How much H2O should a cat drink?

rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7September 18, 2008

We've recently been adopted by a young (about 2 years old) male cat, a stray. I've been wondering if there are guidelines regarding how much and how often he should be drinking in order to be in top health.

Any suggestions would be appreciated, thanks so much.

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He really should have fresh water available all the time, so he can drink as much water as he wants.

& moving water, like that in a running fountain (or a flushing commode or a draining bathtub!) interests cats a lot more than your plain old standard boring bowl of water sitting there reflecting the ceiling.

It's thought that pet cats today don't get enough water, & that they get too much dry food, & that those things contribute to the horrible incidence of kidney failure in older cats.

In the wild, cats don't drink much water...
but they get a *lot* of fluid from their food.

Our pets usually don't have fresh meat/organs/other disgusting stuff with lots of blood, but they *still* don't have the habit of actually drinking water.

My cats like their dry food a lot better when it's been moistened, & they always have fresh water available.


If your kitty is always & forever drinking water, please get him checked-
excessive thirst is a strong indication of diabetes.

Enjoy your kitty, & I wish you the best!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 4:15PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Thanks, Silvia. Let me explain the situation.

Paco is a 'social drinker', lol. He began drinking water from my water glass at my desk, bedside table, and the side table next to my chair. So now, I keep a fresh glass of water for HIM where ever I am. (As in his glass and my glass.) He takes long drinks at least three times a day, maybe more! I've wondered if that was excessive.

He does eat dry food.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 4:29PM
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Agreed, any pet should have wter available at all times, If your cat is constantly drinking water or begging for water, its kidneys are in trouble

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 4:36PM
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A lot has been written and posited lately about feline diet and the deleterious role of dry kibble in terms of a cat's long term health. Some literature states that cats fed dry food are in a constant state of mild dehydration because the dry food draws necessary fluid out of the body during the digestion process. Of course any degree of dehydration can have serious long term effects on the body systems and organs. The general consensus is that canned food (or a raw diet) is much healthier for cats than dry kibble.

That said, cats eating dry food need and should drink more water. Also, intact males generally drink large volumes of water to support their territorial spraying. After an intact male is neutered, that excessive drinking diminishes substantially.

A vet once told me that cats should drink at least 4 oz of water daily, though I don't think I've ever seen a healthy, neutered cat drink that much on a regular basis. Cats with diabetes or kidney disease can and typically do drink noticeably more than that. If your cat is neutered and you feel that his water consumption is excessive, you should certainly take him to your vet for a blood test to check his blood glucose and kidney values.

I personally am always trying to get more water into my cats to keep their urinary tracts and kidneys flushed out. Mine get canned food soup every night for supper (canned food mixed with lots of water). I also have water bowls all around my house. Water is a GOOD thing!


    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 6:28PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

He's not begging for water or drinking constantly. He just seems to like to drink water when I'm drinking water. But I know, in total, that he's probably not taking in 4 ounces over 24 hours.

Maybe pretty darned close if he's having one of those 'watch on fire' days when he's ramming all over the house.

Thanks, all!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 10:06PM
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in gen cats should only be fed wet , if regular, raw food with raw bones and organs such as liver and heart would be best. Dry causes not only dehydration but teeth/dental issues and should only be used as treats and fed during long absenses from the home.

Cats are not created by nature to get all the moisture from water, but from food instead.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 10:38PM
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Our cat is fascinated with water, too - he licks the shower, hangs around the bathtub if anyone is in it, and jumps up on the bathroom counter when the sink water is running. He knocks over our water glasses if we leave them out, and I've even seen him drink from the toilet.
Though he likes to play with water, he doesn't actually drink much, and recently had a scary episode with crystals in his bladder (we've now changed his diet from dry to wet).

I bought him a water fountain, and placed it on the desk where he generally sleeps during the day. I was skeptical, but he does drink out of it.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 9:48AM
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My personal experience says that how much a cat drinks is a very individual thing (dogs too). My male cat is one who will beg to have the faucet turned on to a drip, and he'll drink until he gets water logged and barfs. He'll also "swim" in a fresh bowl of water, and again drink until he's sloshing and throwing up water. He has done this since he was a little kitten and it doesn't indicate any problems. IMO, as long as your cat has been thoroughly checked over by a vet, what you really worry about is *a change in behavior*. A few weeks back, my boy cat was suddenly not drinking to excess and playing in the water as he's done all his life (he's 14 now)- that was a serious change in habit, so off to the vet we went and he was sick with elevated kidney values. He's since gotten better and had a good blood panel, so we are not sure what was going on with him- not ruling out kidney problems, but he is back to his original habits and health.

My girl cat never drank much water- at least not like he does. When she started drinking much more water suddenly, and drinking it from weird places- like licking all the water from the shower floor after someone had bathed- that was again a change of habit. She does have kidney disease and the change of increased drinking was a clear sign of that.

My late dog could drain a large water bowl in one sitting. She drank a lot and peed a lot, and it was never a health issue- at least not one that was ever found over the course of 14 years.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 9:49AM
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Of course, cats like to drink their person's water - that's why I have mine in a re-usable bottle LOL,
I discovered that water is much more attractive to them if they "find" it, so I have a water-fountain stashed in my bathroom and one on my deck, and a large one - for the dogs, too - in the kitchen.
The also get a ration of wet food+water, Laurie's "soup" twice daily, so they are well hydrated.
The have dry food available in a common bowl, it's measured out, though, so when it's gone they will have to wait for the next feeding.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 10:22AM
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In the past, I had cats with all kinds of urinary tract challenges. Nowadays, since those fountains with the charcoal filter are available, that is what I use.

There is also a bowl of fresh water in the downstairs.

And of course if they 'ask' me to turn the faucet drip on for them, I will.

I think they'll just drink what they need. and I have never had the issues with these cats with urinary issues at all. And thru all the tests we had done on Bindi recently, her kidneys passed with flying colors.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2008 at 12:44PM
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Soon after I adopted Odessa from the ASPCA a little over a year ago, I put her on a diet of 85% canned food because she had loose bowel issues (since resolved). I noticed that she never drank from her bowl!

She gets 3 (1.75 oz) servings of Wellness canned food a day...I started mixing ~1oz of distilled water, along with a tsp of canned pumpkin in with each meal (so that is 3+ oz of additional water a day). It gets mushed up into a 'soup' as LaurieF mentioned. She loves it...laps it right up. She gets I have read articles that have state that wild felines are not natural drinkers...they get enough mositure from their prey. One said that the reason that lions hang around watering holes is to scope out prey...if a lion is actually drinking from a watering hole, beware because that is a very hungry lion.


    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 12:43PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I assure you that Paco will never happily settle down to a pile of animal bones, hearts, liver, and other organs. Ha! It makes me chuckle even to think about it.

I guess he's just determined to be a 'refined' indoor cat, in spite of being a foundling. I'm satified with his choice of a water hole, lol. I certainly feel better knowing that he's consuming enough water to keep him healthy.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 10:21AM
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He may enjoy drinking your water as in togetherness or playfulness, like kids, he's interested in what you're doing and wants to join in : ) I had a kitty who was fascinated with the stuff his whole life. I called him my water bunny, lol. He would also drink out of my glass or dab his paws in it.

Yes, make sure he has a clean, fresh bowl of water. I change mine several times a day.

Just for general info, drinking a lot of water all the time does indicate a health problem.

Dry food is really not a good food choice for them and can lead to kidney and bladder problems. Try canned food for him, and add some more water to it.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 4:28PM
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My current cat loves to drink from the faucet..I find her in the sink probably around 2-3 times a day and she does about a 30 second visit. This seems like playtime to her as well, you can just see the anticipation in her eyes waiting for that water to come out.

In comparison, my cat that had kidney failure was obviously drinking water a lot....He was at his water dish at least 6-7 times a day and drinking for about 2-3 minutes..This wasn't playtime for him, you could tell he was thirsty as all heck and was attempting to hydrate himself as much as possible.

I think all cats are different, but if you notice what seems to be a very large amount of water intake or an increase from before then its definitely worth a vet visit.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 7:18PM
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