Why Don't Cats Drink Water? Exploring the Mystery Behind It.

icon July 3, 2023

Cats are wonderful companions and are often considered our furry friends. They provide comfort, companionship, and entertainment with their unique personalities and behaviors. We all try our best to understand their individual preferences, provide them with proper care, and show them love and affection. So if your cat refuses to drink water, definitely there are many of us who want to know the reasons for it. But please don’t worry. In this article, we will learn more about your furry friend and explore the mystery behind it.

1. Why Does Your Cat Refuse to Drink Water?

Natural behavior: Cats have descended from desert-dwelling ancestors, and their wild relatives would obtain much of their hydration from the prey they consumed. This evolutionary history means that cats have a lower thirst drive compared to some other animals. They are adapted to get a significant portion of their water intake from their food.

Sensitive to taste and smell: Cats have a highly developed sense of taste and smell, which can make them more selective about the water they drink. They may prefer fresh, clean water and be deterred by water that has been sitting for a while or has an odor. Providing fresh water and regularly cleaning their water bowls can encourage them to drink more. What’s more, they will not willing to drink water if they notice the bad odor around them. So it is necessary to do some cleaning to remove the bad odor.

Preference for running water: Some cats show a preference for running water because it may resemble the moving water sources found in nature. This behavior is thought to stem from their ancestral instincts to seek out fresh, flowing water to avoid stagnant sources that may be contaminated. Using a cat water fountain or a dripping faucet may entice cats to drink more.

2. What Are The Threats Behind It?

Insufficient water intake can lead to various health risks for cats. Here are some of the dangers associated with dehydration or inadequate water consumption in cats:

Urinary tract problems: Lack of water intake can contribute to the formation of urinary crystals, stones, or blockages in cats. Adequate hydration helps to flush out the urinary system and prevent these issues.

Kidney problems: Insufficient water intake can strain the kidneys and increase the risk of kidney disease or renal failure in cats. Water helps to filter toxins from the body and maintain proper kidney function.

Decreased organ function: When a cat is dehydrated, its organs, including the liver, heart, and gastrointestinal system, may not function optimally. This can lead to various health complications.

Digestive issues: Insufficient water intake can result in constipation or gastrointestinal disturbances in cats. Water helps to lubricate the digestive system and facilitate smooth bowel movements. If your cat really gets constipation or gastrointestinal disturbances, you’d better consult with a veterinarian for personalized advice and provide your cat with the food that can easy to digest which can help your furry friend recover more quickly.


Heatstroke: Cats can suffer from heatstroke if they are not adequately hydrated, particularly in hot weather or when exposed to high temperatures. Proper water intake helps regulate body temperature and prevent overheating.

Decreased energy and lethargy: Dehydration can cause cats to become tired, sluggish, and less active. It can impact their overall energy levels and affect their daily activities.

Poor coat and skin health: Insufficient water intake can lead to dry, dull fur and skin problems in cats. Adequate hydration is necessary for maintaining healthy skin and a shiny coat.

3. What’s the Proper Amount of Hydration?

Proper hydration is essential for the health and well-being of cats. While the exact amount of water intake can vary depending on factors such as age, size, activity level, and diet, it's generally recommended that cats consume an average of 60-80 milliliters of water per kilogram of body weight per day. This estimate includes both water obtained from drinking and moisture present in their food.

   Tips to encourage proper hydration in cats:

Provide fresh water: Always ensure that your cat has access to clean and fresh water throughout the day. Regularly change the water and clean the water bowl to prevent any contamination.

Wet food: Incorporate wet or canned cat food into your cat's diet. Canned food typically has a higher moisture content compared to dry kibble, contributing to your cat's overall hydration.

Water sources and bowls: Some cats are picky about their water sources. Experiment with different types of bowls such as ceramic, stainless steel, or glass to see which one your cat prefers. Additionally, some cats prefer running water, so a cat water fountain might be an option.

Multiple water stations: If you have a larger home, consider placing multiple water stations in different locations to make it more convenient for your cat to access water throughout the day.

Monitor water intake: Keep an eye on your cat's water consumption and monitor their litter box. If you notice a significant decrease in water intake or a sudden increase, it could indicate an underlying health issue. In such cases, it's best to consult your veterinarian.

But please remember that these are general guidelines, and individual cats may have specific needs. If you have any concerns about your cat's hydration or overall health, it's always advisable to consult with a veterinarian for personalized advice.


The reasons why your cats do not like to drink vary, and we need to keep an eye on them and make adjustments according to the different reasons to ensure that they have sufficient water intake and avoid other healthy problems caused by lack of water. We should always care for and love our furry friends more to ensure their physical and mental health.


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