How Long Can A Cat Go Without Water – Is Your Cat Dehydrated?

Truth is some cats are fussy drinkers and from time to time suffer dehydration. If you’ve had this problem you might of wondered, how long can a cat go without water.

You’ll agree that water intake is not usually the first thing that comes to mind when looking after a cat. They are pretty self sufficient creatures, just put their water and food out and call it a day right?

Cat Fact: A cat can survive for a maximum of 3 – 4 days without drinking water, that’s the same as humans.

Dehydration In Cats

Like us, dehydration in cats occurs when their fluid levels drop. This can be due to a lack of water intake, loss of fluids, increased activity in heat or in some cases vomiting. Water is essential to cats, proper daily intake will help them digest their food, improve circulation and help with waste removal.

Usually your cat will be the first to notice that they’re dehydrated, however keep on eye on them in extreme heat. If you see your little kitty panting then that could be a sign they need a drink.

You can try to prevent dehydration by doing a few of the following things.

  • Watch where and how your cat prefers to drink. Some prefer drinking from certain bowls while others prefer the tap water. Did I mentioned they are fussy?
  • Provide clean water everyday and don’t forget to wash the cat bowl daily to stop bacteria growing.
  • If kitty is recovering from an Illness, a good idea is to give them an ice cube to lick on.
  • Finally, monitor your cat’s water and food intake. If you notice they are drinking less seek out advice from your local vet. A quick check up might be needed.

How Much Water Does My Cat Really Need?

As cats spend more energy and produce more metabolic waste throughout the day, they’ll need a higher water intake to maintain their body temps and function properly.

An adult cat should be drinking the same amount of water ( in ml’s ) as calories eaten per day. As mentioned usually they have this covered, however it’s a handy hint to know.

Keep in mind the water content of their food. While most dry foods will contain 7 – 12 percent water, canned wet food will likely be 80% water. Keep this in mind when monitoring their water intake.

Symptoms Of Dehydration

Cats will usually show signs of dehydration, keep an eye out for these symptoms.

  • Panting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased skin elasticity
  • Lethargy

If you notice any of these symptoms above then it’s possible that your cat is dehydrated. If your cat is often showing these signs an underlying issue could be the problem, seek out your local vet for advice.

What Can Happen If My Cat Doesn’t Drink Water

Much like us, if suffering from dehydration some health issues can arise. Drinking to little can cause ill effect on attitude and health.

Some health issues such as constipation can arise if your cat is dehydrated. As well as poor circulation your cat’s mood will noticeably change. Plain and simple a dehydrated cat is an unhappy cat.

What To Do If Your Cat Is Dehydrated

Being aware of when your cat is suffering is a good start, but what do you actually do to fix the problem?

If you want to attempt to get kitty do drink on his own try giving him some ice cubes. You can look into getting some electrolyte supplements and administer them manually every 10 – 15 minutes for one hour.

Pro Tip: Try crushed ice in their meal or adding warm water. Cats will like the soothing of the warm water much like humans would.

If you think it could just be as simple as changing the cat bowl then go ahead and give it a go. Alternatively there is the option of using a cat fountain to spice things up in their life. Cats are curious by nature and something new could be all it takes to encourage them to have a drink.

PetSafe Drinkwell Original Cat Water Fountain, Filtered Water for Your Pet

PetSafe Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain, 50 oz Capacity...
  • Water capacity: 50 ounce. water capacity...
  • Encourages drinking: Free-falling stream...
  • Filtered water: Includes replaceable...

This water fountain is a clear favourite among cat owners. If your cat likes to drink from the tap consider giving this one a go. Its free falling stream replicates the kitchen sink or any running tap for that matter.

It does come with a filter which will need replacing eventually, if that’s not your thing consider another option.  Its BPA free and easy to clean making it my top pick.

You will want to consider purchasing the cleaning brushes and extra filters to go along with the fountain. They brushes will make life easier as they are a perfect fit, and the filters will match right up.


  • Great design and BPA free
  • Adjustable stream flow and filtered water
  • Easy to clean


  • Whilst it is easy to clean, It will require some regular maintenance
  • Can be a little noisy
  • Changing filters might not be your thing

PetSafe Drinkwell Sedona Cat Water Fountain, Ceramic and BPA-Free Plastic Pet Drinking Fountain

PetSafe Drinkwell Sedona Dog and Cat Water Fountain,...
  • WATER CAPACITY: 100 oz. water capacity...
  • ENCOURAGES DRINKING: Moving water...
  • FILTERED WATER: Includes replaceable...

This water fountain is a bigger better version of the one above. It does provide a nicer styling in my opinion. It would be a great option if you have a multiple cat household, its extra water capacity will be more than enough to see them through.

It’s also very quiet when operating making it a much better product overall. It is however a little expensive.

You have the option to choose either the foam filter or carbon filter. Both will get the job done.


  • Top notch fountain
  • Super Quiet
  • Multi cat friendly


  • Top notch fountain
  • Super Quiet
  • Multi cat friendly

How Long Can A Cat Go Without Food?

If you’d like to know more about how long a cat can go without food then I suggest reading the article I wrote on this. You might be surprised with the answer.

Last update on 2021-07-27 at 09:04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API