How Often Will A Cat Drink Water?


Water is essential for cat health. Proper hydration keeps a cat’s kidneys functioning properly to filter waste from the bloodstream, maintains digestive health, and regulates body temperature. Without adequate water intake, cats are susceptible to urinary tract infections, kidney disease, constipation, and other serious conditions. Monitoring your cat’s water consumption can help detect potential health issues early.

According to experts at ANIMALS Categories, monitoring water intake is an important way that cat owners can proactively monitor their pet’s health and wellbeing. Changes in drinking behavior may indicate an underlying issue, so being aware of how often your cat normally drinks water versus how much they are actually consuming can provide an early warning sign to address potential problems.

Average Water Intake

The average daily water intake for cats is around 4.5-6.3 ounces per 5 pounds of body weight The water requirements and drinking habits of cats – Vet Focus. This equates to about 1/2 to 3/4 cups per day for a typical 10 pound cat. Kittens require more water relative to their body size, around 7 ounces per 5 pounds daily. For a medium 4kg (8.8 lbs) cat, the typical daily water intake is around 135ml or 4.5oz.

Cats that eat wet food as part or all of their diet will have a lower daily water requirement, since the moisture content of the food will provide hydration. Cats on an exclusively dry diet require more supplemental water daily.

Factors Affecting Water Intake

There are several key factors that affect how much water a cat drinks on a daily basis:

Age plays an important role. Kittens and younger cats tend to drink more water per pound of body weight than adult or senior cats. Kittens need extra hydration as they grow. Older cats may drink less due to health issues like kidney disease.

Certain health conditions can increase a cat’s thirst. Diabetes, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease and other illnesses may cause a cat to drink significantly more water. Medications like steroids may also increase thirst.

The quality and palatability of the water matters too. Stagnant or unclean water can put cats off drinking. Many owners opt for cat water fountains, which offer fresh circulating water that encourages drinking.


Kittens need to drink water more frequently than adult cats. Newborn kittens get all the hydration they need from nursing, but once they start eating solid food around 4-6 weeks old, they need access to fresh water as well. Kittens should always have access to clean, fresh water, and you may need to show young kittens where their water bowl is located. Since kittens are still growing, they can become dehydrated more easily than adult cats, so it’s important to provide easy access to water and monitor their intake.

According to Favcats, kittens that are nursing from their mother don’t need additional water, as the mother’s milk provides all the hydration they need. But once kittens start eating solid food, they require fresh water in addition to milk or kitten formula.

Adult cats typically drink between 6-10 times per day. According to, the average adult cat consumes around 6.5 ounces of water daily. However, water intake can vary based on several factors.

Water intake tends to increase in warmer weather when cats need to stay hydrated. Adult cats that eat mostly dry food require more water than cats on wet food diets. Other factors like activity level, health issues, and medication can also impact daily water consumption.

While intake varies, most adult cats should drink at least 6-8 ounces of water daily. Cats that become dehydrated are at risk for urinary tract infections and other health problems. Make sure clean, fresh drinking water is always available. Monitor your cat’s water intake and contact your vet if consumption seems too high or too low.

Senior Cats

As cats age, their water intake needs often change. Senior cats, defined as those over 10-11 years old[1], may need to drink water more frequently than younger adult cats. This is for several reasons:

Kidney function tends to decline with age, so senior cats may need more fluids to support kidney health and prevent dehydration[2]. Senior cats are also more prone to certain illnesses like diabetes and hyperthyroidism that increase thirst and urination[3]. In addition, senior cats may have a hard time accessing water sources due to arthritis or other mobility issues. For these reasons, monitoring water intake and providing easy access to fresh water is especially important for aging cats.


Certain illnesses can affect a cat’s water intake. According to, when cats are sick, they may drink more or less water than usual depending on the specific illness. For example, cats with kidney disease tend to drink more to compensate for their failing kidneys. On the other hand, cats with upper respiratory infections may drink less due to congestion or not feeling well.

Vomiting, diarrhea, and fever can also lead to dehydration and increased thirst in cats. It’s important to monitor water intake in sick cats and consult a vet if you notice significant changes. Providing easy access to fresh, clean water can encourage drinking. In some cases, subcutaneous or intravenous fluids may be necessary to treat dehydration.

Water Quality

Cats prefer fresh, clean water that is free of contaminants. Stagnant water or water that has been sitting for a while can develop a bad taste and odor that cats will avoid. Cats have a strong sense of smell, so dirty water bowls or bad tasting water can deter them from staying hydrated. According to a study by Royal Canin, many cats prefer drinking from fresh outdoor sources like dripping outdoor faucets rather than their indoor water bowl (

To keep your cat drinking plenty of water, it’s important to wash their water bowl thoroughly every day. Refill it with fresh tap or filtered water. Avoid using plastic bowls, which can harbor bacteria. Stainless steel, ceramic, or glass bowls are better options. Providing multiple water bowls around the house can also encourage drinking, as does having a cat water fountain that circulates and aerates the water. With fresh, appealing water sources available, your cat will be happy to lap up the recommended amount they need.


There are some simple tips you can try to encourage your cat to drink more water (Tufts University, 2020):

  • Use cat fountains – Cats are attracted to moving water, so a cat fountain with continuously flowing fresh water can entice them to drink more.
  • Place bowls throughout home – Having water bowls in multiple spots around the house gives cats easy access to water at all times.
  • Add broths – Adding a bit of tuna water, clam juice, or chicken broth to the water can make it more appetizing for fussy cats.

Having multiple water bowls around the house makes it convenient for cats to drink. Some cats also prefer wide, shallow bowls over deep ones (, 2018). Fountains with flowing water can also peak their interest.

When to See a Vet

It’s important to monitor your cat’s water intake and contact your veterinarian if you notice any sudden changes. Signs that your cat may be dehydrated and need medical attention include:

  • Dry or sticky gums
  • Sunken eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of skin elasticity or tenting skin
  • Thick saliva

You should also consult your vet if your cat begins drinking significantly more or less water over a day or two. A sudden increase in water intake may indicate underlying disease, while decreased intake can lead to dehydration.

It’s a good idea to monitor your cat’s litterbox as well. Changes in urination frequency or volume, or signs of straining, may also suggest a health issue requiring veterinary attention.

Contact your vet promptly if you notice any major changes in your cat’s water intake or hydration status. They can help determine if there is an underlying medical cause that needs treatment.

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