How Long Can A Cat Live Without Water?

How Long Can A Cat Live Without Water?

Updated on

Water is essential to keep every living being going, cats included! Our furry friends need water just as much as we do to survive, and can experience complications with their health if their daily water intake is not met. 

In this article we’ll cover just how long a cat can live without water, ways to help your cat drink enough water, and the potential risks that can come along with a dehydrated cat. 

drinking water


So how long can a cat go without water?

While this answer can vary from cat to cat, the average time that a cat can live without water is 3-4 days. Your cat will certainly begin to feel sluggish and ill at the 48 hour mark without water, and will begin to experience serious health complications at 72 hours. 

Though your cat may be able to live up to 4 days without water, this does not mean it should ever get to that point. Dehydration is dangerous for our feline companions, and we should always intervene before it gets to that point. 

So how much water should your cat be drinking each day? 

How much water should a cat drink?

In order to help your cat stay hydrated and healthy, it’s important to be aware of how much water they should be drinking each day. While we know it may be hard to track exact amounts of what they’re sipping, we’ll help you understand what adequate hydration may look like for your cat. 

On average, cats need about 4 ounces of water per 5 pounds of body weight each day. Since the average house cat weighs around 10-12 pounds, you should expect your cat to drink about half of an average 16 oz. bottle of water. 

In order to keep track of how much water your cat is drinking each day, it’s a good idea to be aware of how much water their water bowls hold. If you are trying to keep a close eye on how much water your cat is drinking each day, you can measure the amount of water in their bowl in the morning and in the evening for comparisons. By subtracting the amount of water in the morning to the evening result, you can have an exact amount. 

If you are not closely monitoring their water intake, you can usually assume that your cat is drinking enough as long as you witness them at the water bowl a few times a day. You should also expect to top off their water bowls at the end of each day if they are truly drinking enough. 

drinking water

Why won’t my cat drink water?

There are a few common reasons behind the average cat’s water strike. Whether it’s due to being unhappy with their water set up or an issue with their health, each possibility should be taken seriously. 

First, make sure your cat always has access to fresh water. Some cats are less likely to drink water that’s been sitting all day, and some sitting water can actually begin to grow bacteria if it’s left unattended for too long. Unlimited access to crisp water is the best way to entice your cat to drink. You can also consider investing in a cat water fountain for the ultimate fresh sip!

The next possible reason behind your cat’s refusal to drink is an actual medical concern. Many illnesses will cause your cat to have a decrease in water intake or a lack of appetite, so it’s important to be aware of this possibility. If you fear that your cat is not drinking water due to feeling ill, it’s best to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. 

How can I hydrate my cat at home?

Since hydration is so important for our furry friends, you may wonder if there are ways to offer your cat extra hydration aside from their water bowl. Luckily for cat owners, there are a few easy ways to give them an extra boost of H2O. 

Wet Food

The most popular way to give your cat some extra water in their diet is by feeding them canned food. Some canned foods have enough moisture to give your cat 50% of their daily water recommendations, making this a simple way to hydrate your feline companion. You can also add water to their kibble or canned food to boost their intake as well. 

Water Fountains

Do you ever notice how fascinated cats are with faucets and running water? You can take advantage of this fascination and switch to a water fountain instead of their standard water bowl. Cat water fountains are a bit more enticing than sitting water, and can result in your cat drinking more each day because of it.

Add Flavor

If you want your cat to be a bit more interested in their food, consider adding a few drops of tuna water into their water bowl. As long as this juice is coming from canned tuna in water, a small amount will be perfectly safe. This added flavor may spark your cat’s interest and encourage them to start sipping!


Another way to hydrate your cat at home is by adding small amounts of hydrating food to their diet. For example, many cat owners add canned pumpkin to their cat’s food if they struggle with constipation. Pumpkin helps to bring more water into the GI tract and get things moving, making it a subtle way to add a bit of extra moisture into their diet. 

Risks Of A Cat Not Drinking Enough Water

drinking water article

Since cat’s need a certain amount of water each day to function properly, there are serious risks that come along with not drinking enough. Some of these risks include:

  • Dehydration
  • Constipation
  • Lethargy
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Heart complications

As you can see, dehydration in a cat is a serious medical concern. If you ever fear that your cat is dehydrated or is not interested in drinking water for more than 24 hours, it’s best to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. 


Water is truly the fountain of life for our feline companions. Be sure to review the tips we’ve listed above for water consumption in cats, and you’ll always be on top of your cat’s hydration!

Scroll to Top