How to Get a Cat to Drink More Water

Cats have a famous stereotype of being scared of water. But the only thing to be afraid of is your cat not drinking enough of it!

Why do cats need to drink water?

Just like humans, cats need to drink water in order to live happy, healthy lives. The problem is, cats have a very low thirst drive. This means that they aren’t always drinking as much as they should. Cat dehydration can cause serious medical conditions—including kidney disease. To best set your cat up for optimal health, you need to encourage them to drink enough water each day. 

Cat drinking water from a glass

Photo by Liana Tril’ from Pexels

4 Tips for Getting Cats to Drink More Water

  1. Give them a water fountain. 
  2. Feed them wet food. 
  3. Give them fresh water daily. 
  4. Keep water sources throughout the house. 

Give them a water fountain. 

Has your cat ever gotten up into your sink to drink from the faucet? I bet when they did, they were more excited and drank more than they do when they lap from their regular bowl. That’s because cats love running water. 

In the wild, running water signals to a cat that the source is fresh. You can unlock that same instinct—and encourage your kitty to drink more at home—by giving them a pet water fountain. Small and affordable, water fountains for cats are the perfect way to keep your kitty hydrated. 

Feed them wet food. 

Wet food for cats is a lot like the name implies—wet and filled with a high amount of water. Face it, your cat probably won’t drink as much water as they need just from a stagnant bowl or even a fountain, so it’s important that your kitty gets water from other sources—like food. 

Wet food provides your cat with the essential water they need, while being disguised in a delicious meal or snack. Try different varieties like cuts in gravy, pates, or even broth toppers to find your cat’s preference. 

Give them fresh water daily. 

No one wants to drink stale, dirty water. Especially your picky cat. That’s why it’s vital you give your cat fresh water at least one time each day, and preferably thoroughly clean their bowls when you do. 

Even if you have a water fountain with a filter, you need to keep an eye on the water quality and clarity, and replace the filter as often as directed. We regularly have to deep clean our water fountain a couple of times each week because Belle likes to stick her paws in the stream to clean the litter off of her toes!

Keep water sources throughout the house. 

A lot of cats don’t want to drink water in the same area where they eat. This has a lot to do with their natural cat instincts—lions rarely bring their meal to the watering hole. To account for this, keep a couple of bowls or fountains throughout your home in rooms where your cat likes to spend time. 

Not only will this appeal to their raw cat nature, but having multiple water sources nearby will encourage your cat to drink whenever the urge strikes. After all, most humans won’t even get up for a glass of water if that means having to walk to the kitchen!

Keeping your cat healthy is a journey. 

You know that saying, “you can lead a horse to water”? The same logic applies to cats. Sometimes you can do everything right, but your kitty still won’t drink much. Don’t give up!

My favorite way to get a little extra H2O in the girls is to feed them water-based, lickable cat treats. Rainbow and Belle go crazy for them, and I feel great knowing that the two of them are getting more water into their bodies. 

If you’re worried about your cat’s hydration or have any questions about how to get your cat to drink more, take your cat to the vet. A veterinarian will be able to assess if your cat is hydrated, and what steps to take to keep them healthy. 

I know a lot about cats, but I’m not a veterinarian. Please don’t take any of the statements I give as medical advice and do always consult your trusted vet, especially if your cat is experiencing behavioral or physical changes.

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