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How Long Can Cats Go Without Water? What To Consider

How Long Can Cats Go Without Water? What To Consider

The process of giving water to a cat is usually straightforward. All you need is a good drinking source and fresh, clean water near your pet. But, have you asked yourself the question: how long can your cat go without drinking water? The idea is not to find out in practice, but it is good to have this knowledge in case an emergency were to present itself and your cat was to be left alone.

A cat can survive without drinking water for three to four days. However, the longer it goes without water, the more dehydrated it will become. This can cause serious health problems and even lead to death. There are a few exceptions of cats that have survived a whole week without drinking water.

No matter the reasons, if your cat spends some time without drinking water, it could have health consequences. For this reason, we will explain everything related to this subject. You will learn how to take care of your faithful companion if it has to go for a long time without drinking this vital liquid.

How Long Can A Cat Go Without Drinking Water?

As we have already seen, a cat can survive for 3 to 4 days without drinking water. However, there is another group of experts who go further. They say that cats can go several days without eating, but they cannot go more than 48 hours without drinking water.

They don’t even recommend that they go 24 hours without drinking a drop of water. For this reason, If you have to go on a trip and don’t have anyone to leave your cat with, make sure that they always have access to this liquid.

How Much Water Should A Cat Drink?

The recommendation approved by most experts is that the cat should drink at least 50 ml. of water for every kilogram of its weight. This means that a cat of 5 kilos should drink at least 250 ml of water per day, about an average-sized glass of water. On the other hand, the maximum recommended amount of water would be twice as much (100 ml) per kilo of weight per day.

These are general rules, but it does not mean that they cannot be changed; everything will depend on the animal’s diet and physical activity. Another significant factor in calculating the amount of water a cat should drink is the temperature.

This means that in winter, the cat will need less water. This does not mean that it does not have to drink it, but its need to be hydrated is less. While in summer, cats need to drink much more of this liquid to have adequate hydration. Even if the temperature rises significantly, they could exceed 100 ml. of water per kilo.

Occasionally, due to their instincts, cats tend to drink less water than they need. That is why in summer, the owners of this animal should ensure they are getting the hydration levels required. An excellent way to achieve this is to give them food with higher water content.


What Can Happen If My Cat Does Not Drink Water?

It doesn’t matter if your cat is in excellent physical condition. If it doesn’t drink enough water to maintain its body needs, it can have serious health problems. Some of them are:

  • Dehydration. The cat can last without drinking water for a couple of days. Still, if it exceeds that time and does not receive it through its food, it will undoubtedly become dehydrated.
  • Constipation. If the cat does not drink water, the feces harden, making them more challenging to expel.
  • Urinary diseases. Not drinking water makes the symptoms of urinary disorders such as infections or cystitis appear and worsen.
  • Stones. Since the body is not receiving the water it needs, it accumulates urine to have a certain liquid reserve. This accumulation causes crystals or stones that can worsen depending on the food consumed by the cat.
  • Renal insufficiency. If the cat does not drink water and becomes dehydrated, the kidneys will receive less blood and will not do their job correctly. In consequence, the body will not be able to expel harmful substances.

How Can I Know If My Cat Is Dehydrated?

Just as with our bodies, a cat’s body will send clear signals that it is dehydrated. Some of these signs or symptoms are:

  • Sunken eyes: this is a simple sign to spot, and it is an indication to give it a drink of water immediately. When the cat has dry and sunken eyes, it is time to take our pet to the veterinarian quickly.
  • Dry gums: this is another classic sign of dehydration. If a cat drinks all the water it needs, it should always have moist gums. So when we see dry or sticky gums, it’s time for the cat to drink water.
  • The elasticity of its skin: when a cat does not drink all the water it needs, its skin loses elasticity. A way to test this is to give it a gentle pinch on the skin of its back. Suppose the cat is healthy and has no problems. In that case, you will see the skin automatically return to its position. However, if it takes a long time to return to its place, it may be dehydrated.
  • The water in its water bowl: a quick way to determine if your cat is drinking all the water his body needs is to check its water bowl. Pay attention if your cat’s water bowl is full or nearly complete after a certain amount of time; that is a clear sign that your pet is not drinking as much as it should.


Why Doesn’t My Cat Drink Almost Any Water?

The main reason why a cat does not drink water comes from its origin. We must remember that the domestic cat descends from the wild African desert cat.

This feline was accustomed to living far away from water, which made it evolve to be resistant to dehydration. It is not illogic to think that some cats do not seek to drink water directly and only get it through the water in the prey they eat or if they have a wet diet.

But if the cat does not eat prey or wet food, it is recommended that it drinks water directly from its drinking fountain. That is why it is imperative to check the cat’s diet and that every pet owner makes sure to give it enough water to drink; otherwise, it will appear to be a health problem.

Other Reasons Why Your Cat Doesn’t Drink Water

  • The cat does not like its water bowl. This may be due to the material; cats do not like plastic.
  • The water is too close to the food dish or litter box.
  • The water is dirty
  • Their mouth may be injured or cut. Check the cat’s mouth to rule this out.

What Can I Do If My Cat Does Not Drink All The Water It Needs?

As we have seen, cats have a hard time staying well hydrated on their own. This is why we have to help them hydrate, looking for ways to please them and make them accept water in a good way. Let’s look at some tricks that can be useful to help your cat drink water:

  • Add water to the food your cat eats: especially if it is dry food, you should moisten it with water to help hydrate your cat.
  • Place small water fountains around the house: sometimes cats prefer to drink water from small containers rather than large bowls filled with water.
  • Flavoring the water: Some scents or flavors can be added to the water in the drinking fountain. You should look for them in specialized stores. This may be a little more expensive than just water, but it will help in the long run.
  • Know what your cat likes: it sometimes happens that cats do not want to drink water from their bowl because it is too easy for them. It is more pleasant for them to drink water from other more complicated places, such as a dripping faucet or the garden hose. Knowing this will help us to give our cat water in the way he likes best.

How Long Does It Take To Rehydrate A Cat?


It will depend on the cause and how severe the dehydration is. The veterinarian will be in charge of giving the cat intravenous fluids. Following this treatment will make your cat recover within two days.

A Final Thought About Cats And Water

Helping your cat to drink enough water may save you some visits to the vet because if we hydrate it well, our cat will be able to maintain perfect health. Water is involved in all the vital functions in a cat’s body. For that reason, it’s mandatory to make sure our furry friend drinks all the water it needs to have a long, healthy, and happy life.