Why Won't My Cat Drink Water From Her Bowl and How To Get a Cat To Drink Water
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“If water is essential for all living creatures, why won’t my cat drink water from her bowl?”, for new parents, this is one of the questions that can be challenging to resolve.

 

Without water, life may end as we know it. With 80% of water composing a cat’s body, it is clear that all biological processes need water, including circulation and digestion. 

 

Drinking enough water helps your cat maintain healthy kidneys and supports other organs’ hydration. Kidney problems are more prevalent in cats than most people think. According to a study by International Cat Care, 1 out of 3 cats can develop kidney problems in their lifetime due to poor hydrating habits. 

 

Cat drinking from a wide-mouth bowl

 

You may be thinking, “If drinking water is important, why won’t my cat drink water from her bowl?” don’t worry because we got you covered. There are many reasons for this behavior, and in this article, we will mention them and provide tips and tricks on how to get a cat to drink water.

 

How Much Water Cats Should Drink 

According to a study conducted by Dr.Julia Fritz, DMV, healthy cats need daily between 100 to 130 mL of drinking water per 2 kg of body weight. That means if you have a 1-kg cat, she will need to consume about 50 to 65 mL of water daily. Notice how we did not use the word “drink”? That’s because cats do not necessarily need to get their daily water needs just by drinking. 

 

On average, a can of wet food is made up of about 70% to 80% water. Let’s say you feed your cat 100 grams of wet cat food a day. That means your cat is already ingesting 80 mL of water. On the other hand, dry food only consists of 10% of water; therefore, more water intake should be given to your cat. 

 

How To Know If Your Cat is Not Drinking Enough Water Daily?

If a cat doesn’t drink enough water daily, it could result in pressing complications. Dehydration happens when the normal body fluids, such as water and electrolytes, fall below the critical needs. If your cat is not drinking enough water, it doesn’t mean they are already suffering from dehydration, but it’s often a fairly common reason or dehydration symptom.

 

It can be difficult to tell if your cat is dehydrated by just monitoring their water consumption. However, there are telltale signs that you can visually see to know if they are already experiencing dehydration: 

 

  • Loose Skin

To check if your cat’s skin is loose, gently pull a bit of your cat’s skin located on their shoulders. It should quickly go back to normal placement once released; however, if your cat is dehydrated, their skin will reposition slowly. 

 

  • Sticky Gums

If a cat’s gums feel dry and sticky, then they are most likely dehydrated. Healthy, hydrated cats generally have moist gums that exhibit their water-intake.

 

  • Lethargy

If your cat suddenly becomes lazy and sleepy more than usual, they are likely to be dehydrated. Other visual signs are if your cat is less playful, doesn’t socialize with people around her, and less likely to greet you when you arrive home. 

A cat laying on its back sleeping

 

  • Loss of Appetite

If a cat does not eat voluntarily, it is often a crucial sign that there something is wrong with their health, even if it’s not dehydration. Always monitor your cat’s food eating habits and if they don’t eat for more than 24 hours, it is best to go to your veterinarian.

 

  • Vomiting or diarrhea

A cat experiencing these vomiting or diarrhea will quickly become dehydrated due to the excessive excretion of vomit and bowel that contains mostly water.

 

  • Sunken Eyes

If your cat’s eyes seem to be sullen and sleepy, it is a sign that they are dehydrated. 

Sleeping cat

 

  • Panting

Unlike dogs, our feline friends do not pant. But if they do, they might be overheated that can lead to dehydration.

 

  • Less Urination

Always examine your cat’s litter box for abrupt changes in urination and elimination. Keep in mind that if your cat is not peeing regularly, it can be a sign of urethral obstruction. 

 

Can Cats Have Excessive Water Intake?

Excessive drinking of water is possible, and it can be a sign of feline hyperthyroidism or feline diabetes. If your cat suddenly starts consuming the above-average amount of water and also shows other symptoms, it is imperative to bring them to the veterinarian for an examination.

 

If Drinking Water Is Important For Cats, Why Doesn’t She Drink From Her Bowl?

There are times when we see our cats drink water from a dripping faucet or your glass on the table, even though you just placed freshwater on their bowl. It turns out that there are various reasons associated with a cat’s history from the wild that might refuse to drink from their bowl. Here are ten reasons why they do not drink from their bowl.

 

    1.  Cats cannot hear the water from their bowl.

Cats have a powerful sense of hearing, and their water in a bowl is invisible, making them think it is empty. The sound of dripping and flowing water entices them more to drink it. 

A cat staring at water

 

    2.  They are already getting hydrated from their food.

As we have tackled earlier, most canned wet food contains high moisture content. Additionally, cats from the wild get most of their daily water needs from the prey they eat and rarely need to drink water. This instinct becomes hotwired with our domesticated cats.

Cat eating wet food

 

    3.  Avoid placing their bowl in one corner.

Cats believe that facing away from their surroundings makes them easier prey, making them feel exposed and in danger.

 

    4.  Instinct tells them that stagnant water is not safe.

Stagnant water outdoors more prone to getting infected by bacteria and has the potential to make cats sick. Cats believe that running water is free from contamination, so cats will instinctively be drawn to it. 

A cat drinking from a large bowl

 

    5.  Running water feels colder.

Admit it, drinking ice cold water hits differently than room temperature water. This is also true for cats. The temperature of water seems to affect the taste in a more pleasant way for your cat. 

A cat playing with water

 

    6.  It’s too close to their food dish.

Cats in the wild eat their prey far enough away from their water source to avoid contamination. For the same reason, cats do not like to drink from a water bowl close to their food bowl.

Food bowl near the water bowl

 

    7.  Their whisker touching the bowl makes them bothered.

Cats have extra sensitive whiskers and they get whisker fatigue when they touch an object, messages are transmitted from the sensory organs on the base of their whiskers to their brain. So when their whiskers suddenly touch the edge of the bowl, this can feel overwhelming to your cat.

Cat whiskers touching water bowl

 

    8.  Dripping water is pleasurable to play with.

Although cats are known for being hydrophobic, they still enjoy playing with drops of water with their paws. Playing with these water drops makes them feel much safer from it than splashing a big bowl of water.

A cat playing with dripping water

 

    9.  Running water tastes different.

Cats can distinctly taste the difference between still water and running water. They feel like running water is more oxygenated, giving it a fresher, more quench-thirsting taste. 

Cat drinking from a leaky pipe

 

   10.  Tap water has fluoride.

Fluoride is added by the government to tap water reservoirs to reduce the chance of having tooth decay. Although humans cannot taste the added fluoride, cats have a stronger sense of taste, which can be unpleasant for their drinking experience. So it is recommended to always give your cat drinking water. 

Cat drinking from a faucet

 

Tips on Getting Your Feline Buddy To Drink More Water

There are various ways you can motivate your cat to drink more water for a healthier lifestyle. Here are some suggestions you can do to keep your cat hydrated.

 

    1.  Offer a diversity of bowls and glasses.

Your cat may simply be particular and have specific preferences with her bowl. Use various styles of bowls to see which one your cat likes best.

 

There are three kinds of water bowls veterinarians recommend encouraging water drinking to your cats. These are:

 

      •  Wide Water Bowls

If you provide a large, wide bowl for your cat to drink in without rubbing her whiskers against the side, she will have a better time drinking from it.

Cat drinking from a wide bowl

 

      •   Cold Water Bowls

Many cats prefer their water chilled, especially during hot days. If you get them a chilled water bowl, you’ll promote more water consumption as they will drink more frequently. 

 

Fortunately, there are available chilled water bowls in the market that can keep the water chilled for longer hours. It is usually a stainless steel bowl with a removable base that you can freeze.

 

      •    Water Fountains

Since cats enjoy running water more, why not invest in a water fountain? Although it is pricier than the bowls above, it can ensure that your cat is getting more hydrated.

Cat drinking from a water fountain

 

A water fountain is a bowl with a component that will make the water flowing all day long. 

 

    2.  The more, the better.

Avoid keeping your cat’s water bowls in just one place as it may discourage them from drinking. Instead, put bowls throughout your house, such as near the sink, on your kitchen counter, and in the bathroom. Since cats love to wander, they will always take notice of these bowls, making them more enticed to drink from it.

A cat using mug bowl

 

    3.  Keep the bowl and water clean.

It is advisable to clean your cat’s bowl using soap and water every other day to remove any leftover smell from stagnant water. Ensure that the soap residues have been washed off to avoid poisoning. Once a week, sterilize the bowl by submerging it in hot water to eliminate any bacteria and lingering smell. 

A cat using porcelain water bowl

 

Some cats will refuse drinking from a dirty bowl, so it is better to change the water at least once or twice a day and check it to ensure that nothing has accidentally fallen into the bowl throughout the day. 

 

    4.  Location of the bowl matters.

Place the water bowls away from their food bowl or litter box. Although some cats don’t care if their water is close to the litter box or food bowl, it is best to assume that most cats do not like eating or doing business near their water bowl.

 

    5.  Make the water more “flavorful.”

Adding a little flavor to your cat’s boring, tasteless water can make them drink more. Add a spoonful or two of tuna or chicken broth into your cat’s water for a more flavorful drinking experience. 

 

You can also add crushed up catnip in the water bowl to trick your cat into drinking from it. To get the best results, let your cat see you crushing some catnip in the bottom of the water bowl, so she knows it’s there.

 

    6.  Add some ice cubes.

Some cats prefer cold water, plus, the ice cubes give them something to play with. First, add just one ice cube to each bowl so your cat will not get shocked by the change in temperature. 

Ice cubes

 

You can even combine flavored water with cold water by freezing broth in an ice cube tray and add it in your cat’s water bowl. 

 

   7.  Switch to wet cat food.

Although wet food is more expensive, it contains more moisture than dry cat food, making it perfect for finicky cats. Before any dietary changes, ask your veterinarian for advice. 

 

Do not consider adding water to your cat’s dry food as this will only make it much less appealing, soggy, and can cause the food to spoil, increasing the chances of a stomach ache. 

 

   8.  Feed your cat with smaller, more frequent meals.

Most cats tend to drink after eating, much like humans, so try to feed them more than once or twice daily. Break your cat’s meals into many smaller ones to encourage your cat to drink more water often throughout the day. 

A cat drinking from a shallow bowl

 

Whichever tip you choose, it is essential to encourage your feline friend to drink water. Getting your cat to drink enough water daily is just as important as feeding her with a proper diet. If your cat suddenly starts drinking notably more or less than usual, it is best to get her checked by your veterinarian. 

 

Remember that the tips above are an adjustment to your cat’s daily routine, so patience is needed as it will take quite some time. We hope we have helped you with your question “Why won’t my cat drink water from her bowl?” Which methods did you use for your cat? How did it go? Comment down below and let our pet parent community know!