What are the water needs of a cat?

A cat’s water needs vary depending on several factors. Some cats drink too much, others not enough, and this can be indicative of a health problem that needs to be identified as quickly as possible. Let’s see how to assess the quantity of drink essential for your cat and what is the best solution so that the kitty has always fresh water night and day.

How to estimate the water needs of my cat?

The cat must be able to hydrate itself throughout the day and night. On average and in normal times, a 3 kg kitty needs around 15 cl of water per day and a cat weighing 5 kg should drink about 25 cl of water daily. To assess his cat’s own needs, the owner should consider that they are plus or minus 5 cl per kilogram of body weight and per 24 hour period. The calculation is therefore simple.

Let’s say thatbetween 4 and 6 cl / kg, the range is considered normal, the needs being a little different depending on whether it is for example a still young adult cat or an old cat and may even vary according to the breed of the animal. Also note that a pregnant or lactating cat should drink more than usual. Do not hesitate to seek advice from the veterinarian.

Great or small thirst: what explains these differences?

It is necessary to monitor if your cat drinks enough daily because hydration is absolutely fundamental for his health. Some owners worry that their cat is drinking too much, others that the animal is not drinking enough. In either case, the concern is perfectly legitimate. These deviations can have various causes.


A cat fed exclusively on dry food drinks more than one who receives canned food or household rations because the humidity level of these foods is six to seven times more important than that of dry food. These being dehydrated, they contain only 10% water which is not much.

A sickness

Kidney failure or diabetes are pathologies that affect the feeling of thirst. Indeed, among their various symptoms, we find the primary polydipsia. This term refers to excessive thirst which results in increased fluid intake. In this type of situation, the cat can drink the equivalent of 9 to 10 cl per kilogram of body weight per day, or ½ liter for a 5 kg cat, which is really a lot.

A psychological disorder

It can also be the cause of an increase in water consumption in the cat who then feels a craving to drink. This is called the potomania which is a psychological polydipsia. In this case, the animal may be able to swallow any liquid within its reach. You have to be particularly vigilant.


If the cat does not like the water that his owner offers him, this can significantly reduce the amount of drink absorbed and adversely affect the health of the kitty. So that the animal does not drink enough, it suffices for example a strongly chlorinated water whose taste does not go unnoticed by this fine gourmet, or even stagnant water which has stagnated for too long in the bowl exposed in full sun. When her daily fluid intake is less than 3 cl / kg body weight, there are risks. We must quickly find a solution to reverse the trend.

Beware of dehydration in cats who do not drink enough

If the cat’s water needs are not met, for whatever reason, the animal may be quickly dehydrated because it loses more water than it consumes, even than when he goes into his litter box.

It is therefore necessary to ensure that it always has water available and the ideal is to be able to quantify the amount of liquid that the little feline absorbs per 24-hour period, especially when the cat feels very little thirst, unlike dogs or even humans. In the slightest doubt, the master can perform a very simple test to check the flexibility of the epidermis of his little companion.

This skin fold test consists of lightly pinching the skin of the neck which should, under normal circumstances, regain its position in less than 3 seconds. It is considered that the cat is dehydrated when the skin remains wrinkled longer. It is therefore essential to consult the veterinarian without delay, especially if the kitty is panting, seems dejected, has transit problems, vomits, lack of appetite and / or stops washing. Dehydration can very quickly become dangerous for the health of the cat.

Encourage your cat to drink

As we have seen, the cat is not by nature a heavy drinker. His master must therefore be careful to encourage him to drink enough. His water must always be clean and fresh. If it is served in a simple bowl, it is necessary to change it two to three times a day and to clean the container just as often. It is highly preferable that both are perfectly odorless so that the animal will want to drink.

The ideal is to install a water fountain with graduation. The device keeps the water under cover, the filter and the liquid being in motion, the animal is encouraged to drink more because it takes great pleasure in quenching its thirst when it has access to a fountain. In addition, the owner can know on a daily basis whether his cat has perfectly compensated his water needs. At the same time, it is better to avoid feeding the kitty exclusively with kibble.