Just like us humans, our feline friends need to consume enough water each day to stay hydrated and keep their organs functioning optimally.
But how much water should your cat be drinking, and how long can a cat go without water before problems start to arise? Let’s find out.
HOW MUCH WATER DOES A CAT NEED?
On average, a cat should drink approximately 0.5 cups of water for every 5 lbs of body weight. The average cat weighs about 10 lbs, meaning an optimal water intake of 1 cup per day.
With that being said, that advice may not apply to cats who eat a wet food diet. Cats are biologically programmed to get their daily water intake through their food (which, as obligate carnivores, would naturally be raw meat).
If your cat only eats wet food, you might notice that they don’t really drink much water. This may simply mean that they are getting all the water they need from their wet food.
As long as they are not showing signs of dehydration (see below), you probably don’t need to worry about a cat on a wet food diet not drinking much water.
However, it’s still very important to have at least one if not more sources of water available in case they do get thirsty.
How Long Can a Cat Survive Without Water?
How long a cat can survive without drinking any water usually depends on multiple factors in the cat’s environment.
On average, a cat can go 3 to 4 days without water before they eventually die.
However, a cat in a hot or humid environment will become dehydrated faster without water than a cat in a cool area with lots of shade. Also, as we mentioned earlier, a cat who only eats kibble but doesn’t have access to water will get dehydrated much more quickly than a cat who eats wet food.
In some cases, a cat may be able to survive for up to a week without water. However, this is only likely to be the case if the cat in question is still getting plenty of wet food and is kept in a cool, shaded area.
Even in this situation, a cat that goes this long without water is likely to become extremely unwell.
How to Tell if a Cat is Dehydrated
For humans, being slightly dehydrated doesn’t seem like a big deal. We understand that we should ideally drink before we feel thirsty, and if we do start to feel thirsty, we can correct the problem fairly easily with a large glass of water.
However, cats don’t have a very good sense of when they need to ingest fluids. That’s why it’s so important to understand the symptoms of dehydration in cats, especially since dehydration can worsen quickly and cause very serious problems in felines.
Some symptoms of cat dehydration include:
What to Do if Your Cat is Dehydrated
If you suspect that your cat is dehydrated, it’s important to act fast to prevent health complications.
Your cat may become dehydrated for one of two reasons: either they have been deprived of water, or they are refusing to drink.
Depending on the reason as well as the severity of the dehydration, you may need to approach the problem in different ways.
If your cat has accidentally had their access to water cut off (for example, if they knocked over their bowl and you didn’t notice), you may not need to seek medical assistance straight away as long as they haven’t been without water for several days and the symptoms of dehydration are mild.
First, provide a bowl of clean water or fill up your cat’s water fountain with fresh water and see if your cat will drink. If your cat won’t drink, you can try alternative methods of hydration such as a cat-safe electrolyte supplement or a meat-flavored broth.
However, if your cat has not had any water for several days, refuses to drink even after water sources have been provided, or appears severely dehydrated, you must take this seriously.
In these situations, don’t waste time looking for electrolyte supplements at your local pet store. Instead, make an urgent appointment with your vet.
Your cat may need to have fluids administered intravenously if they are very dehydrated, and the sooner they are treated, the better their chances of recovery will be.
If your cat is also experiencing vomiting and/or diarrhea or is running a fever in addition to not drinking water, you should go straight to your nearest emergency vet because losing fluids in this way will speed up and worsen dehydration.
Symptoms such as sunken eyes, skin that does not fall back into place when pinched, and lethargy are indicators of severe dehydration and should be treated as a matter of urgency.
If you take one thing away from this article, it should be that it’s important to monitor how much water your cat is drinking.
Your cat should always have clean, fresh water available to them. A cat can only survive for about 3 to 4 days without water, so it’s crucial to know the signs of dehydration in cats and to act fast if you notice any of them.
Mild cases of dehydration in cats may be treatable at home by increasing water and electrolyte intake. This can be done through the use of more water sources, supplements, or wet food.
However, if your cat has been deprived of water or is refusing to drink water in addition to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or sunken eyes, this indicates severe and dangerous dehydration. Please seek medical attention immediately.
At Love4Cats, our practice involves consistent collaboration with licensed veterinarians and reputable industry experts. However, it's important to note that the content provided on Excited Cats is not intended as veterinary advice. While we strive to enhance your understanding of feline care, the information presented on this blog should not replace professional veterinary guidance.