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Cat Won't Drink Water: Causes & What to Do

Cat Won't Drink Water: Causes & What to Do

It is important to keep your pet well hydrated but sometimes our feline friends may not drink as much as they should. Our vets at the Airport Pet Emergency Clinic talk about why your cat might not be drinking water and what you should do about it.

My Cat Isn't Drinking

Like all mammals, staying hydrated is pertinent to a cat's health. However, if your cat is resisting water, it may not yet mean that they are dehydrated or in poor health.

Cats don't require as much water per kilogram as some larger animals do, meaning that your cat may not need to drink as much water as you think.

Having your cat on a canned or fresh food diet also provides them with added water, while cats that mainly eat a dry food diet will need more water on a daily basis to ensure they keep hydrated. For every ounce of dry food, cats typically drink about 1 ounce of water, whereas cats eating wet foods will drink considerably less because much of their hydration comes from their food.

While your cat needing less water compared to other animals is true, there might still be situations that your cat isn't drinking enough. If you notice that your cat isn't drinking any water then it's time to look into why.

How To Tell That Your Cat Is Dehydrated

Below are some of the most common side effects of dehydration in cats:

  • Constipation - Checking your cat's litterbox is an easy way to tell if they have been drinking enough water. When cats are dehydrated they often become constipated. If your cat hasn't been having regular bowel movements, dehydration may be to blame.
  • Panting - Unlike dogs, cats do not typically pant. If your feline friend is panting it is a sign that they may be dehydrated.
  • Skin Elasticity - Check your cat's skin by gently pulling the skin between their shoulder blades out. Once you let go your cat's skin should return immediately to its regular form. If your cat's skin doesn't snap right back, your feline friend could be dehydrated.
  • Sunken Eyes - Take a good look at your cat's eyes. If your cat's eyes appear sunken or glazed over this could be another indication that they haven't been drinking enough water. 
  • Dry Mouth - Take a look at your cat's gums. They should always be pink and moist. If you press your finger against your cat's gums they should turn white, but if they don't return to a healthy pink color within a second or two of removing your finger your kitty may be dehydrated.

Do not hesitate to contact your Blountville vet immediately if you notice that your cat has become dehydrated.

Dehydration can be potentially fatal in cats, and if you are clearly noticing the symptoms listed above then your cat is likely to be severely dehydrated and in need of veterinary care.

How To Provide Hydration To a Cat That Won't Drink

If your cat is not clearly showing the signs above but you are still concerned that they may not be drinking enough water then there are a few things you can try in order to increase their water intake.

  • Sometimes your cat may just not like the location of its water bowl in general and moving it may help.
  • Try a different bowl or a bowl that provides running water for cats to enjoy.
  • An easy way to increase water intake if your cat eats dry food is to switch to canned food.
  • Cats are clean creatures and may not drink if their water bowl is in close proximity to their litter box.
  • Cats have a natural instinct to drink fresh flowing water so you should be sure to provide them with fresh water daily.

Serious Health Conditions Linked To Dehydration

It is important to contact your vet right away if you believe that your cat isn't drinking enough water. While it may be possible that your cat is simply not drinking enough, dehydration can also be an indication of a serious underlying condition such as kidney disease, heatstroke, or diabetes. It is always best to have your cat examined in order to ensure the health of your cat.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you concerned that your cat isn't drinking enough water? Contact our Airport Pet Emergency Clinic vets right away to book an examination for your kitty.

New Patients Welcome

Airport Pet Emergency Clinic is open weekday evenings, overnight, weekends and holidays to provide your pet with urgent care when needed. Our experienced Blountville vets are passionate about caring for companion animals.

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Contact (423) 279-0574