Cat Won’t Drink: What to Do?

Cats naturally drink little, as in the wild, they get most of their fluid needs through food. Even so, water is vital for cats. If the cat does not drink, there is a risk of dehydration. Whether a serious illness is behind it or harmless causes are the reason for the drinking behavior of the house tiger can usually be seen from the symptoms.

Cat Won’t Drink Water

  • Cats that eat wet food require less water than cats that eat dry food.
  • Outdoor cats often drink outside, for example from puddles or ponds, and ignore their water bowl at home.
  • If the cat does not drink at all and may show symptoms of dehydration, it should be taken to the vet and the causes clarified.

This Will Tell You Whether Your Cat is Drinking Nothing or Too Little

In the case of house and apartment cats that are not outdoors, it is easy to see whether the cat is drinking enough. If the water bowl remains untouched and does not empty even after several days, this is the first indication that the cat is not drinking.

Check to see if the cat is finding water elsewhere, such as drinking from vases, watering cans, or the shower.

It is much more difficult to find out whether the animal is drinking enough when it is outdoors. Therefore, it should be observed whether the cat shows signs of dehydration if it does not touch its water bowl at home.

Harmless Causes of Reduced Drinking Behavior in Cats

Often there are harmless causes behind the cat’s reduced water consumption. Since cats generally only drink little and are therefore very different from humans and dogs, it is important to interpret the signs correctly.

Decreased thirst from wet food

If your cat eats wet food, it already covers some of its water needs. Wet food has a liquid content of up to 80 percent, while dry food only has seven to ten percent. It is therefore quite normal for cats that eat wet food to drink less. It also corresponds to the natural behavior of wild cats living in the wild. They take in most of the fluids they need by eating prey, and they only drink a little water.

Surgery as a cause of less thirst in cats

After an operation, such as neutering, cats are given an anesthetic. As soon as this subsides, the velvet paw will soon be able to eat and drink again.

However, the cat often refuses to eat or water after an operation.

This is normal as the anesthesia may make the cat nauseated. In this case, you should be patient and watch the cat carefully. If she doesn’t drink anything the next day, talk to the vet to be on the safe side.

Changes in the environment or water quality

Cats react strongly to changes of any kind. Changes in the familiar environment, for example after moving, mean great stress for the house tiger. If the cat does not drink anything in this situation, it is probably due to stress. Give the cat time to get used to the new environment and help by providing them with their usual water bowl.

A change in water quality can also affect the cat’s drinking behavior. If the water is chlorinated or smells strange to the cat’s nose, it may be denied, as can stale water. In this case, you can give your cat still water from the bottle. Always make sure you have enough fresh water available. Special cat water is also available in stores, to which important additives such as taurine are also added.

Insufficient Water Intake as a Symptom of a Cat’s Disease

If the cat does not drink, there can be serious illnesses behind it. With many diseases, cats lose their appetite and thirst and refuse food and water. This can lead to other symptoms such as kidney disease (chronic kidney failure) and dehydration. If the cat does not drink anything for a longer period of time or if it shows further symptoms, you should definitely visit the vet and have the causes clarified before the lack of water leads to consequential damage.

You Can Do This If Your Cat Drinks Too Little

If the cat is not drinking, small tricks can sometimes help to encourage the cat to drink. A drinking fountain for cats is particularly effective because cats prefer running water. It makes sense to purchase a cat fountain, especially for domestic and apartment cats that do not have an outdoor area. The location of the water source is also important. Many cats refuse water that is too close to their food. Relocate the water bowl or cat fountain to encourage the cat to drink. If none of these measures help, speak to your veterinarian to rule out the possibility that the symptoms are caused by illness.

Judy Taylor

Written by Judy Taylor

Judy Taylor combines her love of science and writing to educate pet owners. Her articles on pet wellness, published on a variety of platforms, reveal a deep passion for animals. With a teaching background and shelter volunteer experience, Judy brings expertise to the fields of writing and compassionate pet care.

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