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Why Won't My Cat Drink Water?

Why Won't My Cat Drink Water?

It's essential for all pets, including cats to stay hydrated. This is why it can be concerning when your cat won't drink water. In this blog, our Visalia vets explain the reasons why your cat may not be drinking water and what you should do to help your kitty stay hydrated.

Why Your Cat May Not Be Drinking Water

It's essential for the health of all animals to stay hydrated, including cats. Animals usually drink when they get thirsty, however, in order to stay hydrated, each animal requires different amounts of water. Therefore, it could be possible that your cat is drinking enough water, even if it doesn't seem like they are drinking a lot.

While dogs will often lap up large quantities of water at once, cats generally only drink a small amount of water at one time.

Dogs also need much more water per kilogram of weight than cats do, so your feline friend might not require as much water as you thought.

Cats that are on a dry food diet have to drink more water than cats that eat fresh or canned food. Our feline friends that eat dry food typically drink around 1 ounce of water, whereas cats eating wet foods will drink a fair bit less as most of their hydration comes from their food.

With that in mind, you might be right, maybe your kitty isn't drinking enough water. If your cat won't drink water the cleanliness of the water, an underlying health condition, or the location of their water dish could all be possible reasons why your cat isn't drinking enough.

Signs & Symptoms of Dehydration in Cats

If your cat is dehydrated their health could be at serious risk. If your cat isn't drinking enough water they can become dehydrated quickly. Here our vets have shared a few ways you can tell if your cat is dehydrated:

  • Dry Mouth - Examine your kitty's gums. Your cat's gums should always be pink and moist. Pressing your finger against your cat's gums will make the spot you are pressing turn white, but if they don't return to a healthy pink color within a second or two of removing your finger your kitty may be dehydrated.
  • Skin Elasticity - Check your cat's skin by gently pinching the extra skin between their shoulder blades to form a tent-like shape. Once you let go your kitty's skin should snap right back to normal in less than a second. If your cat's skin doesn't snap right back, your feline friend could be dehydrated.
  • Panting - Unlike dogs, cats don't often pant. If your feline friend is panting they may be dehydrated.
  • Constipation - Do a litter box check. When cats are dehydrated they often become constipated. If your cat hasn't been passing as much stool, as usual, dehydration may be to blame.
  • Sunken Eyes - Take a good look at your cat's eyes. If your kitty's eyes seem to lack focus or appear sunken or dull, dehydration may be the cause.

If you notice your kitty showing signs of dehydration call your primary care vet or our Visalia emergency vets immediately. Dehydration could be fatal for cats, and if your kitty is already showing these symptoms they are probably severely dehydrated and require veterinary care.

Ways to Hydrate a Cat That Isn't Drinking Water

If you are worried that your cat isn't consuming enough water, but they aren't displaying any symptoms of dehydration there are several things you can do to increase the amount of water your cat consumes.

  • If your cat eats dry food switch to canned.
  • Provide fresh water daily. Many cats won't drink water that has been sitting for an extended period of time.
  • Try a different bowl or a bowl that provides running water for cats to enjoy.
  • Ensure that your cat's water bowl is not near their litter box. If it is, move it to a better spot in the room or a different room altogether.
  • Try moving the bowl to a different location (even if it's not near the litter box).

Serious Health Problems in Cats Linked To Dehydration

Call your vet straight away if you think your cat isn't drinking enough water. Dehydration could be a sign of a severe underlying condition like heat stroke, diabetes, or kidney disease. When it comes to your cat's health it is always best to err on the side of caution.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you are worried that your cat isn't drinking enough water call our Visalia emergency vets immediately to arrange an examination for your feline friend.

Compassionate Emergency Care for Pets

Tulare-Kings Veterinary Emergency Services is an after-hours emergency animal hospital providing urgent care to cats and dogs from Visalia and surrounding areas. Contact us right away if you are experiencing a veterinary emergency.

(559) 739-7054 Contact