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My Cat Doesn’t Drink Water: What Should I Do? 13 Practical Tips

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Cat Drinking

Maybe you have already asked yourself this question: “My cat doesn’t drink water: What should I do?”.

A cat needs to drink a certain amount of water a day to stay in shape. We are talking here about 40 to 60ml of water per kg. Amount which will increase further in the event of high temperatures.

Several variables can curb a cat’s desire to hydrate. In this article, I will therefore go over these variables and give you some tips and tricks to help your cat drink more water.

It should be understood that instinctively the cat is not a heavy drinker.

Formerly in nature through hunting and the prey it devoured, it naturally hydrated by absorbing the water it contained (70% water).

Few cats today eat exclusively on prey, and they need to be stimulated to hydrate themselves more and come to make up this difference.

What Is Preventing my Cat from Drinking Water?

Location of the Water Point

In human logic, perhaps the water point should be near the food… Maybe that’s why your cat doesn’t drink water.

But from the point of view of the animal, this is a bad strategy, because the smell of the food that he feels much more intensely than a human can disturb him, or he will feel on a more instinctive level the fear that the food (which can turn, attract insects…) contaminates its water…

In nature, the exploratory side of cats is important, discovering a water point and having several is vital for the feline. In addition, in nature cats like to feel safe when they eat, but also when they drink.

In the house, remember to put several water points and keep them away both from food, but also from litter

Today bowl, fountain … can be ultra design, matched to your decor and therefore, they can be displayed for all to see without problem. Ideally, this allows you to place a water point in the living room, for example, and another in the entrance or in another strategic location….

Another tip: place certain water points high up: like a fountain on a coffee table. Ideally a point in height, and 2 others on the ground or a little raised… (or only on the ground or very low table if you have an elderly cat).

The Composition of the Water Container

Plastic and its derivatives (not to mention the chemical side) retain odors and your cat has a highly developed sense of smell… What doesn’t bother you, can bother him…

Ideally, favor ceramic, glass or steel / stainless steel.

The bigger the container, the better it is… A pond, a large bucket, a large puddle… in nature this is best for cats… to find a similarity inside find a large and wide container. (And preferably shallow).

And the best if you have a garden: a pond, a fountain…

The Taste and Movement of Water

In nature, water is more oxygenated, and / or it smells like earth or plants that your cat likes.

Many cats will prefer a puddle, a puddle filled with leaves to their bowl of fresh water in the morning.

Why? Because the water you put in it is either that from the tap (and therefore may have a strong taste of chlorine or other) or comes from a bottle (water without life that may have remained in the plastic for a very long time or have been exposed to heat).

Humans may have gotten used to it, but for cats it turns out to be more difficult.

The best? (which is also that of humans): The highly oxygenated water which comes out of a clear and limpid spring. And its equivalent house is the water fountain. An essential for all those who wish to pamper their felines.

The movement water will re-oxygenate and / or energize it and the noise itself will attract your cat’s curiosity.

You can also use a large container, the best is to fill it with either rainwater or filtered water.

And why not also test a water point with water flavoring (the equivalent of a puddle or puddle filled with leaves). Just add a tiny bit of milk (without lactose), or some meat juice.

If your cat doesn't drink water (or not enough water), you can buy him a cat water fountain

If your cat doesn’t drink water (or not enough water), you can buy him a cat water fountain – Source:

Signs that Show Your Cat Is Drinking Too Much or Not Enough

He Is Not Drinking Enough

  • His hair is dull
  • White skin on the eye
  • The skin fold test: gently pull on the skin on the back of the cat’s neck: normally when you let go it should return to its initial position immediately (in 2 or 3 seconds), if not, it may show a risk of dehydration

Not drinking enough can lead to kidney failure, urinary problems, and constipation.

He Drinks Too Much

  • Severe thirst, or your cat, whether it’s hot or not, is still drinking can also be a sign of an underlying illness. For example: diabetes, renal failure…

Whether he’s showing great signs of dehydration or showing insatiable thirst, don’t hesitate to see a vet for a checkup.

My Cat Doesn’t Drink Water: How to Stimulate his Drinking?

Rest assured: here are 13 tips that will help your cat drink.

Let’s go!

1. Change his Diet

It is possible to vary his diet, offering both kibble and wet foods, which will increase the moisture content of the ration.

However, studies have shown that the portion of moist food should be at least 50% of the ration, otherwise the changes in the cat’s urine density are not significant.

Some therapeutic foods are designed to stimulate a cat’s drinking intake. These are the foods that are prescribed for recurrent urinary disorders (idiopathic cystitis, urinary stones, etc.).

This is because “diluted” urine will be less conducive to the formation of a sablose (agglomerate of crystals) which irritates the wall of the bladder and leads to cystitis.

2. Fresh Water Every Day

As we know, cats are picky when it comes to food. But they are just as important with water.

So, if the water you give your cat isn’t fresh, clean, and contained in a bowl that is cleaned every day, it probably won’t drink it. Filtered or bottled water may also be more appealing to him.

In summer, a little trick is to insert an ice cube in your cat’s bowl, he will be delighted!

3. Offer Him a Suitable Bowl

Cat owners know that they are demanding animals! Thus, some cats refuse to drink from a plastic bowl. It will then be necessary to favor bowls in glass or porcelain.

Ideally, the water bowl should be away from the food bowl and of course the water should be changed every day.

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4. A Large Bowl

Cats hate having their whiskers touching the edge of their food bowl when eating or drinking. This gives them a particularly unpleasant feeling.

So always remember to buy a large bowl.

5. Invest in a Cat Water Fountain

What cats particularly appreciate is “fun” water: water flowing from the tap, water from flower pots, rainwater in puddles…

An excellent way to stimulate grip the cat’s drink is to invest in a water fountain.

Indeed, the moving water, which makes a little noise, will attract it much more than in its bowl.

Click here for a selection of great cat water fountains.

6. A Bowl Filled to the Brim

As we said earlier, if there is one thing cats hate about eating and drinking, it’s that their sensitive whiskers touch the sides of their bowl. So always fill your cat’s water bowl to the brim to avoid embarrassment.

Otherwise, opt for a wide, shallow bowl!

7. Make Him Icy Treats

You can, especially when it’s hot, make ice cubes with chicken or fish juice (homemade) or a little mash mixed with water.

He can lick them to hydrate and refresh himself.

8. Tuna Juice

A simple little trick to lure your cat to his water bowl is to mix some canned tuna juice in his water (two drops should be enough).

You can also try it with a drop of milk, but be careful, once adults have a problem digesting milk, especially when it is served in large quantities.

9. Put his Bowl in an Appropriate Place

Did you know that the water must be properly separated from his litter box and his eating bowl? It is important that you place its water bowl away from the two elements mentioned above.

10. Give him Bottled Water

Some cats hate the taste of tap water, try giving them better quality water.

11. Add Broth to his Kibble

Most cats will not like eating wet kibble, but there are some who may like their kibbles to be wet with meat or fish broth.

However, you shouldn’t overdo it.

Have several bowls in the house: you can distribute several containers in your home, thus, in addition to stimulating the ingestion of water, you will manage to make your cat move a little more to inspect them, which is a positive result for increased physical activity.

12. Play with your Cat

You can encourage your cat to drink by playing near the tap with him, playing with him will arouse his curiosity and most likely lead him to drink from the tap.

This technique is ideal for hydrating him and, in addition, strengthening the bond that unites you.

13. Visit your Vet

If your cat’s water intake has drastically decreased and it is not improving with our tips, we recommend that you go to your vet to make sure he does not suffer from any health problem.

How to Hydrate a Sick Cat?

Let’s conclude our article “My cat doesn’t not drink water” by telling you about a particular case…

In some cases, when your feline has a problem that causes him to not drink, your vet will ask you to give it to drink every day using a syringe.

But how do you give a cat water with a syringe? You can buy a small syringe at any drugstore, which you will ask to remove the needle from, because you will not need it.

You will absolutely have to rely on the help of another person to hold the cat and you will need to complete the maneuver as quickly as possible to avoid stressing your best friend.

In cases where your cat is moving around too much, we recommend that you wrap it in a towel, as if it were sushi.

Gently you will touch its jaw, until you find the canines, and using your index finger and your thumb you will exert a slight pressure which will open the cat’s mouth.

Then, you will need to inject the water directly into the mouth, do not press too hard so as not to cause a coughing attack.


Water is just as important as food for your cat.

Good receptacles, good localization, a good knowledge of its needs will help your cat to drink more water and to hydrate regularly.

This is especially true if the weather is hot, and / or if your cat is elderly.

These are the same recommendations as for humans. Indeed, either age or environment, many variables can slow down his desire to drink enough water.

It’s up to you, his human, to recreate the best puddles, ponds, bodies of water that he would have discovered on his walks if he had been in nature.

Do not hesitate to arrange surprises for him if necessary, 2 fixed water points and a third variable for example to arouse his exploratory interest, his curiosity…

All these things which in nature encourage him to drink and give him pleasure (the pleasure of discovery, of surprise…). Which also contributes to his psychological well being.

There you have it, you now have no more excuses to exclaim: “My cat doesn’t drink water!”.

And now, let’s talk about you: What are the tips have you found to get your cat to drink water? Do not hesitate to share your discoveries!

Happy drinking!

Cat Drinking Photo by Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto from Pixabay

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