14 Ways to Encourage a Cat to Drink Water

Written by Corrine Bray

Owner & Founder of Corks Critter Care

August 11, 2020

Cats like any mammals must intake enough water to live a healthy life. Some cats can be fussy when it comes to water. They don’t drink water voluntarily.
You want to avoid cats becoming ill due to dehydration and always be sure that they have adequate amounts of water daily. There are various ways to determine if your cat is dehydrated. Check out Corks Critter Care blog called How to detect if your cat is dehydrated. Ultimately for cats, it’s important to try various ways to encourage drinking in a positive manner.

Here are 14 fantastic ways to entice a cat to drink more water:

  1. Always keep food and water in a separate location from their litter box. The smell and dust from the litter box could turn off a cats’ desire to eat or drink.
  1. Try offer can or semi-soft food with dry, canned and semi food only, or just can food instead of dry. On the average, dry foods only contain 5-10% water, Semi-moist foods are usually packaged in pouches with 25-35% water but, canned foods contain approximately 70-78% water. Cats’ natural prey in Alberta (rodents, birds, or rabbits) are made up of around 70% water. Thus, a dry food source is unnatural to a cats diet. Some veterinarians believe that this is a problem for cats because they then have the potential to develop diabetes easier if they don’t intake enough water during the day.
  1. You can mix the foods with each other or add water to the foods. A small percentage of cats like can food mixed in with their dry food. Add water (warm) to dry or canned food. The warm water enhances the smell of the food which can also encourage healthy or ill cats to eat.
  1. Always have a freshwater source besides the food and add other water bowls around the house. Change your cat’s water at least once a day. Have more than one water bowl per cat. If you have multiple cats, think about adding additional water bowls around the house.
  1. Some cats prefer bottled water or filtered water because they detect the chlorine from tap water.
  1. Avoid plastic bowls as these can change the taste of water. Plastic also attracts bacteria which causes feline acne. Glass,
    porcelain or stainless steel bowls are best and even better if they are wider than the cat whiskers’ length.
  1. Some cats, especially older cats, don’t like their whiskers touching the bowl while eating or drinking. Keep in mind to always set out larger food and water bowls that are larger than your cats’ whiskers.
  1. Other cats like drinking out of mugs/glasses that humans use instead of bowls.
  1. You can also try putting some catnip under the water bowl. Only 50% of cats have the“catnip gene that reacts to catnip in several entertaining different ways. Corks Critter Care wrote a blog on The Mystery of Cats with the Uses of Catnip.
  1. Many cats prefer running water because it’s aerated, fresh or cool to the taste. Consider buying a cat water fountain. Or allow your cat to drink from under a running tap.
  1. Leave water bowls in sinks, tubs, or showers. Many cats like to see the water running into the water bowl knowing it’s going to be fresh instead of a stagnant bowl on the ground.
  1. Fish Toy in a Bowl – cats love to go fishing and what better place than their own.
  1. Sink Drink – attaches to your faucet and is like a fountain bowl for your cat.
  1. Add ‘Fresh Breath’ to the water (some cats actually like it but I haven’t met many that do).

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