Water is an essential requirement of all living beings—regardless of the type and species, all animals need it. Nevertheless, some start drinking it earlier than others. But ardent and curious feline lovers are often up to knowing when their pet will transition from their mother’s milk to water.
When do kittens start drinking water? Should they be worried if their kitten does not drink water? We are here to answer!
When Do Kittens Start Drinking Water?
Kittens start drinking water when they are four weeks old. They also start eating at this age; however, they do not cease having their mother’s colostrum until they are fully weaned, a process that may take a few more weeks.
As the weaning process starts, kittens must start drinking water. Because once weaned, kittens lose their ability to digest milk sugar (lactose) efficiently; thus, their only source of hydration is water and wet kitten food. Not drinking water could lead to dehydration.
How Much Water Should a Kitten Drink?
According to Vetwest Animal Hospital, cats should drink about 60 ml of water per kg bodyweight every day. Since kittens do not weigh much, their water requirements are far lesser than those of adults. But as they grow, the need keeps climbing. Cat owners can refer to the kitten growth chart to calculate how much water their young feline needs to drink at each age level.
Up to Four Weeks Age
Kittens weigh around half a kg when they reach four weeks of age. Their hydration needs are now met through their mother’s colostrum. However, as soon as the weaning process starts, they should begin with 25 to 30 ml of water each day.
Up to Eight Weeks Age
Kittens fall between half to 0.9 kgs in this age group. Most kittens are completely weaned by this time, and water replaces their mother’s colostrum as the primary source of hydration. Therefore, maintaining a good water intake becomes mandatory. For an eight-week-old kitten, water need hovers around 50 ml a day.
Up to 12 Weeks Age
Kittens weigh around 1.4 kg at this age. Their water intake requirements jump to 80 ml a day. However, note that if kittens were eating wet food, they would not drink as much water since their hydration levels would be replenished through the food instead.
How to Know if a Kitten Is Dehydrated?
Look for the signs of dehydration in adult cats; they also work for kittens. These include:
- The kitten is lethargic—she has difficulty getting up and moving.
- She no longer eats. Even if she does, the amount of food consumed is meager.
- Less urination.
- Excessive panting.
- The eyes appear to be dull.
- The skin appears to be inelastic and dull. It does not come back to the normal state quickly when pulled back.
How to Know if Your Kitten Is Drinking Water?Assessing a kitten’s water consumption can be complicated. But you can resolve the issue by using a water bowl with a level marking. You can fill it up to the required amount and occasionally check to gauge the level.
How to Get a Kitten to Drink Water?
You need to be patient, consistent, and watchful to ensure the successful weaning of your kitten and eventual transition to water for hydration. It is a stressful job, though—your kitten might often end up getting her water splashed all over the place instead of drinking it.
- Provide Fresh Water Daily: Just fill up your kitten’s water bowl and place it where she feels most comfortable. Ensure that the bowl is adequately full all the time. Also, keep the water temperature similar to that of the ambiance.
- Flavor the Water: Cats are enticed by meaty flavors. Try mixing beef or chicken broth with your kitty’s water. You can also go for seafood such as tuna juice.
- Introduce Water to Your Kitten Gently: The earlier you present water to your kitten, the better it is. However, you must be very subtle since most cats are afraid of water. Just show her a running faucet often and touch a slightly damp cloth with her skin to make her acclimate to it.
- Make the Water Bowl Appealing: Try opting for stainless steel, ceramic, and glass materials for your kitten’s water bowl. They are easy to clean and come in a variety of shapes and sizes, which can be much more appealing to young ones. In addition, make sure that the bowl remains free of all gummed-up saliva.
- Use Water Fountain: Water fountains can help encourage your cat to drink water. Some cats might even go crazy for such pieces of equipment because it is more ‘normal’ for them to drink from the running water than to opt for the still one.
- Use Wet Food: Wet food can compensate for the dehydration in cats caused by low water intake. However, you must consult your vet before using this technique. Usually, a kitten having wet food a couple of days a week is fine.
Common Reasons Why Kittens Do Not Drink Water• Inappropriate water temperature
• Dirty bowl
• Stagnant water
• Unappealing bowl
What to Do if a Kitten Does Not Drink Water?
A kitten not drinking water is a serious matter that needs immediate vet attention. If your fully weaned kitten is not drinking water and exhibiting signs of dehydration, you should immediately take her to a veterinarian.
Hydration is mandatory for the proper functioning of the body. Extended dehydration could give rise to several issues, which might even lead to death in extreme cases. Common problems popping up due to dehydration include kidney diseases and urinary tract infections.
When Do Kittens Start Drinking Water? Conclusion
Kittens begin consuming as soon as the weaning begins, usually around four weeks of age. Ideally, they should start with having at least 30 ml of water every day, considering there is no other source of hydration. If your kitten refuses to drink water, you should seek medical assistance immediately to ensure her safety and well-being.