Just like humans, in an extreme case, a healthy adult cat is able to go several weeks without eating when given the opportunity to drink. On the other hand, it cannot withstand the absence of water for more than 3 or 4 days. Therefore, do not hesitate to alert your neighbors if your cat is missing. What if its curiosity led him to break into a neighbor’s garage or garden shed and get trapped inside?
How Long Can Cats Go Without Water?
Cats are weird creatures, and they like to find a hiding place to take a nap out of sight. But in this case, how long can cats go without water? This article will discuss all you need to know about the importance of hydration in cats.
Let’s start this discussion with some important facts.
How Much Water Do Cats Drink?
It is true that cats generally drink little water. However, water is essential for them for several reasons:
- Water makes up 60% of their body, it is found in all cells, blood, saliva and other fluids, so it needs to be replaced.
- The blood also needs water to facilitate transporting nutrients, oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout the body.
- The body needs water to regulate its temperature and protect and hydrate the skin, joints, and internal organs.
- Water helps flush out toxins that the body releases through urine.
- The body also expels water through the lungs, breathing or panting, which cats do when hot since they sweat little through the skin, unlike humans.
Are Cats the Descendants of the Desert?
Cats need to drink less water than other animals; it is a characteristic preserved from their origin as desert cats before their domestication. Living in dry areas and arid climates, cats, have evolved to get almost all the water they need from their prey.
Many of their prey, such as small mammals, birds, amphibians, and insects, contain 70 and 75% water. Some studies have shown that cats that eat rodents or birds do not need to drink water unless they are very hot. It has been proven that cats can survive for days without water since the hydration provided by their diet is sufficient. However, that is not the case with your pet cat.
Due to their evolutionary history, cats’ drinking instinct is lower than that of dogs or humans. A dehydrated dog will replenish the water his body needs if he has access to water within the hour, while a cat can wait up to 24 hours without going to drink. Despite the fact that their ancestors came from the desert, cats should always have water available, and they should never be left alone without the possibility of drinking.
How Much Water Does a Cat Need?
Generally, people leave a bowl of water for their cats (or dogs) without thinking about how much water their pet needs. A cat’s water intake depends on several factors. You can quickly tell if your cat is drinking enough water by simply taking into account those factors and observing your cat. Below are some of the tips:
- A bigger cat needs more water than a smaller one—logical. Your feline’s water needs depend on its size.
- Another critical factor is the type of food you give to your pet. If you give your cat dry food, they need more water. It is quite the opposite if your cat eats home-cooked wet or canned foods–as logical as the above.
- If your cat isn’t suffering from vomiting or diarrhea, its water requirement is 6 to 12 cl of water. But, that all depends on the weather. If it’s too hot, you need to give your pet more water. If it’s cold, the water requirement is even less than the mentioned amount.
- You can judge by observing your cat. If it’s active, sleeps less, its skin is shiny and elastic, it urinates regularly, it means your cat is well-hydrated.
How to Encourage Cats to Drink Water?
Cats seem to take longer to drink when dehydrated, and voluntary water ingestion is less necessary than in dogs, for example, when the temperature is high. This is why on the labels of cat foods, particularly on those of the kibble, it is recommended to offer them clean and fresh water at all times.
For reasons of hygiene and health, the water container should be washed and filled with fresh water every day. Dry food contains little water, which is why cats need to drink to compensate, and they will drink more water if they eat dry than if they eat wet food. A normal 4kg cat that feeds on dry food should drink around 220ml of water per day. If that same cat eats wet food, it will only need to drink 30 ml of water per day.
Some cats drink more than others, but they should be encouraged to drink regardless of their diet. Cats prefer cool, clean water, so changing it every day will encourage them to drink more. Just as some cats are selective about their food, others are also selective about the flavor of the water offered to them.
For this, you can buy a water dispenser for your feline to make sure enough water is available to them all the time. PetSafe Pet Gravity Water Station is a great option. It provides fresh water to your cat automatically whenever it wants.
Having several containers of water in the house is a good strategy for cats, and it has been proven that this way, water intake significantly increases. Some cats drink more water if it is leaking, for example, if it comes out of a tap or a special cat bottle. This is because cats love flowing water.
The best option is to buy a Veken Pet Fountain automatic fountain dispenser with three replacement filters and a silicon mat for your pet.
You can also opt for a pet-safe ceramic fountain for your pet. Flowing water gives them the feeling of fresh water running from a stream and they drink water happily.
When temperatures are high, cats are particularly at risk of dehydration, so they pant to lower their temperature. This way of lowering the temperature involves the loss of water by evaporation, which is why cats must drink to compensate for this loss; otherwise, they are at risk of becoming ill quickly from dehydration. Before this situation occurs, buy a good water dispenser to keep your pet hydrated all the time.
Our Final Thoughts
Now you know how long can cats go without water and how to encourage them to drink water. Share this information with other feline lovers and let them know the importance of hydration in cats.