There is no life without water. All living organisms need water.
Plants need water to grow, humans need water to survive, and for their bodies to function properly. Similarly, cats need water as well. But when they stop drinking water, you get concerned. And rightly so—they are not camels that can store water in their bloodstream for long. Their not drinking water may make owners wonder: How long can a cat go without water?
How Much Water Does a Cat Need?
We provide our cats access to fresh and clean water round the clock so that they can drink whenever they feel a need to do so and stay hydrated and healthy. When our cats are drinking water, we do not really have to worry about how much water a cat needs to stay hydrated. But when she is quirky about drinking water, cat owners get concerned. In such cases, it may help to know how much water our cats need to stay hydrated.
Different cats require different amounts of water to stay hydrated. Many factors are at play when it comes to cats’ water needs. One such factor is bodyweight—the heavier the cat, the more the water requirement. According to WebMD, “your cat needs about 3.4 to 4.5 ounces of water per pounds of body weight every day.” By this scale, if your cat is weighing 10 pounds, she must be drinking about 7 to 9 ounces of water every day.
How Long Can a Cat Go Without Water?
Do you think that food is more important than water?
Quite the opposite!
Water is crucial for the proper functioning of a cat’s body. Dehydrated cats are prone to developing certain health issues, even if they are consuming ample food. Where cats can survive without food from anywhere between one to two weeks, they cannot go more than 3 to 4 days without water. Water becomes more important when your cat is refusing to eat.
We cannot exactly say how long your cat can go without water as there are several factors involved. Some of them are:
At different stages of their life, cats have different requirements to stay healthy. Where a healthy adult cat may live without water for 3 to 4 days, young kittens and senior cats won’t be able to survive that long.
Genetics is another determining factor—if your cat did not receive strong survival genes, she won’t be able to go longer without water. In contrast, if she is blessed with strong survival genes from her parents, she will be able to survive for longer periods in harsh environments—without water.
Level of Activity
We all need a glass of water after an intensive activity. We sweat and lose water. Therefore, to stay hydrated, we need to drink more water. Similarly, our feline fellas would enervate faster if they are active, requiring more water to regain the vigor and, of course, stay hydrated.
Dry Food or Wet Food
What your cat is putting in her mouth matters a lot when it comes to the cat not drinking water. If she has been eating wet food, she will be able to live longer without water than if she was eating dry cat food. This is because wet cat food contains a lot of water, so your cat is getting water while eating wet cat food. As much as 80 percent of wet cat food content is water.
However, you should keep in mind that even with wet cat food, your cat needs to be drinking certain amounts of water from their water bowl.
In summer, we sweat—a lot—so we require more water to make up for the lost fluids. Similarly, felines are also susceptible to dehydration in hot weather, especially if they are involved in intense activities. So if the weather is hot, your cat won’t be able to go long without water.
Indoor or Outdoor Cat
Indoor cats usually fare better than outdoor cats if the weather is hot as they are living under a roof where the temperature is controlled. Indoor cats eating dry food would be at a disadvantage as compared to outdoor cats who are getting some water from their prey.
In addition to the loss of body fluids through sweating, cats also lose fluids when vomiting or paying a visit to the litter box. Urinating and defecating is a healthy activity, but it does result in some fluid loss, which is nothing to worry about if your cat has been drinking water. But when a cat is finicky about water, this fluid loss may keep it from going long without water.
How Long Can a Cat Go Without Food?
Just like us humans, our feline friends can go longer without food than water. As discussed above, cats can only go for about three days without water. But a healthy cat may live without food for up to two weeks, provided they are drinking ample water.
This is because when cats are not eating, they use their body fat to go about their days without food. But there is no way for the cat’s body to make up for not getting water.
We should not forget that cats are obligate carnivores—they require meaty proteins to stay in good shape. A cat not eating food means that she is not getting any proteins, which can be deadly for cats. Her organs may start to shut down within a week, depending on your cat’s overall health.
Why Is My Cat Not Drinking Water?
Cats not drinking water could be deadly. Therefore, it is necessary that as a responsible cat owner, you must familiarize yourself with the potential reasons underlying your cat not drinking water so that you could prevent it. Read on the reasons, but we recommend consulting your vet before it gets out of hand.
There Might Be Something Wrong With Your Cat
Cats are reserved creatures. They do not let others get a hint about their vulnerabilities and sickness. This is the reason that many cat owners, even the passionate and caring ones, often fail to identify if their cat has been sick—they only learn it when it’s too late. To avoid getting into such a situation, you must familiarize yourself with the subtle signs of sickness that your cat will exhibit if there is something wrong with her. Cat not drinking water could be a sign of sickness itself. So before it gets too late, you should take your cat to the vet.
She Is Just Being Fussy
Cats are known for their behavioral quirks. They are finicky about almost everything, but when it comes to water, they get extra finicky—refusing to drink any water, be it from a bowl or a running water source. This is usually just a phase and will go away in a day or two, but if it continues, your cat might suffer from dehydration. In such cases, it is advised to give your wet cat food and offer them treats like watermelon.
Signs of Dehydration in Cats
It is hard to keep an eye on your cat round the clock to check if she is drinking water or not. However, you can look for the following signs of dehydration in cats:
- Skin tenting—loss of skin elasticity
- Dry and tacky gums
- Cat Panting—yes, cats pant too
- Sunken eyes
- Little to no eating
What can you do about it?
If your cat has been exhibiting the above signs of dehydration, you should immediately take her to the vet. Meanwhile, you can try the following home remedies to help your cat rehydrate:
- Switch from dry cat food to wet cat food
- Try luring your cat to drink water by adding some tuna juice to her water bowl
- If the weather is hot, you can put some ice cubes in your kitty’s water bowl
- If your cat is a fan of watermelon, you can share watermelon flesh with her
If she is not drinking from a water dish, provide them a cat water fountain
Coming back to how long can a cat go without water, there is no standard answer. Much depends upon the circumstances peculiar to every cat. But on average, a cat can live without water for 3-4 days. But it may not always be the case. To prevent her from dehydration, cat keepers should lure their cats into drinking water or eating foods containing a sizable amount of water.