How much water does my cat need?

Malnourishment in kittens can be caused by a variety of factors, including lack of access to water or food, poor quality food, or underlying medical conditions. For a good start in life, it is important to provide a kitten with a safe and comfortable living environment, with access to clean water, balanced food, and necessary vaccinations.

Want to watch more Bondi Vet content? Subscribe to our channel.

Before answering the question on how much water a cat needs, an important starting point is to understand the symptoms of dehydration. Some signs of dehydration in cats include:

  • panting
  • loss of energy
  • refusal to eat
  • dry gums

Cat dehydration happens when there is excessive fluid loss from the cat’s body. When this occurs, it’s not just water loss. It is also a loss of some essential minerals in their body like chloride, sodium, and potassium.

What causes dehydration in cats?

Not drinking enough water in the first place will cause dehydration. Losing water through sweating or as a result of a current illness (Diabetes, fever, vomiting, diarrhea) is another. If you suspect that your cat is dehydrated, contact your vet straight away.

A quick way to test for dehydration is called "skin tenting" where you take a small portion of your cat’s skin around their shoulders, pull it up, and then let go. If your cat is hydrated, the skin will snap back into place quickly. If the skin falls back down slowly, this is a sign your cat could be dehydrated.

Want to watch more Bondi Vet content? Subscribe to our channel.

How can you prevent it?

The simple answer is ensuring a constant supply of clean water in multiple sources throughout the house and outside. Your cat food (especially if wet) will also have plenty of water in it, so ensure they are being fed daily and are actually eating it.

So, back to the question of how much water a cat should drink? The amount depends on a variety of factors, including the size of your cat, the time year (Summer – Winter) and whether your cat’s diet includes wet cat food or dry cat food only. If cats are given dry food only, they will require significantly more supplemental water to stay acceptably hydrated.

Normally, a cat will require about 60mls of water per kilogram (kg) of body weight. That means a 4 kg cat needs about 140 mls of water or a standard metric cup. Dry food is only 10 percent water, while canned is approximately 80 percent water.

The best rule of thumb is a cat can never have enough water, so ensure all water bowls are full and fresh at all times.

Back to blog