So how do you get a cat to drink? It is difficult to know if your cat is drinking a lot and how to hydrate a cat who refuses to drink. Indeed, cats seem to drink little, being rarely drinking from their bowl. And especially outdoor cats who hunt and drink mainly from their prey. In the wild, the water that cats consume comes mainly from mice and other rodents.

But as far as domestic cats are concerned, their food is much drier than in the wild and they must therefore drink a little more directly from their bowl. Since cat food contains 6 to 10% moisture on average, food is no longer sufficient for domestic cats.

How to make a cat drink? The solutions to be implemented

Before a possible visit to the veterinarian, you can put in place the following solutions to encourage your cat to drink enough:

  • Give him a wet diet: Avoid dry foods and favor those that are mainly composed of water such as mousses or jellies as well as cat food. Rehydrated kibbles are also wetter than classic kibbles, which are very dry, although you can also moisten the kibbles to make them easier to eat.

  • Make it drink from the tap: Cats like to drink running water, considered by felines to be healthier and fresher, which is the case in the wild. He will be more inclined to drink from the tap.

  • Give him very cold water , especially when it’s hot. Cats love fresh water when they are not sick. If it’s hot, his water is probably a little lukewarm and he doesn’t want it.

  • Give him mineral water  : Cats will probably like the taste of natural spring water more. It is also more alkaline and therefore better for them, plus their smell will be more attractive to your cat who has a much finer sense of smell than ours, unlike their sight .

  • Add a drop or two of tuna juice or milk to his bowl of water. Cats love this type of food and mixed with water, it will encourage them to drink. You can even take salmon oil, which is even better for cats, and specially made for this purpose to make the water better for them.

  • Avoid plastic bowls , which the cat can smell. Prefer those made of wood, which are more pleasant to the touch and smell and healthier in general.

  • Give him slightly warmer water if he has a cold . Too cold water can attack the palate and cause pain. Check his gums, if they are of an abnormal color, black or white for example, they probably bother him for cold water.

  • Place ice cubes , cats like ice cubes, especially in summer. Ice cubes with tuna juice or clams will attract him even more.

  • A water fountain can also be very appealing to him if he does not like to drink from the tap.

  • Separate bowls if you have multiple cats  : Cats are territorial and won’t like the scent of another cat on their bowl. So, as with bowls and litter, it must be personal to a cat.

  • Dip his paws  : Last resort method that will force them to lick their paws.

  • Give him a rehydration liquid  : By mixing 1 liter of water with a tablespoon of glucose or honey and a teaspoon of salt. You can also find ready-made ones.

How much water should I give him?

The cat needs 40 ml of water per body weight per day. If you choose wet food, at least 60% of its weight is water. You then just have to note how much water he drinks by weighing his bowl in the morning and then in the evening to see the difference.

How do you know if a cat is dehydrated?

There are many signs that tell you if your cat needs to drink. Here are the ones you can easily check:

  • Her skin is loose  : If you loosen your cat’s skin and it does not tighten very slowly, it’s a clear sign of dehydration. Be careful, however, because his general health and fat level also influence the texture of his skin.

  • His gums are sticky  : If his gums are dry and sticky, it’s a sign that he lacks water and needs to drink.

  • He is lethargic  : A lethargic cat hides deeper symptoms that lead him not to drink. A visit to the veterinarian is highly recommended.

  • He does not eat  : There too, a visit to the veterinarian is essential, your cat cannot live by fasting for several days.

  • Vomiting or diarrhea  : A cat that is vomiting or has diarrhea will constantly become dehydrated.
  • Drowsy eyes  : Dull eyes indicate dehydration in the cat.

  • He’s panting  : If he’s panting, chances are he’s running out of water.

  • He does not urinate often  : This should lead to a visit to the veterinarian.

Why isn’t he drinking?

Your cat may refuse to drink for many reasons:

  • Dental pain  : Like tartar or gingivitis on a dental root that makes it suffer, especially if it is fresh water. If the pain doesn’t go away, take him to the vet to have the problem corrected. Remember that for good dental health regular brushing and a dry diet to avoid tartar are essential.

  • Water is too close to food or litter box  ; Yes cats are very capricious… but it is also for a reason of hygiene, which is very important in cats.

  • It seems to him that the water is dirty  : Fresh water and a daily water change is necessary. Be aware that water from the tap or a water fountain will always seem fresh and healthy to him in cats because the water in the fountain, the water flows and seems healthy to him, unlike stagnant water, bad to him. ‘wild state.

  • He is sick  : He will also not eat any more either and will show signs of physical or behavioral weaknesses.

  • Changing the location of his bowl  : Cats like their habits.

give a cat a drink

What does a cat’s daily water needs depend on?

Not all cats need the exact same amount of water per pound of body weight, this amount depends on several factors:

  • The age of the cat  : An old cat will not drink the same level of water as a kitten.

  • His diet  : If your cat only eats kibble, he will need to drink a lot, but if his diet is wet, he will not need to drink as much. The wet part must represent 1/3 of its needs.

  • Its physical expenditure  : A cat that exerts itself a lot will naturally need to drink more, except if it exerts itself to hunt and eats its prey, the content of which is liquid.

  • Diseases  : Vomiting or kidney problems, for example, will always lead him to avoid drinking.

  • Temperature  : The warmer and drier the air, the more water your cat will need.

What if he doesn’t drink?

A cat should not be dehydrated, because it is an open door to many things:

  • Constipation: The lack of liquids makes them harder and more difficult to evacuate and can lead to colon problems with bleeding.

  • Urinary tract diseases: Like cystitis or infections, which can also cause serious health problems.

  • Clots in the urine: Due to the concentration of urine to retain fluids.

  • Kidney failure: The kidneys will not filter the blood enough if they lack water. Kidney failure is the leading cause of death in cats .

When to go to the vet?

If your cat shows symptoms of weakness or illness or does not drink even after 24 hours and after trying everything, only a veterinarian can provide treatment that will directly cure the cause of the problem.

The veterinarian will examine him in detail and may need to send him an ultrasound or x-rays;

To best help the veterinarian will ask you many questions:

  • Since when is this the case?
  • What is his food?
  • Does he have a history?
  • Is it an outdoor cat?
  • Does he have a different attitude?

How to hydrate a cat that refuses to drink? The final word

It is important that your cat is hydrated, now you have all the keys in hand for him to get better. But don’t forget to deal with the problem in depth to eliminate the cause of his refusal to drink at the source.