Porky & Buddy Pet Health – How Much Water Is Good For Cats?

Dear Porky & Buddy,

How much water does a cat need to drink? I know they do need water, but my two cats seem to be entirely different.  Bertha drinks a ton of water. Phillip, I almost never see drinking. Should I be worried about him?  They both get both wet and dry food if that makes a difference.


That’s a good question, but one that has no easy answer. Cats need fresh drinking water every day for optimum health. Water is essential for helping the kidneys flush out toxins from the blood, and it keeps other organ tissues hydrated and healthy.

Here is what you should do all year round to make sure that both of your cats are getting what they need, (but be especially vigilant as the weather gets hotter and hotter).  First, keep fresh, clear water available at all times for all cats, regardless of diet.  Cats tend to love those automatic water dispensers, and having one might encourage Phillip to drink more.

Second, know your cat’s drinking habits. If he suddenly goes “off his water” or starts drinking excessive amounts regularly, call your veterinarian.

And finally, watch for signs of dehydration. A good test is to pull up the loose skin at the nape of the neck. If it springs right back, the cat is sufficiently hydrated. If it is slow to recede, suspect dehydration. Try adding water to your cat’s canned food or adding an ice cube or two to his drinking water to make it more interesting. If the neck skin does not appreciably recede, and the cat shows any other sign of sickness, call your veterinarian immediately.

Dehydration in cats is dangerous, and if not treated, can lead to death.

Cats in kidney failure – either acute or chronic, often require extra fluids given either intravenously or by subcutaneous drip. The latter therapy is often carried out at home and is relatively easy to learn and perform. With most cats, the improvement after these treatments is significant and visible.

On the other hand, excessive drinking of water can be a warning sign for feline hyperthyroidism or feline diabetes. While cats may instinctively drink more during hot weather, it is important (as with all cats’ habits) to know how much a cat drinks normally.

So if he or she suddenly starts consuming large quantities of water and also shows other symptoms, you should be concerned and call your vet.

P.S.  Obviously the same general concerns apply to dogs too, and all pets in this hot weather!

Speaking of all “pets,” come and see people have fun with their horses and each other at the Humane Society’s Large Animal Assistance Project Fun Horse Show, to be  held on June 10 starting at 9 a.m. at Fisher Farms, 7259 Plainville Road, Plainville, NY.

Call 593-1128 for more details about the show.

The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Our office is located at 265 W. First St., Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 207-1070.

Email:[email protected] Website: www.oswegohumane.org