December 3, 2022

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Why cats don’t drink water

Why cats don’t drink water

Insufficient fluids in the body can lead to dehydration. This condition has many dangerous consequences, including death.

Animals fed dry food are at risk. After dehydration, there is almost no moisture left in it, so the norm has to be filled in other sources. Below you can find out why cats do not drink water from the bowl and what to do to regain lost interest.

Fluid dosage for cats

Only a small number of owners know the daily amount of liquid for their pet. Despite this, this figure is very important and is calculated individually based on a number of criteria.

Volume by weight and activity

On average the recommended amount is 0.3-0.7 oz. per 1 lbs. of body weight for adult animals (i.e. a cat weighing 11 lbs. will drink about 5 oz., i.e. half a glass). For kittens, these figures are increased by 2-3 times. 

In addition to age and body weight, the final value is influenced by the level of activity. The norm of mustached lazybones is lower than that of energetic lovers of regular walks in the street and frequent runs around the house. 

Exceeding the norm is allowed within 15-20% of the total volume. If the pet drinks more – there is every reason to suspect something wrong.

How to determine how much water a pet drinks

The easiest way is to use a measuring cup. Fill it to a higher-than-normal level and pour it into a bowl. At the end of the day, pour the leftovers back into the cup and compare it to what you had. The resulting difference is the value you are looking for.

If there are several cats, they will have to be temporarily isolated from each other, recommended by specialists from AetaPet. Otherwise the experiment will not be revealing. To increase reliability, take several measurements on different days and calculate the arithmetic mean.

Why a cat won’t drink water – non-hazardous reasons

If a cat or cat refuses to drink water, the first thing to do is to find out the reason for their loss of interest. If there are no alarming symptoms and the usual behavior is maintained, the problem lies in something non-dangerous. In this case, it can be dealt with independently.

Not liking the bowl

The animal may not like the material and shape of the product. Plastic bowls absorb odors and quickly accumulate bacteria, giving their contents an unpleasant taste. Metal has a slightly different problem. It reflects light, so the cat may be frightened or confused by the glare.

A bowl that is too narrow is also rarely popular. It traumatizes the vibrissae. Also, the presence of dirt should not be forgotten. Consumption of stale liquid is a rather dubious pleasure.

Do not like the place of the “watering place”.

Not all animals like to drink in the kitchen. If the problem lies in the wrong place, you’ll have to guess at the ideal location by trial and error.

Neglecting the bowl can also be due to too close a feeder. Because of this proximity particles of food constantly fall into the water. It is also worth considering that raptors prefer to separate the place where they catch and eat their prey from their “watering place”.

Too noisy rooms, as well as close proximity to cleaning agents and the cat litter box are also not welcome. For this reason, the living room and bathroom and toilet are the most questionable options for placing a drinker.

Getting enough water from the food

Pieces of fish meat jelly and canned cat pates contain up to 80 percent of the daily allowance of moisture. There are no problems when feeding “straight food” either, as the internal reserves are regularly replenished with the following foods:

  • liquid porridge;
  • sour-milk products;
  • Fish, meat and by-products;
  • Gravy and broths;
  • fruit and vegetable juices.

Animals that do not eat dry food need less. They drink less frequently and less, but in their case it is perfectly natural.

Drinks in a place unnoticed by owners

Sometimes the problem is the presence of extraneous sources. A mustachioed pet can partisan in the bathroom, the aquarium and even the toilet bowl. 

Some animals are very enthusiastic about licking the freshly cleaned floor, but it is better to wean off this habit immediately. Otherwise, the cat risks poisoning by the detergent.

The reason for their love of taps is that in the natural environment, wildcats tend to avoid standing bodies of water. Unlike rivers and lakes with underground springs, such “watering holes” contain a lot of dirt and germs.

Coming out of anesthesia

Most withdrawal from anesthesia is accompanied by loss of appetite, but sometimes the injected drug provokes a short-term (up to 12 hours) refusal to drink.

Temporary absence of food for the body is harmless, but you should be careful with water. Most often there is an interest in it 2-3 hours after returning home. Before the appearance of habitual activity, the pet is fed strictly from a syringe, because if it uses it independently, it may choke.

Why the cat does not drink water: dangerous reasons

If the cat does not drink water from the bowl at all, and you are fully confident in the absence of extraneous sources – pay attention to his well-being. The presence of concomitant symptoms is a good reason to go to the veterinarian, indicating the presence of pathology.

Oral diseases

Any inflammation and neoplasms on the mucous membranes make swallowing difficult. Thirst in this case persists, so the pet may sit at the bowl with a sad expression and chew only on the healthy side. A similar pattern occurs with tooth pain.

In addition to behavioral changes, the presence of dental disease can be determined by the appearance of the teeth and soft tissues, says R.Mammadli from If dark plaque, redness, ulceration and foul odor appear, the cat should be scheduled for a checkup at a veterinary clinic.


With bouts of nausea and immediate vomiting, drinking is very problematic. If your pet is wriggling out in another attack, the first thing to do is to check for symptoms of poisoning:

  • Increased pulse rate;
  • heavy breathing;
  • dilated pupils;
  • trembling of the limbs;
  • drowsiness and apathy;
  • loss of balance;
  • pale mucous membranes;
  • nosebleeds;
  • change of temperature;
  • disorder of the stool.

The clinical picture depends on the type of poison, its amount and the strength of the cat’s immunity. It is not necessary to wait for all of the above. Even 2 symptoms are enough to go to the veterinarian.

Other possible causes of vomiting include ingestion of a foreign object, infections, helminthiasis and various internal diseases. With vomiting, the body is trying to get rid of toxins and to push out an object stuck in the throat.

Water phobia, including rabies

Water phobia, or hydrophobia, develops because of laryngeal spasms. The thirst persists, but the sick animal consciously refuses water for fear of choking.

The main cause of water phobia is rabies. Infection can be determined by an abrupt change in behavior, perverted appetite and profuse salivation. The symptomatology develops incrementally.

The main danger of rabies in cats is the lack of specific treatment. Also, the infected person poses a danger to everyone around him. 

When alarming symptoms appear, it should be isolated and handed over to veterinarians or employees of the city trauma center. If the pet is vaccinated, it may survive if a second dose of the vaccine is administered in a timely manner.

Seizures and paralysis

Seizures and paralysis do not develop on their own, as mentioned by AetaPet. They are always triggered by an underlying disease.

Both disorders affect the cat’s coordination and behavior. Involuntary muscle contractions while drinking lead to water phobia, and when the paws fail, the ability to move freely to the kitchen disappears.

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