To stay hydrated, your kitty needs to drink fresh, clean water several times each day from his dish, especially if he is very active. If you suddenly see that your furry friend is draining his water bowl at record speeds, though, a health issue may be to blame.
Average Water Intake
Kitties evolved as desert dwellers, which is why they don't usually drink as much as dogs do. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, your feline friend should drink about one ml of water for every calorie he eats. The National Research Council of the National Academies recommends that the average 10-pound kitty should eat approximately 280 calories per day. This works out to around one and a quarter cups of water per day, or a bit more if your furry friend is chowing down on excess calories. This doesn't include the water your little buddy may get from his canned cat food. Keep in mind that dry food has low moisture content, so your furry friend may drink more water if he primarily has a diet of dry kibble.
Monitoring Kitty's Drinking
To keep track of how much water your furry buddy is drinking each day, provide one or two bowls of fresh water for him at all times. Measure the amount of water each bowl holds. At the end of the day, see how much water is left to calculate how much your kitty is drinking. If the amount seems excessive, consult with your vet to determine if your kitty might be suffering from an illness. Remember to restrict your kitty's access to places like your toilet so that he doesn't sneak in extra, and potentially unsafe, drinks of water you're not aware of. For a multi-cat household, you may need to confine your little one for the day in his own room to keep track of his water intake.
Visit the Vet
A kitty that drinks excessive amounts of water has a condition known as polydipsia, meaning he is thirsty pretty much all the time. Your vet will be able to examine your furry buddy to determine if something is wrong. Medical causes of excessive thirst in kitties include diabetes mellitus, kidney or liver disease, high blood calcium levels and hyperthyroidism, according to PetPlace. The vet will take blood tests and a urinalysis to check for these conditions. Once she makes her diagnosis, she'll set up a treatment plan with you, if necessary, which should quell your kitty's excessive drinking habits.
Clean Bill of Health
If your feline companion has gotten a clean bill of health, he may just enjoy drinking water. Some kitties like to come over when you use the sink to get a drink of fresh, running tap water. Others like the attention they get when they do this. You may want to consider getting your little guy a pet fountain to drink out of. These are found in pet supply stores and continuously pump the water through a spout, keeping it fresher and cleaner than in a bowl. Change the water in his bowl one to two times per day and wash the bowl daily to keep it clean. Note that some kitties simply like to drink in the presence of their owners, so your little one may just feel comfortable drinking in front of you, making it seem that he's drinking more than he actually is.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- PetPlace: Polydipsia and Polyuria (Excessive Drinking and Urinating) in Cats
- Vetstreet: Why Does My Cat...Drink So Much Water?
- petMD: Increased Urination and Thirst in Cats
- DVM360: The Ins and Outs of Polyuria and Polydipsia
- National Research Council of the National Academies: Your Cat's Nutritional Needs [PDF]
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.