How Much Water Should Cats Drink Daily?

Unlike humans or dogs, cats don’t have a strong sense of thirst. 

So it’s essential to provide fresh water and make it desirable for your cat to drink, especially if you are feeding your cat dry cat food. It’s also one of the main reasons we recommend wet cat food.

How Much Water Does A Cat Need Per Day?

As a general rule, cats need the same amount of water in mL as food in calories.

So, what does this really mean? It means that if your pet needs 260 kcal per day, it will also need 260 ml of water.

Dry cat food usually contains about 10% water, whereas wet canned food can contain anywhere between 60% and 80% water, depending on its consistency and the brand you’re using.

So, if you’re serving 260 kcal of dry food, your cat will need to drink approximately 230-250 ml of water (260 x the 90% of dry food that is not water). And if you’re using wet canned food, your feline friend will regularly need around 70-80 ml of water (the 20-40% of wet food that is not water).

However, these basics can’t apply to all cats out there.

Factors that Effect the Amount of Water Your Cat Needs

The amount of water a kitty needs daily depends on many factors, like its age, size, breed, current dietary needs, and of course, medical conditions.

Young kittens need special vitamin-packed kitten food, while adult cats need other types of food, and senior cats have different nutritional requirements. These will all affect water needs.

If your cat has a medical condition, your vet will be able to determine precisely how much water your feline pal needs to drink daily. Many health-related issues, like pollakiuria, can leave your pet dehydrated, so be sure to check with your vet if you have any questions.

Serving your pet only dry cat food is your personal choice, but it’s advisable to break things up with wet canned food every now and then, if not more often, to provide additional hydration.

Hypothetically, you own an adult domestic cat of an average size of 10 pounds. Your cat needs approximately 260 kcal of food daily. Depending on the type of food you’re serving your kitty (dry or wet), the need for additional water will be different.

How do I ensure My Cat Gets Enough Water?

If you have a healthy adult cat and make fresh water available, you likely will be fine. However, there are other things you can do to make sure your cat gets enough water.

Feed your cat wet cat food

If you’re using mainly dry food, then you’ll need to provide additional water supplies to your furry pal. But if you’re using wet cat food, the food itself is moist enough to take care of nearly two-thirds of the cat’s water intake needs.

Use shallow water and food bowls

Felines hate getting their whiskers dirty and wet. That’s why you need to use shallow water and food bowls.

To prevent dehydration, lack of appetite, and malnourishment, always serve fresh water and high-quality cat food. And clean the bowls after each meal.

Use a cat fountain (optional)

We recommend using a cat fountain specifically designed to pump clean, fresh water out for your cat, ensuring it drinks enough and does not get dehydrated.

It’s just one more way to ensure your cat is getting enough water. Plus, they’re fun.

See our reviews of the best cat fountains here.

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!