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Why Won't My Cat Drink Water?

Why Won't My Cat Drink Water?

Today, our Egg Harbor Township vets share some potential reasons why your cat may not be drinking water and provide you with tips on how you can keep your kitty hydrated.

Possible Reasons Why Your Cat Won't Drink Water

It's essential for all animals (including cats and people) to stay hydrated. When animals get thirsty it's normal for them to drink, and each type of animal needs to drink a different amount of water to stay hydrated. So, your kitty may be drinking enough water every day even if it doesn't look like they are drinking enough.

While dogs typically gulp up large amounts of water at once, cats usually only drink very small quantities at a time.

Dogs also need to drink a lot more water per kilogram of weight than cats do, so your kitty might not have to drink as much water as you may have thought.

Cats who eat a diet of dry food need to drink more water than those who eat canned or fresh foods. For every ounce of dry food, cats typically drink about 1 ounce of water, whereas cats eating wet foods will drink considerably less because much of their hydration comes from their food.

That being said, your cat may not be drinking enough water. If your cat won't drink water it may be due to the location of their water dish, the cleanliness of the water, or an underlying health problem.

Signs & Symptoms of Dehydration in Cats

Dehydration can seriously threaten the health of your cat, and if your kitty isn't drinking enough water they could become dehydrated quickly. Here are some ways you can tell if your cat is dehydrated:

  • Dry Mouth - Examine your kitty's gums. Your cat's gums should always be pink and moist. Pressing your finger against your cat's gums will make the spot you are pressing turn white, but if they don't return to a healthy pink color within a second or two of removing your finger your kitty may be dehydrated.
  • Panting - Unlike dogs, cats don't pant often. If your feline friend is panting they may be dehydrated.
  • Constipation - Check their litter box. Cats often become constipated when they are dehydrated. If your cat hasn't been passing as much stool, as usual, they could be dehydrated.
  • Sunken Eyes - Take a good look at your cat's eyes. If your kitty's eyes seem to lack focus or appear sunken or dull, dehydration may be the cause.
  • Skin Elasticity - Check your cat's skin by gently pinching the extra skin between their shoulder blades to form a tent-like shape. Once you let go your kitty's skin should snap right back to normal in less than a second. If your cat's skin doesn't snap right back, your feline friend could be dehydrated.

Call your vet straight away if your kitty is exhibiting any symptoms of dehydration. Dehydration could be fatal for cats. If your feline friend is already showing any of the symptoms above, they are probably already seriously dehydrated and need to be seen by a vet as quickly as possible.

Ways to Hydrate Your Cat if They Won't Drink Water

If you're worried that your kitty isn't drinking enough water, but they aren't displaying any symptoms of dehydration you can try implementing these methods to help your cat consume more water:

  • If your cat eats dry food switch to canned.
  • Give your kitty fresh water every day. Lots of cats won't drink water that has been out for an extended time.
  • Give your cat a different water dish or a bowl that provides running water.
  • Make sure your cat's water bowl isn't close to their litter box. If it is, move it to a different location.
  • Try moving the bowl to a different location (even if it's not near the litter box).

Serious Health Problems in Cats Related to Dehydration

If you believe your cat isn't drinking enough water, it's important to call your veterinarian immediately. Dehydration could be a sign of a severe underlying health problem like heat stroke, diabetes, or kidney disease. It's always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to the health of your feline companion.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Contact our Egg Harbor Township vets immediately if you are worried that your cat isn't drinking enough water.

Always Welcoming New Patients

At Newkirk Family Veterinarians, we always accept new patients into our veterinary family. Our veterinarians are passionate about the health and well-being of Egg Harbor Township pets. Contact us today to book your pet's first appointment. 

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