After just 24 hours without water, your cat will begin to show signs of dehydration.
Most cat owners know that their feline companions are at their most active between the hours of midnight and morning, when they themselves sleep. However, if they don’t see their cat drinking any water and the dish seems to be empty, they may get anxious.
When it comes to water, how long can a cat go? Aurora Cat Hospital and Hotel owner and medical director Dr. Tarina L. Anthony recommends no more than 24 hours.
Cats: How Much Water Should They Have?
Anthony says most healthy cats don’t need exact measurement of water consumption, but most vets do prescribe a certain formula. According to her, “the normal water intake for a cat is highly individual variable,” although “ranges from 40-60 milliliters [approximately 14 cup] per kilogram of body weight per day have been purported as ‘normal’.” However, she speculates that intakes of 20-70 milliliters per kilogram per day are more likely to be typical.
This equates to around one cup of water each day for an average-sized cat (one that weighs 5 kilos, or 11 pounds). The most crucial step is establishing your cat’s “normal” routines and routine water consumption so you can notify your vet of any abnormalities.
She also notes that your veterinarian may determine the quantity of water to give your cat based on calorie demands connected to optimal body weight, depending on the precise requirements for how much to feed your cat. As the author puts it, “the intake calculations are often used when increase or decrease in water intake is suspected, or in the hospital setting.”
How Long Does a Cat Last Without Drinking?
Cats have always lived in arid regions. “That means healthy cats are quite good at maintaining their hydration status with relatively little water, often derived from their food,” Anthony says. Because of this, their pee is very concentrated, not to mention pungent.
But they still require water, and they won’t last more than three days without it. “Dehydration sets in after about 24 hours without water,” she explains. The longer this continues, the more damage is done to their internal organs until they give out and die.
How long can an ailing cat continue without drinking? Don’t allow that happen, since they are more susceptible to severe dehydration and may get into danger more quickly if they are already vomiting or experiencing diarrhea and losing body fluids. Hyperthyroid, renal, and diabetic felines also tend to drink more water than healthy felines.
To check how well hydrated your cat is, Anthony recommends lightly pinching and lifting the skin on the back of their neck. It’s normal for the skin to’snap’ back into place. Please see your veterinarian if the skin continues to tent or if you have any questions.
Causes Your Cat May Not Be Hydrated
Anthony claims that many cat owners don’t even realize their felines are drinking water, which is maybe not surprising given that cats don’t wriggle and mewl for a drink the way they do for food.
But there are certain reasons why your cat won’t drink from the bowl:
- Cleanliness. Anthony warns that “he might not want to drink if the water is dirty or old, or if the bowl is murky or slimy.”
- Discomfort or illness. If it’s uncomfortable for him to get to the water source, he may drink less of it.
- Dry foods only. And, “some studies have shown that cats fed all-dry diets actually had decreased water intake,” she says. If your cat only eats dry food, this may seem paradoxical, but it’s something to think about.
Picky cats may also be picky about where they get their water. Where, say, the litter box is located? “Some behaviorists have remarked that cats also don’t want their food and water sources to be too close together, but I’ve not personally found that to be an issue,” Anthony explains
Solution to the Problem of a Non-Drinking Cat
How else might you ensure that your cat drinks enough water? It’s possible that one or two of these suggestions may help.
- Anthony recommends feeding your cat canned food since it is normally adequate for a healthy cat without underlying concerns (due to the high water content).
- To prepare canned food, add warm water.
- Anthony recommends adding an ice cube or two to the water, as well as a few drops of canned tuna juice or low-sodium chicken broth, to pique their interest.
- Even with a filter, mildew and mold may grow in the fountain’s reservoir, so be sure to clean it often.
- Water bowls should be cleaned regularly and decalcified if deposits have built up.
Keep in mind that not all cats like the same tricks. Anthony continues, “It may take some trial and error to figure out what works best for yours. Purina Hydracare, which was created to promote increased water consumption and retention, should also be taken into account. It’s a delicious soup that’s been served in a spotless bowl next to the utensils. Before giving your cat any new nutrients, consult with your veterinarian.