Do cats drink water? Of course they do! But do you know how much water they need? And do you know how to get a cat to drink water? No? Then slide or scroll down to find the answers to these questions, and more!

To begin with, it should not be a surprise that getting cats to drink more water can be challenging.

Cats are inherently desert hunters, and historically, they would have gotten most of their water from their prey, for example, from mice or other rodents.

As more and more cats have moved indoors, they stopped getting their much-needed water from their prey, and we humans need to make sure they stay hydrated.

We must do this to avoid dehydration and its potential detrimental side-effects. Cats need water!

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So, How Much Water Should a Cat Drink?

Typically, cats need between 3.5 to 4.5 ounces of water per 5 pounds of body weight – per day.

If you have a 10-pound cat, they should be consuming between 7–9 ounces of water – about half an average bottle of water.

Keep in mind, the keyword here is consume, not drink, as cats don’t need or have to get their water just from drinking. 

Will Wet Cat Food Help?

A can of wet food consists of about 70–80% water. So, if your cat is eating wet food, they might get between 3.85–4.4 ounces of water from a single can.

That is, for an average 5.5 ounce can of wet cat food.

That’s half their daily water right there. But they still need the other half too, if you want to keep your felines in optimal health.

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How to Get a Cat to Drink Water: 7 Tips & Tricks

There are lots of tips and tricks to getting cats to drink more water. Here are a few:

  1. Use ceramic or stainless-steel water bowls, not plastic. This latter can retain bacteria and even smells from your detergent.
  2. Clean and refill the bowl every day.
  3. Add some flavor like tuna juice. Steer clear off onions or garlic flavorings though.
  4. Fill the water bowl to the same level to maintain a regular water intake.
  5. Make sure the water bowl fits your kitty.
  6. Tap water is sometimes treated with fluoride, which might taste – or smell – unpleasant to your cat. Try giving your cats bottled or filtered water to see what they like best.  
  7. Take your cat’s preferences into account. The water in your cat’s bowl may taste different depending on the material it’s made from, or the source of water itself. Just like many of us finicky humans, they might prefer to drink from plastic, ceramic, glass, or even stainless steel. 

The Reason Why Some Cats Don’t Like Eating Near Their Water Bowl

You’ll notice that some cats may not like it when their water bowl is next to their food.

In the wild, they would not eat prey near a water source.

  • First of all, the prey could have polluted the water and made it undrinkable.
  • Secondly, bland, odorless water next to a delicious meal is not something cats find appetizing. Or to be honest, even some of us humans.

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People often Wonder: Why does my Cat Paw at the Water Bowl?

Cats have fairly poor depth perception as well as a blind spot right in front of their nose.

This can make it difficult for them to see where the water in the bowl actually starts. So your cat may first dip in his or her paw to test the level. 

If kitty does not like the shape of the water bowl, she may prefer licking her paws rather than drinking out of the water bowl.

Cats often dislike deep and narrow food and water bowls which can push back painfully on their whiskers when they eat or drink.

Whiskers are sensitive, and cats don’t like to squish them. If the water bowl has a small diameter and the cat’s whiskers touch the sides when she tries to get a drink, she may opt to dip water out with her paw instead. A flat, shallow dish for water might encourage her to use her tongue.

Other Reasons

Your cat may be trying to make sense of her environment, or it may be looking out for predators, or might simply be playing with the water.

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A Cat’s Whiskers: A Closer Look

Cats don’t like anything touching their whiskers, as those long facial whiskers are extremely sensitive, so much so they can even detect slight changes in the breeze.

Whiskers also help with depth perceptions, as they let them know how wide an opening, like a doorway, really is.

Cats are subject to what is called ‘whisker stress‘.

This happens when pressure is put on their whiskers while they eat or drink – that is, because these long facial hairs touch the side of the bowl.

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How Cats Drink Water

Some cats prefer to drink aerated water directly from the tap, a water fountain, or even the toilet. Cats who splash their water before drinking may, in fact, be attempting to achieve a similar effect.

Some cats love drinking running water. They’ll run to the sink or jump in the bathtub, or stick their head in the toilet.

If your cat prefers drinking from a running faucet, it might be because they can hear the running water better than they can see the still water in the bowl.

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A water fountain is a good investment and one of the best things you can get for your cat (besides a wide water bottle) to make sure that they drink enough water.

Why are water fountains such a good idea? Likely because, as you’ve now learned, cats:

  • Do not like drinking from stagnant water sources.
  • Are very cautious as to what they ingest (a commendable trait).
  • They have a relatively low thirst drive.

In fact, we consider cat water fountains such a good idea that we’ve actually made a list of the best ones you could get for your feline, all here!

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Now that you’ve learned how to get a cat to drink water, take all this information and use it to make sure that your feline friend will get all the hydration it needs.

Do you have any tips of your own on how to get a cat to drink water or experiences with what to do/not to do in such cases? Feel free to share them all with us!

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