My cat won't drink water
How to feed them

My cat won’t drink water, what should I do?

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If your cat’s ignoring his water bowl, you’ll be wondering “Why isn’t my cat drinking water?”. Not drinking could be bad for his health. So if you find yourself in this situation, it’s good to know what you need to do.

Why doesn’t my cat drink water?

Cats are famed for not being big drinkers, and very often this is indeed the case. It’s because wild cats are used to getting most of the water they need directly from their prey.

On the other hand, these felines also have a remarkable ability to concentrate urine. This help them where they have restricted access to water, and it was an essential for the ancestors of our domestic cats, who lived in the desert.

So bear in mind that if you feed your cat mostly wet food, which contains 70-80% water, this may well cover his needs, and could be the reason he’s not drinking water.

Another possible answer to the question of why your cat won’t drink water is because his water bowl is dirty, or very close to his litter tray, or to other places he doesn’t like.

How consequences of dehidration in cats

“My cat won’t drink water, is there a problem?”. Very possibly there is.

Cats are prone to suffer from urinary tract infections that can worsen when urine becomes highly concentrated, so staying hydrated is vital for your feline friend.

If you cat is suffering from such problems, you’ll notice the following:

  • He urinates more often than usual, and may miaow while he does so
  • He urinates outside his litter tray
  • He frequently goes to his litter tray, but nothing comes out, or just a few drops that may be bloody
     
My cat won't drink water

How much water does a cat need?

A cat weighing 4-5 kilos needs between 200 and 250ml of water each day (about a glass). He’ll get part of this from his food, part will be produced by his own organism, and he’ll get the rest by drinking water.
 
If your cat eats mostly wet food, he won’t need to drink so much, but if you feed him a dry food diet, this will only give him around 6% of the water he needs, so he’ll need to drink to avoid health problems. 

What can i do if my cat won't drink water?

There are lots of tricks that can help if your cat won’t drink water. We recommend experimenting to get to know your cat’s preferences:

  • Leave several water bowls around your house in places in where you cat spends time. Data collected by Affinity shows that an increase in the number of bowls available leads to an increase in water consumption.  
  • Use water bowls made from different materials. Some cats don’t like plastic as it can leave a taste in the water, but then again others do. Also, it’s very likely that your cat will prefer a bowl that’s full to the brim.
  • Try different sized bowls: maybe you cat will favour a small one, or he might like a bigger one so that his whiskers don’t touch the sides.
  • Place you cat’s water bowls somewhere quiet, well away from the places where there’s a lot of foot traffic, or noise from household appliances. And remember to keep them away from his litter tray too.
  • Feed your cat several times a day, or leave his food out for him to eat whenever he feels like it – eating prompts thirst.
  • Some cats like flowing water. You could try turning on the tap, or buying a cat fountain. He might just play with it, but then when he licks his paws he’s actually drinking. Other cats prefer bottled water. The best thing is to experiment and learn about your own cat’s preferences.
  • Combine dry cat food with wet, as wet will help to keep him hydrated.

So, as you can see, it’s really important for your cat to stay hydrated. If you find yourself thinking, “my cat won’t drink water”, don’t worry, there are lots of ways to encourage him. That said, if you’ve tried everything and your feline friend still refuses to drink, take him to the vet.   
 

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