How Long Can Cats Go Without Water? How Much Water Do Cats Need?

Last Updated on October 23, 2022 Ashley Camelia

How long can cats go without water? What are the risks if my cat hasn’t been drinking enough water? Most people know that humans need to drink water every day to stay healthy, but what about our feline friends?

Contrary to popular belief, cats do need water every day – and not just for hydration, but for other important reasons as well.

In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at how long cats can go without water, the dangers of dehydration in cats, and some tips on how you can help make sure your cat is getting enough fluids.

So, the first question in your mind must be why is my cat refusing to eat or drink?

how long can cats go without water

Why Don’t Cats Drink Their Water?

There are a few reasons why cats may not drink their water:

They don’t like the taste: Some cats may not like the taste of their water, especially if it’s from the tap. If this is the case, try giving them bottled water or filtered water.

  • The water bowl is dirty: Cats are very clean creatures and they may not drink from a dirty water bowl. Make sure you’re cleaning their water bowl regularly.
  • They’re stressed: Stress can lead to a decrease in appetite and thirst, so a cat that’s stressed may not drink as much water as it should. If your cat is stressed, try to provide them with a calm environment and talk to your veterinarian about possible ways to reduce their stress.
  • They have an underlying medical condition: Some medical conditions can cause a decrease in thirst, so a cat that’s not drinking enough water may be sick. If you’re concerned that your cat may be sick, take them to the vet for an examination.
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or digestive issues: The common signs of those issues include lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, or even weight loss, etc. The stomach and colon is also a common form of IBD. If the stomach is inflamed, the condition is called gastritis, and if the colon (large intestine) is inflamed, it’s called colitis.
  • Dental issues: This issue mainly will affect the cat’s eating habits but if it’s serious, it will make the cat refuse to drink too.


How Long Can Cats Go Without Water?

The answer to this question depends on a few different factors, such as the climate, the type of food they are eating, and their overall health.

For example, a healthy adult cat that lives in a moderate climate and eats a dry food diet can typically go 3 to 4 days without water before they start to show signs of dehydration.

However, if that same cat lived in a hot climate or had an illness that caused them to drink more water than usual, they would likely become dehydrated much sooner.

So, what happens if my cat won’t drink enough water?


The Risks of my Cat Not Drinking Enough Water

If your cat is not drinking enough water, it may be at risk for dehydration

So, what are the signs of dehydration in cats?

Dehydration is a serious concern for cats and can lead to many health problems, including kidney disease, urinary tract infections, and liver disease. Symptoms of dehydration in cats include lethargy, dry mouth, sunken eyes, and increased thirst.

If you notice any of these signs in your cat, it’s important to take them to the vet immediately as dehydration can be fatal. Some of the signs that your cat may be dehydrated include:

  • Sunken eyes: A dehydrated cat’s eyes will appear sunken in their sockets.
  • Lethargy: A lack of energy and motivation is another common sign of dehydration.
  • Dry mouth: Dehydration can cause a cat’s mouth to feel dry and sticky.
  • Decreased appetite: A dehydrated cat may have a decreased appetite or stop eating altogether.

If you notice any of these signs in your cat, it’s important to take them to the vet right away as dehydration can be a serious medical condition.


How Long Can A Sick Cat Go Without Water?

If your cat is sick, it’s important to make sure they’re getting enough water. Dehydration can quickly lead to serious health problems, so it’s important to keep an eye on your cat’s hydration level.

How much water a sick cat needs will depend on the severity of their illness and how much they’re eating and drinking. A sick cat that’s eating and drinking normally may only need a little extra water, while a sick cat that’s not eating or drinking much will need more.

If your cat is vomiting or has diarrhea, it’ll lose a lot of fluids and will need to be rehydrated. The best way to do this is by giving them small amounts of water frequently throughout the day.

You can also give them electrolyte solutions, which will help replace the fluids and minerals they’ve lost.

If your cat is refusing to drink or is unable to keep down any fluids, they’ll need to be hospitalized so they can be given fluids intravenously. This is a serious situation and you should take your cat to the vet immediately if they’re showing signs of dehydration.

Dehydration is a serious medical condition that can quickly lead to death in cats. If your cat is sick, make sure you’re monitoring their hydration level closely and giving them the fluids they need to stay healthy.

So, it is very important to keep your cat hydrated. But what amount of water is enough for a cat to drink?


How Much Water Do Cats Need?

The amount of water a cat needs depends on a few different factors such as their diet, their activity level, their health, and the climate they live in.

For example, a healthy adult cat that lives in a moderate climate and eats a dry food diet will need about 3-4 cups of water per day.

However, if that same cat lived in a hot climate or had an illness that caused them to drink more water than usual, they would likely need more water.

Cats that are eating a wet food diet will typically need less water than those on a dry food diet since wet food contains more moisture. Additionally, cats that are more active or have higher metabolisms may need more water than those that are inactive or have lower metabolisms.

Finally, the climate plays a role in how much water a cat needs. Cats that live in hot or humid climates will need more water than those that live in cooler climates.

If you’re unsure how much water your cat needs, it’s best to talk to your veterinarian. They can help you determine how much water your cat should be drinking based on their individual needs.

So, what do I do if my cat won’t drink water? And how can I make my cat drink?


How to Make Sure Your Cat is Getting Enough Water?

And can I force my cat to drink water?

You shouldn’t have to force your cat to drink water, but if they’re not drinking enough you may need to give them some extra encouragement. 

There are a few things you can do to help make sure your cat is getting enough water:

  • Offer freshwater: The best way to ensure your cat is getting enough water is to offer them fresh, clean water at all times and make sure they have access to a water bowl in every room they spend time in.
  • Give wet food: Wet food is a great way to help increase your cat’s water intake.
  • Add water to their food: If your cat is eating dry food, you can add a little bit of water to it to help them stay hydrated.
  • Encourage drinking: Some cats may need a little encouragement to drink more water. You can do this by placing their water bowl in a spot where they like to hang out or by adding some toys to the bowl (like a floating toy).

You can also talk to your veterinarian about other ways to encourage your cat to drink more water, such as using special foods or supplements.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can I syringe water to my cat?

If your cat is not drinking enough water, you may need to syringe water into their mouth. This should only be done if your cat is severely dehydrated and is not able to drink on its own.

To syringe water into your cat’s mouth, fill a syringe with water and insert the tip of the syringe into the side of their mouth. Slowly squeeze the syringe so the water flows into their mouth. Be careful not to squirt the water too quickly, as this can cause your cat to choke.

After you’ve given your cat the water, let them drink on their own to help them rehydrate.

  1. Do cats need water to survive?

Cats need water to survive, but they don’t need as much water as other animals. This is because they get a lot of the moisture they need from the food they eat.

Wet food contains a lot of moisture, so cats that eat wet food typically drink less water than those that eat dry food.

  1. Will a cat pee if dehydrated?

A dehydrated cat may not have enough fluids in its body to produce urine. Additionally, dehydration can lead to kidney failure, which can cause a cat to stop urinating altogether.

  1. Do cats need water at night?

Cats typically don’t drink a lot of water at night, but they may need a small amount to keep their body hydrated. If you’re worried that your cat isn’t drinking enough water, you can leave a small bowl of water out for them to drink from during the night.

  1. What liquids can cats drink?

In addition to water, cats can also drink milk, cream, and diluted chicken broth. However, it’s important to only give these liquids in small amounts since they can cause digestive upset.

Additionally, some cats are lactose intolerant and should not drink milk or cream. Chicken broth is a good source of hydration for cats and is usually well-tolerated, but it’s best to talk to your vet before giving it to your cat.

  1. Should cats’ water be near their food?

There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, as each cat has their preferences. Some cats may prefer to have their water near their food, while others may not care where their water bowl is located.

If you’re not sure where to put your cat’s water bowl, try a few different locations and see which one they prefer.

  1. Do cats prefer cold water?

Some cats may prefer cold water, but others may not have a preference. If your cat doesn’t seem to be drinking their water, try giving them cold water and see if that makes a difference.



Cats are obligate carnivores which means that they require a diet that is rich in animal proteins. While water is essential for all animals, cats don’t need to drink as much as other species because their bodies conserve fluids very well.

This doesn’t mean, however, that you can ignore your cat’s hydration needs – especially if she isn’t feeling well. Most cats only need to drink around half an ounce of water per pound of body weight each day, but this number can vary depending on the individual cat and her activity level.

There are several ways to make sure your kitty is getting enough H2O, so consult with your veterinarian about what’s best for your pet. Have you ever wondered how long can cats go without water? What are the risks of a dehydrated cat? Let us know in the comments!