How much water should your cat be drinking per day?

Making sure our cats have enough water each day is essential for their overall health and wellbeing. But just how much water should a cat drink?

What is the normal amount of water for a cat to drink in 24 hours?

The amount of water a cat drinks daily can vary depending on a number of factors.

Size, breed, age and lifestyle all play a role in how often they’ll take a trip to the water bowl in a day.

A general guide for many is 0.8oz of water per lb of bodyweight.

The average cat weighs around 10lb, so will need approximately 8oz of water each day.

Another detail to consider is your cat’s diet and the ratio of dry to wet food they’re being fed.

If they’re eating predominately dry food then you are going to want to up the levels of water they’re drinking.

Similarly, as the temperature begins to rise, your cat is going to want to cool off by drinking more.

It is imperative that cats have easy access to fresh, clean water at all times. This way they are able to drink as much as they like.

Signs your cat may be dehydrated

Dehydration in cats is extremely dangerous. These tell tale signs will show if you need to up their hydration levels.

  • If your cat is breathing heavily with their mouth open, they could be telling you they want some water. It’s rare for cats to pant, so it’s definitely a matter of concern if you suddenly see them doing it. It may be a sign that they are anxious, stressed…or overheated, a common symptom of dehydration. It could well be that they have just overexerted themselves while on the hunt for a mouse. Place a bowl of water in front of them and you will quickly learn if dehydration is the issue.
  • Lack of appetite. There are a number of reasons why a cat may suddenly lose their appetite. If you have noticed they are not eating as much as usual, it could be because they’re not getting enough water. When your cat is eating a dry food diet, it is essential that you make water readily available. If they refuse to eat for longer than 24 hours then you should immediately schedule an appointment with the vet. You should also monitor their daily water intake. Signs of dehydration are subtle. Checking the amount of water they drink each day is a good way of catching any problems early.
  • Loss of energy in cats can be characterized by general inactivity, sleepiness, or a lack of interest in their surroundings. Lethargic cats are also more likely to spend time hiding in rooms, and will not respond to your touch in the same way they usually would. Any of these changes in behavior could be down to the fact your cat has not been consuming enough water. Cats are graceful creatures and if you have noticed them moving strangely, perhaps losing their balance regularly, then this could also be a sign that something is wrong with their hydration levels.
  • Skin elasticity. Fluid keeps your cat’s skin smooth and elastic. Performing a skin ‘tent’ on your cat is a quick and easy way to see if they are dehydrated. All you need to do is gently pinch the skin between their shoulder blades. If the skin snaps back to normal in a couple of seconds, then there’s no problem. However, if the skin stays in the same position (like a tent) and recedes slowly, then this could be sign of severe dehydration. This test is not 100% accurate, so if you do have any concerns make sure you contact your vet.
  • Gums and eyes. Another way to test for dehydration is by touching your cat’s gums. Use your finger to gently push up their lip, and slowly press against the gum line. A normal cat’s gums will feel moist and slick, whereas a dehydrated cat’s will be dry and sticky. Thick saliva is an indication a cat may be suffering from dehydration. Slightly sunken or dull eyes can also be a sign that a cat’s body is lacking moisture. Some senior cats naturally have sunken eyes, so other symptoms should be taken into account when working out if your cat is dehydrated.
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