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how long can a cat survive without water

Keeping a domestic cat hydrated can be difficult if your cat has an aversion to water.

Without water, cats can survive for three to four days. However, dehydration will kick in if they do not have water when needed, and its symptoms will quickly take over, causing damage.

Cats generally don’t dehydrate themselves. If your cat is extra thirsty or if they’ve been active and need something to quench their dry throat, they will drink water from whatever source is available.

But, cats can’t determine how much water is necessary for their bodies. And that can be damaging if your cat persists in drinking less water each day.

To better understand how long can a cat survive without water we need more detail like:

But before moving forward have a quick look at the best water additives for cats these are carefully selected solutions which can take care of the dental hygiene of your cat.

How Much Water Should Cats Drink?

A cat’s daily amount of water depends on how much it weighs. For example, if your cat weighs 10 pounds, it must drink between 7–9 ounces a day. That’s about 4.5 ounces per 5 pounds of the cat’s body weight.

If your cat doesn’t drink water but has wet food, that may account for hydration too because the cat is getting enough water content.

4 Reasons Why Your Cat isn’t Drinking Water

Your average cat will not keep itself thirsty on purpose. But, there are some reasons why your cat will stop drinking water without knowing:

1 — Habit

If you have a domestic cat who has constant feedings and water access at certain times, they will get used to getting water when needed.

If that stops, your cat will not find another food or water source because it doesn’t know how to.

2 — Illness

Even if it’s about diarrhea, your cat will stop eating and drinking due to illness. Cats typically become better within a few days, provided that you give them the necessary medical help.

However, if your cat seems moody, dull, lethargic, vomiting, and has a fever, that is serious, and you must take your cat to the vet immediately.

3 — Dental Issues

Dental problems can lead to immense pain, which might prevent your cat from drinking water, even if it wants to.

If you see your cat wincing while drinking water or chewing, if your cat eats from one side, if they won’t let you touch their face, or if they stop drinking and eating, this means they need dental help.

4 — Medication

This issue usually resolves itself within a few days. Some medications, including vaccinations or medications, can cause cats to feel less thirsty.

If your cat isn’t back to normal in a couple of days and is persistent against drinking water, take it to the veterinarian.

What Happens if My Cat Doesn’t Drink Water?

What Happens if My Cat Doesn’t Drink Water

Dehydration in cats doesn’t only happen if your cat doesn’t drink water.

Sweltering days, health issues that cause vomiting and diarrhea, diabetes, trauma, and even fever can lead to drastic water loss, thus causing dehydration. That makes their condition worse.

Some symptoms you may see include:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive urination
  • Dry gyms
  • Lethargy
  • Panting

But, the main symptom of dehydration you’ll often see will be skin tenting.

Dehydration causes skin tenting because their skin loses elasticity. You check for skin tenting by pinching the skin between their shoulder blades. If their skin snaps back once released, they may not be as hydrated. But, if their skin remains pinched or tented, this means your cat is badly dehydrated and may even need medical assistance.

Your veterinarian may rehydrate your cat by providing them IV fluids. If your cat becomes lethargic, doesn’t eat, and is visibly dehydrated, it helps go to the vet anyway. You don’t want to wait until their condition becomes worse.

How Do I Make My Cat Drink Water?

You can lead a cat to water, but you can’t make it drink. So, why not give it plenty of water sources and let your cat find them when they need it?

Here are some things you can do to ensure your cat’s hydration:

1. Have Multiple Water Bowls

It pays to give your cat access to water wherever they are. Having bowls of fresh water in every room not only gives them enough water sources, but it’s also easier for them too.

Use smaller water bowls made from stainless steel or ceramic, and place them in a corner or in an area where they can easily drink water without worrying about their surroundings.

2. Learn About Bowl Placement

First, never place your cat’s bowl near their source of water.

Cats don’t eat and drink from the same source in the wild because their “kill” often pollutes the surrounding area. Because of this instinctual habit, your cat will not like drinking water from the same source. Place the bowl far away from the food bowl, and keep it clean otherwise, your cat will not drink from it.

Second, think from a cat’s point of view when putting down a bowl of water. Cats like to have a clear, full vantage point, so they’re not surprised by any predators. Place the bowl in a spot without restricted eye lines or any worktops. This will make them more likely to drink water.

3. Use Water Fountains

Cats enjoy drinking water from moving sources.

From their point of view, standing water is polluted and dangerous and more likely to harbor contaminants. Moving water indicates that there’s a constant source that keeps the water going. Water fountains mimic that same motion. Using water fountains will not only encourage your cat to drink more, but it’ll also make your cat healthy.

Water fountains use filters to clean the moving water. This makes the water taste better and allows your cat to have more because the flavor appeals to them.

4. Use Wet Pet Food for Your Cat

Wet food contains a substantial amount of water. Keeping your cat on a wet food diet will drastically improve their hydration and even count for their daily water requirement. This doesn’t mean that you only feed your cat wet food.

Encourage water drinking and give your cat a combination of wet and dry food to keep their body healthy. Your cat won’t even notice how well-hydrated and well-fed they are.

You might also like to know how to tell if your cat is dehydrated and can I give my cat Pedialyte. Information n these pieces help you better understand the water requirements of your cat and what you can offer her to drink.


Dehydration in cats can be fatal if not treated. Follow the information above and give your cat different modes of water.

If they’re reluctant to drink water, feed them with a syringe if necessary. And use wet food when needed. Knowing your cat is healthy and well-hydrated will be a comfort.

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