How to Hydrate A Cat That Won’t Drink Water?

It can be quite stressful for you if your cat refuses to drink water. Extreme dehydration can lead to severe medical issues. But before it gets to that, there are a few steps you can take to hydrate your cat.

Having said that, you can’t force your cat to drink water. You can go as far as leading your cat to clean water. But the rest is up to your cat. So how to go about this?

This article lets you in on everything you need to know about hydrating your cat. What you can do to get her to drink more water. And understand the reason why your cat is refusing to drink water.

Most times, this is a sign of an illness that needs to be addressed right away. I hope this article helps you get to the root of the cause.

Why Won’t Your Cat Drink Water?

There can be many reasons for this. Behavioral issues, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, or kidney issues. If it’s not as severe as all that, your cat may have digestion difficulties.

Allow me to make things simpler for you.

Behavioral issues: Do you have guests at home? It may be that you’ve moved into a new place and your cat is taking her time to adjust. Re-locating can get in the way of your cat’s daily routine. This includes eating, drinking, and peeing.

If that’s the case, make sure you keep a water bowl at every corner of your new home.

Your cat may also be reacting to new cat food which for a feline is a significant change. Lots of such changes can lead to your cat refusing to drink water. It’s not a matter of a health issue.

Health issues: Diabetes, hyperthyroidism, kidney issues, constipation. All these problems can dissuade your cat from drinking water. Minor issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and even fever can lead to dehydration.

If that’s the case, consult a veterinarian immediately. Get some blood check-ups done and if necessary, the doctor will keep her on fluids for quick hydration.

In extremely severe cases, cancer, pancreatic disease, and parasites can cause dehydration. For any or all of the above, consult with a doctor right away.

How to Hydrate Your Cat?

If your cat is “acting out” over a new change or new people in the house. There is something you can do to encourage your cat to drink more water. These steps are really simple but require proper attention and care.

1.   Feed Wet Food

If you’re worried about your cat not drinking enough water. You can increase your cat’s water intake with wet food. This is the easiest thing to do for a major reason that cats love wet food.

It’s stinky, sticky, and yummy. Research suggests that a single can of wet food contains at least 70% of water. Compared to this, dry food only contains 10% of water.

This makes up for 50% of your cat’s overall water intake. This can be beneficial for your cat in many ways. It prevents constipation, starvation, and weight gain.

2.   Give Her Ice Cubes

Your cat will think of this as a fun game! Place a few ice cubes in her water bowl. And lure your cat close to the bowl. If your cat is anything like mine, she will get excited by the clink of the ice cubes.

If your cat is still reluctant, pour some tune juice or boiled fish water over the ice cubes. This does wonder. By the smell and look of something fishy, your cat might start licking the ice cubes until they have completely melted or disappeared.

3.   Use More Than One Water Bowl

Keeping more bowls and cups around in your house does help. This is extremely effective when you have more than one cat. The smell of another cat can easily discourage or distract your cat from drinking water.

So having more water bowls or saucers or cups around the house is helpful. No matter how many water bowls you keep, make sure each is clean.

Water left out for a long time, especially if it’s a pet bowl, can lead to bacterial buildup. So make sure you scrub the water bowl clean once every few hours. And change the water to make sure no harmful bacteria or germs are floating in the water.

4.   Try to Serve Directly from the Tap

I’m sure you must have seen such funny videos of cats on the internet. Cats love to drink water as if from a fountain. If your faucet has clean, drinking water, why don’t you make this a fun game?

Start the tap on the slowest flow setting. And encourage your cat to drink directly from the running tap. This might take your cat some time to get used to. But that way your cat will end up drinking water every morning and evening.

Cats love cold water so make sure you do this a few times a day. But in small quantities!

5.   Feed Your Cat In Small Amounts

Overfeeding can cause dehydration especially when your cat is full. As humans, you understand the essential benefits of drinking water. But for cats, this is different. If you feed your cat in small amounts, this should encourage her to drink water after every meal.

Make sure you feed your cat fresh food. Check the product’s manufacture and expiration details before opening the package. Do not feed your cat food that’s been sitting out for too long.

A fresh diet will relieve digestion issues including dehydration, diarrhea, and vomiting. Your cat may become thirstier after eating small servings of food.


Ultimately, your cat shouldn’t go without drinking water even for a day. Severe cases of dehydration can cause organ damage and even death. Meanwhile, minor cases of dehydration in cats can lead to kidney issues, skin problems, and weakness.

These tips should help you hydrate your cat who’s refusing to drink water. If your cat still refuses to drink water after a day’s effort, it’s necessary you take her to a vet right away.

This just means there’s an underlying cause for this. A cat’s food and water intake usually go hand-to-hand. Making sure your cat’s nutritional needs are met is your number one priority as a pet owner.

So don’t panic if your cat is not drinking water regardless of your efforts. These tips are 100% safe and effective at getting your cat to drink water every day.

You can try these tips even after your cat starts to drink water. It’s a fantastic way to bond with your cat! And to make her feel safe and happy at home.

Emma Thompson

Hi, I'm Emma Thompson. Welcome to The Pet Town! I'm a Pet lovers like you and please feel free to get in touch with any questions. Enjoy your stay!

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