Yes, Cats Should Be Drinking Water! Here's How Much

Cats should drink about 8 ounces of water per 10 pounds of body weight, but several factors can impact exactly how much they need.

Published May 17, 2023
Ginger cat drinking water from a kitchen faucet

Everyone needs H2O to thrive, but if you rarely see your cat make trips to their water dish, you might wonder if they're getting enough. How much water should a cat drink? And how much is too little or too much? It really depends on your cat's size. Use our cat hydration chart to gauge how much water your cat should drink based on weight.

How Much Water Should a Cat Drink?

The average cat, who weighs about 10 pounds, should drink 8 fluid ounces (or one cup) of water each day. This chart can help you estimate how much your cat should be getting based on their weight:

Cat Weight Daily Water Intake
5 pounds 4 ounces
7 pounds 6 ounces
10 pounds 8 ounces
13 pounds 10 ounces
15 pounds 12 ounces
17 pounds 14 ounces
20 pounds 16 ounces
Need to Know

A cat should drink about 8 ounces of water (which is 1 cup) per 10 pounds of body weight.

Factors That Impact Ideal Water Intake

If your cat should be getting 1 cup of water a day, you don't want to just put that single cup out. Make sure they have constant, unlimited access to plenty of fresh water because several factors can impact exactly how much they'll drink. These include their weight, diet, activity level, and ambient temperature.

A cat who runs around the house and plays constantly will probably need to replenish more fluids than one who is a couch potato, and cats who eat kibble don't get as much water from their food, so they'll drink more than a cat who eats a canned diet. Remember, the volume above is an estimate, so it's possible your cat might drink a little less or a little more.

Drinking Too Much or Too Little Water?

Drinking waaay more than they need or way less are both concerning. Cats who constantly have their face in the water dish might have an internal problem, such as kidney disease, that can cause them to drink exorbitant volumes of water.

Likewise, if your cat never so much as laps at the water, there might be something brewing. See your veterinarian if you notice either to rule out any medical problems.

Signs of Dehydration in Cats

Cats are known for being masters at masking sickness, so you might not see obvious signs of dehydration. But if they're not drinking enough water, you'll need to look for these subtle symptoms:

  • Low energy
  • Low appetite
  • Dry or tacky gums
  • Racing heart
  • Sunken eyes
  • Constipation
  • Changes in breathing
  • Weakness
Quick Tip

One way veterinarians check hydration in cats is by gently grasping and lifting the skin between their shoulder blades. If the skin takes a while to settle back down, your cat is probably dehydrated.

Encouraging Cats to Drink Water

Want to increase your cat's water intake to keep them hydrated? These tips can help:

  1. Add a bit of warm water to their food: This might entice them to drink more.
  2. Place additional water dishes around the house: Sometimes, cats don't like where their dish is.
  3. Get a cat water fountain: Some cats love drinking from running water sources.
  4. Separate their food and water dishes: Most cats don't like their water to be right next to their food.

Keep an Eye on Their Water Dish

You don't need to measure your cat's water dish constantly to make sure they're getting enough water. Instead, try to make note of how often they drink, monitor their urine output, and watch for signs of dehydration. Your cat should naturally drink as much as their body needs, but if they need a little help, you can implement these tricks to increase their H20 intake.

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Yes, Cats Should Be Drinking Water! Here's How Much