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‘How much water should a cat drink?’ – vet advice

Vet Sarah Elliott reveals how to encourage your cat to drink more water and what food you should give to an elderly cat.

In our most recent live Facebook Q&A, resident Cats Protection vet Sarah Elliott answered our supporters’ veterinary questions. Here are some of the topics she covered.

How much water should my cat drink each day?

We adopted our female cat last month from Cats Protection, she has wet food for all her meals and is quite a hungry girl! We think she’s a year-and-a-half old and she’s an indoor cat. Do you have any tips to encourage her to drink more water, or will she just take it when she needs it? Her water is always left out. Thanks!

Cats are notoriously fussy when it comes to drinking water, but will drink different amounts depending on their diet.

As your cat is eating wet food, it is likely she is getting much of her water intake from her diet, whereas cats that mainly have a dry diet will often drink more water.

Here’s a good guide to how much water a cat should drink each day:

You can encourage your cat to drink more water by separating her water bowl from her food bowl and using a wide, ceramic or plastic bowl which cats prefer.

We have some great tips here and the following advice graphics show how to keep your cat cool in the summer (the second one focuses specifically on encouraging your cat to drink more water).

Cool for cats visual advice for summer

To enlarge, click on the image

Cool for cats how much water should cats drink graphic

To enlarge, click on the image


Is it best to give my 14-year-old girl senior food? Does it have any extra vitamins that she'll benefit from?

'Senior' generally means over 11 years old. Senior diets can be an excellent way to feed older cats, as the diet is adjusted to factor in that older cats are more sedentary and might require certain supplements for example to help keep their joints healthy. Many cats are living longer these days, in some part because the diets we can now offer are so well suited to them.


My cat’s eyes are watery some days, is this an allergy?

Watery eyes (also known medically as epiphora) can arise due to a variety of reasons in cats, including infection, inflammation or a blocked tear duct. The most common reason in cats is usually because of an eye irritation of some nature – for example dust, smoke or allergy, as you rightly suggest. If your cat is squinting, blinking or closing the eye this could be a sign of pain and you should have your vet check this out. Cats also commonly get scratches to the surface of their eye which need treatment by a vet. If the discharge becomes yellow or green or you have any other concerns, you should have your cat checked over by your vet.


What is the best food on the market for cats?

My three are just one year old and I want the best for them. They were fed James Wellbeloved when I got them at 11 weeks old which they do like but recently changed gradually to another brand which they don't seem to like despite it having a higher meat content.

Cats can be fussy eaters but no healthy cat will refuse food completely. It may be that they just need more time to accept that this is the new diet and that no other foods are in the offing – consistency is key. If you are concerned that there may be a medical reason for the food aversion (eg dental disease or illness), the first step would be to get it checked out by a vet.


Veterinary note: Please note that we are unable to give specific advice on your cat's health or any change in behaviour observed. For medical problems, consult your vet who will have access to your cat's medical history and will be able to examine them.

Would you like to ask one of Cats Protection's feline experts a question about your cat? Don't miss the next live Facebook Q&A sessions: Neutering Manager Jane Clements will be taking questions on 4 August; Nicky Trevorrow will be answering your behavioural queries on 18 August and vet Sarah Elliott will be back on 1 September. All Q&As are held on Cats Protection's national Facebook page from 2-3pm. See you there!

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