarian should be contacted if you notice any symptoms of dehydration.

Sources and Further Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Louise Fiolek

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