How to Get Your Cat to Drink Water

How to get your cat to drink water
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes


Just like humans, about two-thirds of a cat’s body is made up of water. Water is a crucial part of our cat’s diet, so it is essential that they have access to a clean, fresh supply at all times.

However, most cats don’t drink enough water, and forcing them to do so can be very tricky.

A typical 10-pound cat should drink between 7-9 ounces of water every day. Although cats can survive on less water than dogs, they are still prone to dehydration and we don’t want that to happen. If your cat is not consuming enough water, it could lead to other common health issues such as constipation and urinary tract disease.

Why Is It Essential for Cats to Drink Water?

Cats need a healthy amount of water to survive and maintain their health. When they live in the wild, they obtain water from their food.  This includes prey like insects, birds, and rodents.  Your domestic cat has a very different diet and gets its water delivered in a bowl or through wet food.

Drinking water is necessary for your cat for the following reason:

  • It helps maintain body temperature
  • It helps with circulation
  • It helps flush toxins from the kidneys
  • It aids their digestion
  • It aids in the transport and absorption of nutrients
  • It helps keep body organs healthy and hydrated so they can function properly, and many more…

What Happens When Your Cat Does Not Drink Enough Water?

The most obvious answer to this question is dehydration. Dehydration is when your cat uses or loses more fluids than they take in, which creates an imbalance of water and electrolytes in their body. When this happens, their bodies are unable to function properly.

Dehydration is more than just a lack of water consumption. It can be the result of medications, nursing kittens, or elderly cats with decreased mobility. 

Here are some health issues that can cause dehydration for your cats:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Diabetes
  • Heatstroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Fatty Liver Syndrome
  • Regurgitation
Cat with health issues

How to Encourage Your Cat to Drink More Water?

One in three cats will experience kidney problems in their lifetime. Many cat lovers have already had to deal with this issue at one time or another.

If you are worried about your cat’s water intake, even if they are not showing signs of dehydration or kidney problems, here are ways you can encourage your cat to drink more water:

1.  Use a Cat Water Fountain

    The most effective way to get your cat to drink more water is to provide them with a water fountain. Cats are biologically attracted by the movement and freshness of flowing water.  A water fountain is attractive because the water is constantly moving and stays fresh. 

    When choosing the type of water fountain to get your cat, make sure that you pick one that has an effective water filtering system, is easy to clean, and has low noise levels. A plus is if the fountain has a large water capacity so that it requires less refilling. 

    Our Cat Water Fountain was designed precisely with these points in mind.

    2.  Try Different Types of Cat Bowls

      Cats may also prefer a certain type of bowl. You can try using bowls that contain different materials such as plastic, stainless steel, glass, or ceramic and see which one your cat likes best. You can also experiment with the size and shape of the bowls.

      3.  Keep Water Fresh and Clean Daily

        If a water bowl or glass has been sitting out for days, you’re not going to want to drink it. The same goes with your cat; it’s probably turning its nose up at her water because it is stale and dirty. Make sure to change and refill their water daily.

        Cat drinking water

        4.  Place Water Bowls Everywhere

          Most cats are sensitive to the position of their water bowls so make sure that water is accessible enough to keep them from having that next drink. Keep full, fresh, water bowls in multiple spots, away from the food bowls, and in a quiet location.

          5.  Switch to a Wet-food Diet

            Wet food is a great source of water for cats. Canned food contains about 70-80% water so it will help your cat get a good proportion of their daily water requirement just from eating. If your cat is already on wet food, but still needs to increase its water intake, you can try adding water or broth to the food. It is important to keep in mind that if your cat does not like wet food, do not try to force them to eat it. You can try different flavors and textures of wet food as cats can be very picky about what they will eat.

            6.  Put Ice In Your Cat’s Food

              Putting ice on your cat’s food adds moisture and is somewhat like a treat to them. The ice takes on the food’s flavor and your cat is getting more water while licking the ice. Putting ice in your cat’s water bowl might work, too, as some cats prefer ice-cold water, just like we do.

              A Hydrated Cat is A Healthy Cat

              Every cat is an individual, so not everything will work. Whatever option you choose, the goal is to encourage your cat to drink more. Just be patient and do things gradually to find whatever works best for your cat.

              Helping your cat to drink water is just as important as feeding them proper nutrition. Always monitor their water intake, and if you notice any major changes, make sure to consult your veterinarian.


              • Barbara Mercer

                Do you sell water fountains? Are they with electrical cords, or do you have battery operated ones?

              • Laurie

                Keep watch inside the bowl area; it can build up kind of mold and algae inside, we clean the whole inside about every three weeks; or at least check it

              • Diane Stabile

                My new kittens, now a year old love the water fountain. My older cat watches them, so hopefully he will also indulge. In the meantime, he has two other bowls around the house. Will use your tip about ice in the wet food bowls—great tip, as they lick the juices and usually leave the meaty morsels!

              • Marianne Emelson

                Even though I was changing my 2 cats water bowls daily, my ginger 8 yrs old developed crystals in his bladder. Also being a feral when I took him in, he ate extremely fast, leading to alot of vomiting. Since I bought a constant flow watering bowl I am amazed at how much more water they are drinking, and no vet visits since Aug 2022. Thank you for all the tips.

              • Joanne

                How will I know if my cat ever drinks from your water fountain? And, then, how can I measure his intake?
                Thank you

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