(Last Updated On: July 10, 2019)

It’s pretty much standard practice for any cat owner to leave a bowl of fresh water next to the food bowl every morning, or it should be. But how much of that water does your cat drink and how much water do cats really need to drink on a daily basis? And how much water should you encourage your cat to drink?

Related: Best Cat Water Fountains

As it turns out, there are quite a few variables at play that determine the amount of water needed by your cat everyday. Like their age, gender, the types of food their eat and even the type of bowl you serve them in.  Let’s take a look at some of them, and how you can make sure that your cat gets their required daily intake.

Variables That Determine Your Cat’s Water Consumption

  • Food: The general rule of thumb is that an adult cat weighing +- 5kgs should be drinking about a glass of water per day, that’s 250ml. However, if your cat’s consuming mostly wet food then their water requirements decrease as well, because wet food contains 80% water.

My post on helping your cat drink more water daily

On the other hand, dry cat food is only 10% liquid, and regular consumption of it naturally increases your cat’s water requirements. Solving this problem seems simple enough, just feed your cat more wet food for guaranteed hydration. However, cats also need dry food as it contributes to their dental health.


The best thing is to give your cat a combination of both foods for a balanced diet, and make sure to supply your cat with fresh water every day.  


  • Age: Older cats generally require higher water intake due to their susceptibility to diseases like urinary tract infection. Younger cats and kittens do also need to stay hydrated in order to maintain their high levels of activity, although they do need considerably less water based on the amount of food they eat as described above. Your cat might require a pet fountain.


  • Gender: It’s even more essential for male cats to stay hydrated at all times, as they also run a higher risk of developing urinary tract disease.

How To Tell If Your Cat Is Getting Enough Water

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There are a few tell-tale signs to look out for when trying to figure out if your cat is properly hydrated. For example, if your cat’s always tired and they’re urinating only once a day or not at all, that’s a sign of dehydration. A dehydrated cat will also have a flaky coat, regardless of whether or not it’s shiny.

Another test that you can perform to determine your cat’s hydration levels is to pull the skin on their nape, if it’s still elastic then he’s sufficiently hydrated, if not then you might want to consult your vet for an examination, as that’s one of the major signs of a dehydrated cat.  

Another sign of dehydration is when our cat takes frequent trips to the water bowl and seem to be drinking way more than their required intake. And also when they’re not urinating as much as they should or when they’re urinating too much. Cats should ideally pee twice or three times a day. And you can also check their bowl to see if they are drinking their water or just leaving it there.


Check your cat’s litter for signs of pee to determine how frequently they’re urinating. The more clumps you see on the litter, the more frequently your cat is urinating.  Seeing one or no clumps at all could be a sign that your cat is not urinating well at all.

It’s important to immediately visit your vet if you see any or a combination of these symptoms, as hydration can lead to some dire health complications like kidney failure, diabetes and urinary tract disease. Needless to say, an annual trip to the vet for a check-up is an essential part of maintaining your cat’s health in good condition in any case.  

 How Do I get My Cat To Consume More Water?

  • Make sure to refresh your cat’s water bowl every morning. Cats can be very picky about the water they drink and most don’t like stagnant or dirty water. So be sure to rinse and clean your cat’s water bowl to remove any dirt or bacteria that might affect the quality of the water.  
  • Shower your cat’s food with a bit of water at every meal to increase their water intake. Just make sure not to sprinkle too much or you’ll make the food to lose it’s taste.
  • Use glass or metal water bowls instead of plastic, as it usually contains a residue of unpleasant petroleum odor that cats find distasteful. Switching up the bowl might also give your cat more interest in drinking.  
  • Try and give them purified or spring water instead of tap water. Tap water contains heavy metals and chemicals that can easily turn cats off.
  • As you may have already noticed, most cats go crazy for running tap water even though they wouldn’t ordinarily drink it. Use your cat’s fascination with running water by getting them a drinking fountain for cats, normally offered by cat product manufacturers Drinkwell and Pioneer Pet.
  • During the summer, change the water more frequently and you can even add ice cubes to keep it cool and refreshing.



Water is an essential part of any good diet and like all mammals cats need water to survive. And as their owner it’s your responsibility to ensure that your cat gets enough water each day to stay hydrated and healthy.

So make sure to keep your cat’s water bowl clean and that there’s always water available inside it, while looking out for those signs of dehydration to address them before they become severe to make for a happy and healthy kitty.