Do you know how much water your feline friend should be drinking each day? Water is the most essential nutrient for your cat’s survival. It is the fountain of life for cats and the foundation for their health. While cats may endure hunger for weeks, they can barely survive a few days without water.
It’s important to make sure your cat stays hydrated to maintain their health and prevent health issues like kidney disease. In this article, we’ll explore the daily water intake requirements for cats and how to ensure they are getting enough water.
How Much Water Does My Cat Need?
Cats require water in the same amount as their daily calorie intake. A rough estimate is that cats need 60ml of water per kg of body weight per day.
For example, a 4-kg cat requires 240 ml of water daily to stay hydrated. If your cat eats canned wet food containing 80% moisture, it will get much of its water from food. Three and a half 70-gram cans provide 196 ml of water for a 4-kg cat, leaving only 44 ml to drink.
However, cats eating dry kibble require much more water from their bowls. A 4-kg cat eating 90 grams of a dry food with 10% moisture would only get 9 ml of water from its diet. Even though it may drink up to 6 times more water than a cat eating canned wet food, a kibble-fed cat may only get 120 ml from its bowl—half of its daily needs.
Cats naturally get much of their water from food, not drinking, so they seldom drink enough on their own. Their weak thirst drive evolved for getting hydration from prey, not bowls. Studies have found that cats who eat dry food consume only 50% of the water that cats who eat canned food consume.
Therefore, a kibble-fed cat may struggle to get enough water and suffers chronic, low-level dehydration which often leads to kidney disease later in life.
How to Keep Your Cat Hydrated
1. Feed primarily wet food, raw meat, or home-cooked moist food. Kibble cannot provide enough water on its own.
2. Always provide easy access to clean, shallow bowls of fresh water, and change and wash bowls daily.
3. Monitor your cat’s urine to ensure good hydration. Concentrated, dark urine signals dehydration in cats.
4. Consider using pet water fountains since many cats prefer flowing water. Fountains also keep water clean and aerated.
5. Have your vet evaluate your cat’s hydration at checkups. Blood tests and other diagnostics can check for signs of dehydration before kidney disease develops.
For good health and a long life, meeting your cat’s need for water is just as important as its need for food. Keep your cat well hydrated, and its body will thank you for years to come. Let’s raise our glasses—and bowls of fresh water—to our cats’ health!
Why Water is Essential for Your Cat’s Health
Every cell in your cat’s body needs water to function correctly. It’s essential for regulating body temperature, digestion, and excretion. However, many cat owners neglect their cat’s water needs, which can lead to dehydration and a range of health problems.
Cats Prefer Hydration Through Food
Contrary to popular belief, dry food alone does not provide enough water for your cat. Are cats too foolish to drink when thirsty? No, but a cat’s thirst mechanism is much duller than a human’s or dog’s.
A cat’s desert-dwelling ancestors obtained most of their water from prey, so cats evolved to get hydrated through their diet, not by drinking. The small animals cats hunt contain about 70% water, comparable to canned cat food.
Signs Your Cat Needs More Water
If your cat is drinking frequently, it likely needs immediate hydration. Dehydration is a severe health concern for cats and can lead to several issues, such as urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and constipation. Signs of dehydration in cats include dry mouth and nose, sunken eyes, and lethargy. If you notice any of these symptoms, make sure your cat drinks enough water or take them to the vet immediately.
As an obligate carnivore, a cat’s diet should consist primarily of moisture-rich, protein-based foods like canned wet food, raw food, or home-cooked cat food. Dry kibble is too low in moisture and will not meet a cat’s hydration needs alone. Always provide your cat with fresh, clean water daily and consider using pet water fountains to encourage drinking.
1. Water is essential for a cat’s health, cellular function, temperature regulation, digestion, and waste removal.
2. Many cats suffer from chronic dehydration because their owners incorrectly assume dry food provides enough moisture.
3. A cat’s thirst drive is weaker than a human’s or dog’s, as desert-evolved cats obtained most of their water from prey rather than drinking.
4. If a cat is drinking frequently, it urgently needs more water and hydrating food.
5. For proper hydration, feed cats moisture-rich protein sources like wet food, raw food, or home-cooked food.
6. Always provide clean, fresh drinking water for your cat daily. Pet fountains can also help promote hydration.