How Long Can a Cat Go Without Water?

Most of us rarely see our cats drink water and this make us wonder how do they provide water to their body and how long could a cat survive without this essential element.

First, you should know that cat’s body works slightly different from our human body. It also needs water and food to function, but with a different amount and frequency of intake. 

A cat can live for 2-3 weeks without food, but can survive only a few days without water. Now let's have a look at some important information every owner should know. 

How Much Water Do Cats Need?

Many of us just leave a bowl of water out on the floor, so our cat can go and have a drink whenever it feels thirsty. 

But, does this mean that they're actually getting the right amount of water? Before we answer this question, we must look at several factors.

  • The most important factor is the size of your cat - smaller and younger ones need less water, while bigger and older ones need more.
  • Does it eat dry or wet food? If your cat eats only dry food, it needs more water. On the other side if it eats wet or canned food, it will need less to drink, since this type of food is made of around 80% water.
  • What is the weather? This might seem like an obvious question, but we all know that during the summer months animals and humans are more susceptible to water loss in their bodies. 
  • On average a cat should drink 2-4 ounces of water (this is on top of the food it eats).

Here are a few signs, that show your cat is drinking enough water:

  • You can examine its skin, if it's elastic and its coat is shiny and does not look dry of have any flakes. 
  • Your cat is active and playful, and does not feel tired all the time.
  • It urinates regularly (you can check their litter box, so see if they're using it regularly).

How to increase your cat's water intake?

There are several things we can do that will encourage our cat to drink more water throughout the day. Here are a few tips, some of which are very easy to implement.

how long can cats go without water

Feed them only wet food

If you're currently feeding your cat with dry kibble food, then it's time to switch to canned wet food, which is made up of 70-80% water. 

This means that your cat consumes 5 oz of wet food, they'll be getting over half of their water requirements for the day. This will instantly boost their water intake.

We've already rounded up the best affordable and nutritious wet cat food, which should be very useful for cat owners who are on a budget.

If you're worried that you can't feed your feline with wet food, because you're away from your home, you should consider getting an automatic wet food feeder

They have an ice pack under the food bowl, which keeps the wet food refrigerated. This way you won't have to worry that about your cat not eating or drinking. 

Get them a water fountain

If your feline doesn't show much interest in their water bowl, this might be because they don't like drinking from still water sources. One way to entice them into drinking more, is by getting them a cat water fountain.

The water is constantly running down the fountain, and is kept fresh and clean by the carbon filter found inside. This entices and encourages your cat to drink from it. There is a wide range of models you can choose from, so check out our article on the best cat water fountains

Also, if you're going away on a trip for a few days, one way to be sure your cat doesn't stay dehydrated is by getting them a drinking fountain. They can go to it whenever they feel thirsty. No matter how long you're away, some models have a tank that can last for several days.

Change the location of the water bowl

If you've always kept your cat's water bowl close to their food bowl, then it's worth a try to move it to a different location. You can move it to a different room in your home and see if this makes a difference.

Have more water bowls

Another easy trick you can do, is add several water bowl throughout your home, for example the hallway, living room, and bedroom. This way, your feline will have access to water in many places. You'll also need to regularly clean the bowls and add fresh water inside.

Cats prefer smaller water bowls

There has been a study made, which studied cat's behavior, and concluded that cats have a preference for smaller size water bowls. This might seem like a strange fact, however it's worth taking into consideration.

Next time you're shopping for a water bowl, you should pick one that is smaller in diameter. Ideally it should be less than 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. 

Clean the water bowls regularly

Make sure you clean the water bowls by washing them with dish washing soap and water. Also you need to change the water regularly. 

This will prevent the built up of any bacteria or algae, or having any pet hair falling inside. Also, a bad smell can form inside the water, which will discourage your cat from drinking.

One of the advantages of having a drinking fountain, is that it has a carbon filter inside, which purifies the water and prevents the growth of any bacteria.

How Important is Water to a Cat's Body?

On average a human body can consume around 67-100 ounces (2 - 3 litters) of water a day through drinking and eating. This is because the human’s body is made from 70% water.

There is water in our blood, our bones, and every tiny cell of our body. This’s also true with cats.

water and cats

Their body also need a large amount of water to sustain normal activities. All the organ parts of a feline need water to fully function.

Dehydration can cause dizziness, headache, and tiredness. If the dehydration becomes too severe, the cat could even lose consciousness. So it is really important to provide enough water for them and have your cat drinking a lot of water. 

Cats can survive without food for longer, and the effects of not getting enough food are not as severe and serious when compared to being dehydrated. 

How long can a cat survive without water?

Cats are considered semi-arid animals, which means they don’t need too much water a day to survive. And it’ll take a few days before the dehydration begins to affect the cat. And the symptoms will get worse and worse if it can’t find water.

how long can a cat survive without water

I need water so much 🙁

Organs in their body need water to work to they’ll take water from another part of the cat. This will result in lower blood pressure, their blood will become less and less liquid.

This makes their heart harder to pump blood to other parts of the body. And if this can’t stop, the cat will slowly become unconscious and eventually die.

The longest time that a cat can go without water is 3 days. So you should always pay attention, how much your cat is drinking and as it can survive without water for only a few days

How to provide water for a cat?

But if you rarely see your cat drink water, you shouldn’t freak out like most people would.

Since cats are semi-arid animals, they often get water from their food and they only drink a small amount through the day. 

So make sure to add more water to their food and don’t give them too much dry food, it’s not good for their digestive system either.

You should teach them to eat veggies and fruits. These food are healthy and will give them a large amount of fluid as well as other vitamins and fiber.

Now that you know the importance of water intake in cats, and how long they can go without drinking any water, you're become more prepared and knowledgeable in taking proper care of your cat

Don't forget to also check out our article on how long can cats go without food

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