Cats and drinking

What does your cat need to drink?

Learn more about your cat's water needs - and which drinks are most suitable for your cat.

Providing water for your cat

Your cat needs fresh drinking water every day and as a cat owner it's your responsibility to ensure they always have fresh water.

Key facts about your cat's water needs:

  • cats fed dry food tend to need more water
  • wet food is 90% water, but cats still need fresh water available
  • contact your vet if your cat starts drinking more - or less
  • some cats prefer to drink from puddles or ponds - this is normal

Even if your cat usually drinks out of a pond or another outdoor source, you should always provide fresh water in case their usual source becomes inaccessible.

Cow's milk is difficult for many cats to digest. Around a third of cats can't tolerate cow's milk, which can cause sickness and diarrhoea.

Special milk for cats is available but this is very high in calories, so should only be given as an occasional treat - never instead of water.

Cats with certain health conditions, particularly those affecting the urinary tract (eg cystitis or kidney disease) may benefit from being encouraged to drink more. Ask your vet for advice.

How to encourage your cat to drink more

Here are a few simple tips to help your cat drink more water:

  • use a glass, ceramic or metal bowl. Plastic can taint the water and deter cats from drinking
  • put water in a large, shallow bowl with a large surface area - some cats don't like their whiskers touching the sides of the bowl
  • make sure your cat's shadow doesn't block their view of the surface of the water
  • if your cat likes drinking from your glasses of water, provide some 'cats only' glasses around the house - just make sure your cat can't knock the glass over
  • offer filtered water - some cats are sensitive to the chlorine in tap water
  • locate the water bowl somewhere safe, away from other cats or dogs
  • provide more than one bowl of water in different locations
  • move your cat's water away from their food

Related topics

Diet - Topic

Feeding - Topic

Types of food - Topic

Obesity - Topic

Photo credit

Banner image credit - Istock: dinachi