A cat needs to drink water to ensure their organism, that consists of almost 70% water, works properly. Water is needed to keep their body temperature stable, for digestion processes, absorption of vitamins and minerals, etc. We all know this.
However, our 4-legged friends descend from an African wild cat, they have a genetically weakened sense of thirst. Cats can drink a little, and if an owner feeds cats with food with moisture content, they might not drink at all. This means health problems can arise such as with urine, infections, problems with their kidney and organism in general. The conclusion is clear: a cat should drink enough water.
A kitty who shows signs of dehydration will be weak, have a poor appetite, will suffer from dental diseases or urinary tract infections, and might have kidney or urinary bladder stones. However, cat owners need to understand that over-hydrating is also not good for their pet. Controlling an adequate amount of water intake is very essential for cat’s health, and increased water consumption might signal underlying health conditions such as diabetes, liver disease, some types of cancer, hyperthyroidism, metabolic problems, and others. If you have any medical concerns, consult your veterinarian immediately.
Water for cats – how much?
A cat’s need for water depends on many factors such as type of food, outdoor temperature and humidity, cat’s physical activity, whether a female cat feeds kittens, etc. On average, a cat needs water as much as 2.5-3 times more than the amount of dry food a cat eats, for example, 100 g food to 250 g of water. More than that, an owner should always give more water than a cat needs.
The best water for cats to drink – the quality is the issue. Of course, an owner can feed a cat with food that is only Premium class, but a cat that drinks water of poor quality, will never be healthy and active. Clean, good water plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of a cat!
Tap water for cats
Tap water for cats is the simplest solution, and many cats like drinking tap water. And there is an explanation, running water is rich in oxygen, and cats feel this instinctively and always prefer running to still water. For the same reason, many cats love drinking water from an aquarium, where water is either enriched with oxygen due to the circulation system, or plants in the aquarium disperse oxygen.
Every owner should understand that it is simply impossible to always prevent a cat drinking tap water. In addition, tap water can sometimes smell of bleach and contain other cleaning impurities and substances that are contained in tap water may also be harmful for the organism of cats. If your tap water is not of very good quality, do not give it to your pet. And as a compromise, you can install a filter and use filtered water.
Boiled water for cats
Cat owners who believe that boiled water is better than that from the tap, are mistaken. The fact is that during the boiling process a part of the water evaporates, and this results in a higher concentration of salts in the water. The remaining water also contains a precipitate, which, when mixed with fresh water, forms “heavy water”. Therefore, the constant use of boiled water can contribute to the development of urolithiasis in cats.
Bottled water for cats
Bottled water for cats might be an option, if an owner chooses it in the right way. The ideal option is natural water of the highest category from underground sources, that should be noted on the packaging. If an owner does not plan to spend money on buying water, it is better to use filtered water or tap water, that is kept in a tightly closed container for 6-8 hours.
Distilled water for cats
Distilled water is cleaned and it does not contain any particles. A cat can drink this for a short time, but this kind of water cannot be used for long periods.
Water fountain for cats
How does a cat drinking fountain works? An automatic fountain is equipped with a quiet electric motor, which ensures a constant flow of purified water, that is filtered, usually by charcoal. Thus, all bacteria are killed and the tap water is nice and clean. The water fountain makes water for cats more attractive and encourages animals to drink more, and is a good investment in the health of your cat!
Your cat does not like water?
If an owner wants to encourage their cat to drink more, try, for example, to increase the number of water bowls and put them in unexpected places, such as a windowsill. A curious cat can be attracted by the process of finding water itself.
How to encourage a 4-legged friend to drink more water?
If your kitty does not enjoy drinking water and eats only dry food, transition the pet from dry into wet food so your cat will get the most out of their water intake from a source that has over 70% of humidity.
If your fluffy friend enjoys wet food but does not drink much from their water bowls, Petcoach recommends moving bowls with water from the kitty’s bowl with food to see whether this changes drinking habits.
Many cats like running water and will be happy to drink fresh and cold water from water fountains that cat owners can buy in online and offline pet stores.
Some pets can also consume water at night while their owners are sleeping. In that case, you need to measure the water before going to bed and then in the morning. Measure over a few days so you will know whether your kitty drinks and how much. If you are the happy owner of multi-pet or multi–cat households, then you will need to separate the pet from others to know exactly how much your cat drinks.
It’s also not recommended to give cow’s milk to cats who are not big drinkers as it can be the reason for diarrhea and vomiting in pets.
Pet owners should remember to provide easy and regular access to unlimited water. Once the bowl is half empty, you need to refill it. You also need to clean the bowl once a week.
Your feline friend may go without water for a max of 6-8 hours. Longer periods increase the risk the animal will be dehydrated and have issues with their urinary tract.
CATWATER by VetWater
If you are wondering whether it’s worth purchasing water specifically made for cats, read our interview with the manufacturer of CATWATER below.
Q: Can cats with kidney diseases drink your water?
CATWATER: CATWATER is suitable for all cats, even those with no history of urinary troubles, as a preventative measure. However, if you have questions about your cat’s specific health situation, you should always consult with your veterinarian before introducing anything new into their diet.
Q: Why are chlorine and chemicals normally found in the water harmful to cats?
CATWATER: The water used in demineralized and distilled waters usually comes from city treatment plants and contain all the chemicals used in these plants, such as chlorine. The method usually used in demineralization is reverse osmosis, a type of filtration, which exposes the water to bacterial contamination. Moreover, the filtration process does not fully demineralize the water – there are always some minerals left. CATWATER is a distilled natural spring water, which means that it contains no minerals. With its perfectly balanced pH, between 6.2 and 6.4, CATWATER offers the best conditions to help prevent urinary problems in cats.
Q: Could you please elaborate further: what did you mean by saying CATWATER is PH optimized?
CATWATER: The pH level refers to the degree of acidity or alkalinity and can be measured using a pH scale. This scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 marking neutrality. Anything below 7 on the pH scale is considered acidic while anything over the 7 mark is deemed alkaline (or basic).
Ideally, cat urine should have a pH level ranging between 6.2 and 6.4.
Ideally, cat urine should have a pH level ranging between 6.2 and 6.4. CATWATER was especially created to offer the perfect pH environment to fulfill specific cat needs by offering a lightly acidic water with a pH between 6.2 and 6.4.
In comparison, the water we drink everyday normally has a pH ranging between 7.2 and 7.8, which is too alkaline for cats and can bring the risk of struvite crystal formations in the bladder.
On the other hand, distilled water from the supermarket has an average pH of 5.4 which is too acidic for cats and can bring the risk of calcium oxalate crystal formations in the bladder.
The formation of crystals and/or struvite or calcium oxalate stones can lead to urinary obstruction and can be very painful for our cats.
Q: Why do you think cats like CATWATER?
CATWATER: Cats are extremely sensitive to tastes and smells, and particularly to acidic tastes because of the large amount of acidity receptors on their taste buds in their mouths. Because CATWATER is acidic in nature, with a pH between 6.2 and 6.4, cats especially enjoy drinking this water. As a plus, thanks to the ozonisation process, which eliminates bad odors and smells in water, cats find the water’s taste more appealing. But, it’s not just our opinion. In a University of Montreal School of Veterinary Medicine study, 9 out of 10 cats preferred CATWATER vs. tap water. And, on average, cats drink 48% more CATWATER vs. tap water.
Q: Can kittens and senior cats also drink CATWATER?
CATWATER: Cats of all ages may have CATWATER.
Q: From what we’ve read on your website, cats like drinking CATWATER because of its unique taste. Can we say that CATWATER by itself encourages cats to drink more?
CATWATER:Thanks to its mild acidity level and the ozonisation process it goes though, CATWATER offers a more appealing taste to cats, which encourages them to consume more water. In a University of Montreal School of Veterinary Medicine study, 9 out of 10 cats preferred CATWATER vs. tap water. And, on average, cats drink 48% more CATWATER vs. tap water
Q: Where can cat owners buy CATWATER?
CATWATER: CATWATER is available at Amazon, Chewy, Petco & Petco.com, and other fine pet store locations.
Q: What feedback from cat owners do you usually receive?
CATWATER: Almost right away, cat parents tend to say they notice their cats drinking more water. Some cat parents have even made videos of a bowl of CATWATER next to a bowl of tap water and their cat repeatedly chooses the bowl of CATWATER. Others notice that their cat’s urine doesn’t smell as strongly.
Q: What can you say to cat owners who are skeptical or unsure about CATWATER?
CATWATER: If you are not ready to commit to a 4L bottle or a 12-pack of CATWATER, you can purchase a single 16.9oz bottle from Petco or another local pet store and see how your cat enjoys it.
Q: How does CATWATER prevent urinary issues?
CATWATER: First, we need to examine the causes of urinary problems in cats. As descendants of the desert cat, house cats have the natural tendency to drink very little and to produce highly concentrated urine. This high concentration in urine leads to an accumulation of a variety of minerals. If, in addition, the pH level of the urine is inadequate, these minerals can lead to the formation of crystals or small stones, called struvite or calcium oxalates, which can in turn lead to pain or discomfort for the cat. In some cases, complete urinary blockage can occur.
CATWATER’s formulation is based on a preventative approach, as recommended by research in veterinary medicine, which relies on 3 pillars of intervention:
- Helps increase water consumption in cats. CATWATER is a natural spring water and therefore is chlorine-free. It is ozonated and has a mild level of acidity which encourages your cat to drink more.
- Helps promote an ideal urinary pH. CATWATER is perfectly balanced with a pH level between 6.2 and 6.4 to meet the specific need of cats.
- Helps minimize the presence of the minerals responsible for causing crystals and stones in the bladder. CATWATER is 100% free of the minerals responsible for causing crystals and stones in the bladder.
Is it safe for cats to drink Christmas tree water?
The simple answer is no. Christmas trees are mildly toxic. If your cat eats a lot of it, then the toxicity level will rise and cause problems. Tree oils can be irritating to the mouth and your cat’s digestive system. They are not easily digested and may cause several issues, including puncture, vomiting or obstruction.
During the holiday time make sure your cat has no access to the Christmas tree water. Your pet can get ill from the pesticides, fertilizers, or other agents which are commonly put into the tree water to keep it fresh during those few weeks. If you really want a real, fresh, Christmas tree, a dish that covers the water is your best safeguard. You can always purchase a fake Christmas tree. Your cat will feel a lot safer and have a lot of branches to explore.
Water and cat’s health – FAQ
Tuna juice might contain salt, it’s better not to give it to your pet.
Yes, you can as long as the water is also fine for human consumption and regularly tested.
Some cats eat or drink too fast. Try to slow down the process and buy a water bottle for pets. However, if your kitty drinks too much, it might indicate health issues and you need to visit your vet who will examine your pet.
Yes, it’s possible that mineral water will be responsible for diarrhea and upset stomachs in cats. You will need to switch back to water your kitty used to drink.
If your kitty changes their drinking habits, see what might change, e.g. quality or taste of water. You can also move the bowl with water to another place to see if it solves the issue.
Standard water consumption is about 60ml/kg/day or roughly 1 cup per 10 pounds of your kitty’s body weight. If you are not sure your feline friend gets the right amount of water and you want to prevent dehydration, visit your vet who will tell you whether the amount is sufficient for kitty’s health or you need to provide additional supplementation.
Yes, many cats enjoy drinking water from a water fountain that should be cleaned regularly. Cats sometimes can stop being interested in fountains as the water gets warm. You can try to put some ice cubes into it to cool the water for your kitty.
You can visit the page where we rated bowls for cats to see what water bowls you will like.
Updated: June 14, 2021