A cat should drink on average 60mls/kg per day of water. That means a 4kg cat should be drinking approximately 240mls a day (about one cup) to ensure their body functions properly.
However, when determining the volume of drinking water required under normal circumstances, we need to take into consideration your cat’s diet. Wet or canned food contains about 80% water where as dry food contains about 10%. A 4kg cat solely eating canned food may only need to drink about 30ml of water per day where as the same cat eating only dry food would need to drink more than 200ml of water per day.
If you are unsure, your veterinary health care team would be happy to provide advice on how much your cat should be drinking, taking into consideration their diet.
What are the potential problems of a thirsty cat?
The four most common problems diagnosed in association with an increase in water intake are:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- Urinary tract disease
All of these diseases are serious, but early detection and treatment improve the outcome dramatically.
How can I get my cat to drink more?
Cats are very fussy about things in general and water is no exception. Male cats especially benefit from drinking sufficient water to help prevent urinary tract disease. Older cats are less inclined to drink water and are subsequently more likely to become dehydrated. They are also likely to have underlying diseases processes requiring a greater fluid intake. Accordingly, you should encourage your cat to drink sufficient water all year round to help prevent disease (and especially in summer).
Some suggestions to increase your cat’s water intake:
- Cats like fresh water the same as we do and prefer water changed daily.
- Purchasing a pet water fountain can provide constant fresh water and some mental stimulation for your feline friend.
- Plastic bowls can make water taste funny to cats and often swapping to a glass, ceramic or stainless steel bowl can make it more attractive.
- Changing their diet to include some wet food (contact your veterinarian first to determine the most appropriate food for your cat).
- In the warmer months, ice cubes help to both cool the water and provide a source of entertainment.
A thirsty cat could be an unwell cat, so it is vitally important that you contact your veterinary health care team to discuss any concerns that you have.