The Science of Hydration Why Cats Need More Water Than You Think Feature

*This post may contain affiliate links for which I earn commissions.*

Cats can be very picky when it comes to hydration, and it’s easy to underestimate how much water they need on a daily basis. But hydration is a critical component of a cat’s health and wellbeing, and understanding the science of hydration is key to keeping your cat healthy and happy. In this blog post, we’ll explore hydration for cats!

cats hydration

How The Anatomy Of Your Cat Affects Their Hydration Needs

When it comes to understanding the importance of hydration for cats, it is essential to consider their anatomy. Cats have evolved differently from humans in many ways, and this includes their water requirements.

Kitty Doesn’t Sweat

The most obvious difference between cats and humans when it comes to hydration is that cats do not sweat like we do. This means that they are unable to regulate their body temperature through evaporative cooling like we can, and instead they need to rely on panting or seeking out cool areas. As a result, cats can become dehydrated quicker than us as they are unable to release heat through sweating.

Kitty Has Smaller Kidneys Than Us

Another anatomical feature of cats affects their hydration needs is the size of their kidneys. Cats have much smaller kidneys proportionately than their humans, which makes them less efficient at eliminating waste products from the body, so more water is needed for their bodies to function correctly.

Kitty Has A Shorter Intestinal Tract Than Us

Cats also have shorter intestinal tracts than us, which means they absorb a higher proportion of water from food compared to humans. However, this does not mean that they require less overall fluid intake since food only provides part of a cat’s daily fluid requirement; the rest must come from drinking water through the day.

Kitty Prefers To Hydrate By Eating

Historically, cats tend to have a natural preference for food with higher moisture content such as raw meats or canned foods which contain added fluids.

How Much Water Should Cats Drink Every Day?

Cats are obligate carnivores, meaning that their diet is composed almost exclusively of animal-based proteins. Because of this, they do not consume large amounts of water in the same way that humans and other animals do. This makes it difficult to determine exactly how much water cats need to stay hydrated. The general rule of thumb when it comes to cat hydration is that they should have access to fresh, clean water at all times.

When it comes down to how much water cats need each day, this varies from cat to cat, depending on factors such as age, activity level and health status.

Generally speaking, most cats will require around 4 ounces (120ml) of fluid per 2 pounds (1 kilogram) body weight per day. This equates to roughly 8 ounces per day or about 500ml per day for a typical adult cat weighing 8 pounds (4 kilograms).

To put it more simply, the average Kitty needs just over a cup of water per day, or about 2 cups in hot weather.

Wet food contains a lot more moisture than dry food so if your cat eats mostly wet food they may not require quite as much additional water compared with one who eats mostly dry food.

Always consult with your veterinarian before making changes regarding your pet’s nutrition or hydration needs as they will be able to provide tailored advice based on the specific needs and health status of your pet.

cats hydration

How To Tell If Your Cat Is Dehydrated

Dehydration can be a serious health risk for cats, so it’s important to know when to look out for the signs. If your cat isn’t drinking enough water, they can become dehydrated in as little as two days.

The most common sign of dehydration is dry gums or a dry nose. You can test this by gently pressing your finger against the gum and checking if it bounces back quickly or stays moist. If the gums are dry and stay that way, this could be a sign of dehydration. Other signs include sunken eyes, loss of skin elasticity and lethargy. Cats also tend to pant when they’re dehydrated, although not all cats will do this.

If you suspect that your cat may be dehydrated, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian right away for tailored advice based on the specific needs and health status of your pet. Your vet may advise administering fluids intravenously or through subcutaneous injections if necessary. It’s important to act quickly before mild dehydration becomes severe and more difficult to treat.

Some Ideas For Keeping Kitty Hydrated

The usual source of hydration for cats is fresh, clean water in their bowl. However, if you notice that your cat is not drinking enough, there are other fluid sources that can help keep him or her hydrated.

Wet Food

Not surprisingly, wet food contains more moisture than dry food, so cats who eat mostly wet food may not require as much additional water.

You can also add some broth or tuna juice to Kitty’s food to increase the amount of liquid they are consuming each day.

Water Fountain

A water fountain designed specifically for cats is a fun way to tempt your cat to drink more. These fountains use running water and filters to keep water clean and to encourage cats to drink more often. Many fountains also feature multiple levels and settings so that cats can easily access the water on different heights or with different flow rates.

Ice Cubes

You can even provide your cat with ice cubes! They love playing with them and licking them. This helps provide extra moisture in their diet without having to rely on the water bowl. Adding frozen treats such as low-sodium chicken broth ice cubes will give your cat a treat while helping them stay hydrated at the same time!

Fruity Treats

Also, offering treats like pieces of fruit with high-water content can also make drinking fun for cats and encourage them to stay hydrated. Foods like cucumbers, celery, lettuce, carrots, cantaloupe, strawberries, oranges, apples and blueberries are all high in water content and can make delicious snacks for your cat.


Finally, if you suspect that your cat is not consuming enough fluids or exhibiting signs of dehydration such as dry gums or nose, lethargy or panting then consult with your veterinarian right away so they can assess their condition and recommend further treatments if necessary.

By providing regular access to fresh water in multiple locations around the house as well as incorporating wet food into their diet and adding tasty treats like ice cubes or pieces of fruit with high-water content you’ll be helping your cat stay healthy and hydrated at all times.