Cat Not Drinking Water? Here's What to Do

Cats are known for their fiercely independent nature. Turning their nose up at their once loved cat food, or playing hard to get when all you want is a floofy cuddle. This fussy temperament can also extend to their hydration habits, sassily refusing to drink from their water bowl which can be worrying for pawrents and can lead to a dehydrated and unhealthy cat. If you notice your cat’s not lapping at their water bowl like they normally would, don’t hit the panic button just yet! Today we’re going to break down the reasons for a cat not drinking water, the symptoms of a dehydrated kitty, and provide you with practical solutions to coax your cat back into guzzling down some H2O

How Much Water Should My Cat Be Drinking?

Cat not drinking water? Here is why

Unlike many of us who sip at our emotional support water bottles throughout the day, animals only drink when they’re thirsty. The amount of water an animal must drink varies from species to species, and as small animals cats require much less water than you or I. 

Your average 4kg moggie requires around 200mL of water per day. Larger cat breeds such as Main coones will require slightly higher water levels, around 300mL for 6kg in weight. 

These water levels can also fluctuate slightly depending on what type of cat food your tomcat is eating. Wet food has a higher moisture content than dry food and will therefore be hydrating your floof as they tuck into dinner. However, if your cat solely eats dry food, they may need to drink slightly more water to keep them hydrated. 

As you can see, this level of water is much less than our recommended two litres per day so if you think your cat’s not drinking enough water, they may in fact be lapping up all they need to stay hydrated.

Cat Dehydration: What are The Other Signs of a Cat Not Drinking Water?

Monitoring how much your cat is drinking every day can be difficult for pawrents. Therefore knowing the signs of dehydration can help point you in the right direction to managing a cat not drinking water. 

The signs to watch out for of a cat not drinking water and kitty-cat dehydration include:

  • Dry Mouth and Gums: to check this, press against your cat’s salmon pink gums. They should turn white after pressing and then return to a pink colour within a couple of seconds. If it takes longer for their gums to return to a normal colour it may be a sign of a cat not drinking water.
  • Reduced Skin Elasticity: after gently pulling your cat’s skin it should rebound quickly. If their skin doesn’t snap back quickly they may be dehydrated. 
  • Constipation: reduced water in your cat’s stool can cause it to become stuck and make them constipated which may indicate that your cat is dehydrated.
  • Panting: panting is abnormal for cats and can be a sign of a cat not drinking water.

Why is My Cat Not Drinking Water?

There are many reasons for a cat not drinking water. 

Here are some of the main ones:

  1. They Don’t Need To

If your cat is eating wet cat food, they may be getting decent levels of water from the high moisture content of their dinner. This will make them less thirsty and thus drink less water. 

  1. It’s Instinct

In the wild, cats tend to avoid still water sources such as puddles and stagnant ponds as they are more likely to contain bugs and bacteria. If your cat’s water source comes from a water bowl, the lack of movement in the water may deter them from drinking it. 

  1. You’ve Got Yourself a Fussy Feline

A cat not drinking water may also be down to plain fussiness. Some cats are more picky than others when it comes to the way they like to be served their H2O. Some cats like it in a bowl, some want it straight from the tap. Even the size or pattern of their bowl can be enough to deter some fussy tomcats. If their water hasn’t been touched for a while or their water bowl isn’t clean, they may also turn their nose up to it as they can smell that something’s not quite right with their water source. 

  1. Underlying Health Problems 

Underlying health conditions such as kidney issues and thyroid problems can be a factor in a cat not drinking water. Dental disease which is common in domesticated cats, can also cause oral pain which may deter your cat from drinking. 

Help! My Cat’s Not Drinking Water, What Do I Do?

If you notice your cat not drinking water, the first thing to do is consult your vet. This way they can assess your floof and make sure there are no underlying health conditions that may be causing their lack of thirst. 

If you’ve determined that your cat not drinking water isn’t down to anything concerning, we have a few tips to help coax them into lapping up their H2O once again.

  1. Try changing their water bowl. Small things like the material it’s made of, the size or even the pattern can be enough to make your cat turn their nose up. Try changing one of these to see if that does the trick. If this doesn't work, you can try letting them drink directly from the tap or use a snazzy running water bowl or fountain bowl. 
  2. Refill their water bowl with fresh water daily, and make sure that their bowl is squeaky clean.
  3. Move the bowl to a different location and make sure it’s not near their litter box. 

Feeding them a wet cat food is another great way to ensure that your cat is staying hydrated, particularly if they’re fussy when it comes to drinking water. Make sure to choose a wet cat food from a trusted brand (hint Scrumbles), and always read the cat food label so that you know what you’re serving up at tea time is nutritious and high-quality.

Check out our Ultimate Cat Food Guide for all the details on how to choose the best food for your feline prince or princess. 

Why Choose Scrumbles Wet Cat Food

If you’re looking for a highly nutritious and gut-friendly cat food that will satisfy even the fussiest of moggies, we’ve got just the thing - Scrumbles Wet Cat Food!

Scrumbles Wet Cat food

And here’s why:

  1. Added moisture content - our wet cat food is gently steamed, locking in all the taste and nutrients of high-quality ingredients. With a higher moisture content than dry food, our wet cat food keeps your cat hydrated whilst they tuck in at mealtime. 
  2. Gut-friendly recipes - We add gut-loving prebiotic slippery elm to all of our wet cat food recipes and avoid artificial nasties like added salt, sugar and fillers to support a healthy gut microbiome and promote pretty poops! We also avoid common allergens such as dairy, soy, gluten and egg, perfect for even the most sensitive of felines. 
  3. Protein rich - Our recipes are loaded with up to 77% quality animal meat to satiate our carnivorous feline friends, and we never use plant proteins which are really just added fluff that provide little nutritional benefit for cats. 
  4. Designed with nutritionists and approved by vets - our recipes are FEDIAF approved and designed with optimal kitty cat health in mind so that you can rest assured knowing your cat will be getting everything they need to thrive from what’s in their food bowl.

Lip-smackingly tasty- All of our recipes score 100% on palatability testing meaning that they get the lick of approval by even the fussiest of cats.

Whilst you're here, why not read:

1. Cornish Rex Breed Guide

2. Why does my dog follow me to the bathroom?

3. Can dogs drink my tea?


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