How Much Water Should A Cat Drink Per Day – Must Read Advice

How much water should a cat drink per day?

Key Takeaways

  • A typical recommendation suggests that cats require about 50ml of water per kg of body weight per day. Cats on different diets, such as wet or dry food, will have different supplemental water needs. Wet food can provide much of the required water intake.
  • Insufficient water consumption in cats can lead to dehydration and adversely affect vital functions like toxin removal, digestion, and temperature regulation. Signs to watch for include frequent visits to water sources and unusual urination habits.
  • To encourage better hydration, consider your cat’s preferences, such as the type of bowl they like, the location of their water source, and whether they prefer running water. Options like automatic water dispensers or water fountains may help.
  • Excessive drinking could be a sign of underlying health conditions like kidney issues or diabetes, warranting a vet consultation. Monitoring your cat’s water intake is crucial for early detection of potential health issues.

Read on for more details!

Table of Contents

How Much Water Does Cat Food Contain?

Food intake might partly or wholly meet a cat’s water needs.

Dry cat food contains about 10% moisture. Wet cat food typically contains as much as 80% water.

For a cat that eats a typical amount of 250-300g of wet food, its daily fluid requirement will be met, so you would expect your cat not to drink much additional water.

siberian cat with three bowls of food

If your cat is on a dry food diet, they must drink water regularly to make up the approx. 250ml they require.

 Water Intake (ml/kg)

Dry Food Diet

Wet food diet

From Food



In Addition to Food



Water requirements for cats on dry or wet food diets in ml/kg/day
graph showing the water intake from cat food sources. wet food provides a much higher percentage of daily water intake than dry food

What Happens if My Cat Doesn’t Drink Enough

If your cat does not consume enough water, it is at risk of dehydration. Dehydration is where more fluid is being lost than taken in which imbalances water and electrolyte levels in the body.

Water is essential as it helps with the following bodily functions:-

  • helps flush toxins from the kidneys
  • decreases the likelihood of kidney and bladder stones
  • aids digestion
  • helps to regulate body temperature
  • helps with blood circulation
  • aids in the absorption of nutrients and transport around the body
  • helps keep essential organs functioning properly

Should I Be Concerned If My Cat Isn’t Drinking Enough?

It is difficult to measure exactly how much water your cat drinks, especially if they can go outside where there will be numerous water sources. You may also have multiple cats in the house who drink from the same sources.

However, there are signs to look out for that could mean your cat is not may have a problem:-

  • Drinking from different/unusual locations e.g bathtub or sink. Note – cats are fickle and often drink from wherever they please, so this is not necessarily a sign of a problem.
  • If your cat makes frequent repeat visits to a water source
  • If drinking more is paired with difficulty or excess urinating

Read More: Signs of Dehydration in a Cat: What to Look For

How Can I Get My Cat To Drink More?

Some cats prefer fresh, clean water that can stand for a time to dissipate the chemical odours resulting from water treatment.

Other cats refuse to drink unless from a running source, such as a dripping tap or drinking fountain.

tabby cat drinking water from a running tap

Many cats dislike eating or drinking from any container contaminated with odour or saliva from another cat.

Even the location of the food, water, and litter containers relative to each other, resting areas, doors, etc., can significantly impact the well-being of cats. Many cats will not drink from a water source next to their food.

Most cats generally do not like to eat or drink from a narrow, deep bowl, and some will only drink by dipping a paw in such a bowl and licking the foot. If a cat does not drink from a container on the floor, the bowl can be placed on a stand.

A helpful way to ensure your cat has access to all the water they need is with an automatic water dispenser.

For cats that are pickier about their water and prefer a running water source, a water fountain will ensure they have plenty to drink.

What Can Cats Drink Besides Water?

If your cat is not drinking enough water, you could try some alternatives to tempt them.

Despite popular belief, cats should not drink milk as they are lactose intolerant, and it can cause stomach upset.

Alternatively, to plain water, you could try boiling some chicken or fish (without oil or salt) and giving them the cooking liquid.

What Does It Mean If My Cat Drinks Too Much

If you have noticed that your cat seems to be drinking much more than the average amount or has started drinking more than usual, this is something to pay close attention to.

If you have an outdoor cat, they may not have access to water sources they were drinking from previously. This could be due to hotter weather drying them up.

tabby cat drinking water from a puddle outdoors

However, if weather is unlikely to be a factor, you should monitor your cat’s water intake for a few days.

If you notice they are drinking a lot more than usual, you should seek advice from your vet as this could be an early sign of a range of health conditions, including kidney problems or diabetes.

Final Thoughts

A typical recommendation is that a cat requires about 50ml of water per kg of body weight per day. For an average cat that weighs 4-5kg this translates to 200-250ml of water per day.

This water requirement can be met partly or almost fully from the cat’s food intake, depending on their diet.

Wet cat food contains about 80% water, meaning a cat on a completely wet food diet would get almost all its required water intake from food alone.

As with all health and well-being matters, you should consult your veterinarian for advice on your pet and contact them if you have any concerns about your cat’s behaviour.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my cat scratch the floor before drinking?

This is an instinctive behaviour for cats to check that water is safe to consume, free from predators, and to mark their territory. Read our full post about it here.

How much water should a cat drink in 24 hours?

Cats should drink about 3.5 to 4.5 ounces of water per 5 pounds of body weight per day.

How much water should a 5kg/10 lb cat drink?

A 10 lb cat should drink about 7 to 9 ounces of water per day. This equals about 210 to 270 milliliters or 3/4 to 1 cup of water per day.

How much water is too much for a cat?

Suppose your cat drinks significantly more water than usual or drinks excessively and shows other signs of illness, such as vomiting or lethargy. In that case, it may be a sign of a health problem. In such cases, it’s important to seek veterinary attention promptly.

What are the signs of dehydration in cats?

Signs of dehydration in cats may include dry mouth, sunken eyes, lethargy, loss of skin elasticity, decreased appetite, and constipation. If you suspect your cat is dehydrated, it’s essential to seek veterinary attention promptly.

How do I encourage my cat to drink water?

To encourage your cat to drink water, always provide fresh water in a clean bowl, use a pet water fountain, add flavoring to the water, or provide wet food. You can also try placing multiple water bowls around the house to encourage drinking.

What can cats drink besides water?

Cats should primarily drink water, but they can also drink other liquids, such as unsweetened almond milk or bone broth. However, it’s important to avoid feeding cats cow’s milk, which can cause digestive upset.