What Can Cats Drink Besides Water

icon July 2, 2024

Cats, known for their finicky nature, often leave their owners wondering about the best ways to keep them hydrated. While water is undoubtedly the most essential drink for cats, there are other liquids that can be safely offered to enhance their hydration and overall health. This article will explore what cats can drink besides water, the benefits and risks of these alternatives, and how to ensure your feline friend remains properly hydrated.

The Importance of Hydration for Cats

Before delving into alternative drinks, it's crucial to understand the importance of hydration for cats. Proper hydration supports various bodily functions, including digestion, nutrient absorption, temperature regulation, and kidney function. Cats, particularly those on a dry food diet, can be prone to dehydration, which can lead to health issues such as urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and chronic kidney disease.

What Cats Can Drink Besides Water

While water should always be the primary source of hydration, there are a few other safe options you can offer your cat. These alternatives can add variety to your cat's diet and encourage them to drink more, especially if they are reluctant to drink water.

1. Cat Milk

Specially formulated cat milk is a popular alternative to water. Unlike regular cow’s milk, which can cause digestive issues due to lactose intolerance, cat milk is lactose-free and designed to be gentle on a cat’s stomach. Cat milk can be a tasty treat and a source of hydration, but it should be given in moderation due to its caloric content.

  • Benefits: Provides hydration, a source of nutrients, and is generally well-tolerated by cats.
  • Risks: Overconsumption can lead to weight gain due to its calorie content.

2. Bone Broth

Bone broth is another excellent option for cats. It’s rich in nutrients and can be a comforting drink, especially for older cats or those recovering from illness. Bone broth is made by simmering bones with meat, vegetables, and sometimes herbs, then straining the liquid. It’s important to use plain, unsalted broth without onions, garlic, or other seasonings that can be harmful to cats.

  • Benefits: Provides hydration, rich in vitamins and minerals, and can support joint health.
  • Risks: Store-bought broth can contain harmful ingredients; always check the label or make your own at home.

3. Tuna Juice

The juice from canned tuna (in water, not oil) can be a tempting and hydrating treat for cats. The fishy flavor can entice cats to drink more, which is especially useful if they are reluctant to drink plain water. It should be offered in small quantities and not as a regular part of the diet

  • Benefits: Encourages hydration and can be a high-protein treat.
  • Risks: High sodium content in some canned tuna can be harmful; excessive consumption can lead to nutritional imbalances.

4. Low-Sodium Chicken Broth

Similar to bone broth, low-sodium chicken broth can be a nutritious and hydrating option for cats. It’s essential to ensure the broth is free of onions, garlic, and other harmful seasonings. Chicken broth can be served warm, which some cats find particularly appealing.

  • Benefits: Provides hydration, and nutrients, and is often well-accepted by cats.
  • Risks: Store-bought versions can contain harmful ingredients; homemade is preferable.

5. Electrolyte Solutions

Specially formulated electrolyte solutions for pets can be used to hydrate cats, especially if they are sick or recovering from an illness. These solutions help restore lost electrolytes and are designed to be safe for pets. Always consult your veterinarian before giving electrolyte solutions to your cat.

  • Benefits: Replenishes lost electrolytes, helps with hydration, and is beneficial during illness.
  • Risks: Incorrect usage or overuse can cause imbalances; always follow veterinary guidance.

Drinks to Avoid

While some alternative drinks can be safe and beneficial, there are several beverages that should be avoided entirely due to their potential harm to cats:

Cow’s Milk:
Many cats are lactose intolerant, and cow’s milk can cause digestive issues such as diarrhea and stomach cramps.

Even small amounts of alcohol can be toxic to cats, leading to severe health issues and potentially death.

Caffeinated Beverages:
Coffee, tea, and other caffeinated drinks can cause rapid heart rate, hyperactivity, and even seizures in cats.

Sugary Drinks:
Soda, fruit juices, and other sugary beverages can lead to obesity, diabetes, and other health problems.

Salted Broths:
High-sodium content can cause dehydration, kidney issues, and other health problems in cats.

Encouraging Cats to Drink More Water

Despite the availability of safe alternatives, water remains the best and most important drink for cats. Ensuring your cat drinks enough water is crucial for their health. Here are some tips to encourage your cat to drink more water:

1. Multiple Water Bowls:
Place several water bowls around your home to make water more accessible. Cats are more likely to drink if water is always within easy reach.

2. Fresh Water:
Cats prefer fresh, clean water. Change the water in their bowls daily and clean the bowls regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria.

3. Water Fountains:
Many cats are attracted to running water. Investing in a cat water fountain can encourage your cat to drink more. The moving water is more appealing and stays fresh longer.

4. Ice Cubes:
Adding ice cubes to the water can make it more interesting for some cats. The cold water and the sound of the ice cubes can entice them to drink.

5. Wet Food:
Incorporating wet cat food into your cat’s diet can increase their overall water intake. Wet food has a high moisture content and can be a great way to ensure your cat stays hydrated.

6. Flavoring Water:
Adding a small amount of tuna juice or low-sodium chicken broth to your cat’s water can make it more enticing. Ensure the added liquids are safe and given in moderation.

Monitoring Your Cat’s Hydration

Keeping an eye on your cat’s hydration levels is important. Here are some signs of proper hydration and dehydration in cats:

Signs of Proper Hydration:

  • Normal Skin Elasticity: Gently pinch the skin on the back of your cat’s neck. It should snap back quickly. If it does, your cat is likely well-hydrated.
  • Bright Eyes: Well-hydrated cats have bright, clear eyes.
  • Regular Urination: A well-hydrated cat will urinate regularly. Check the litter box for consistent urination patterns.
  • Moist Gums: Your cat’s gums should be moist and pink.

Signs of Dehydration:

  • Skin Tenting: If the skin on the back of the neck stays tented or takes a long time to return to normal, your cat may be dehydrated.
  • Sunken Eyes: Dehydration can cause the eyes to appear sunken.
  • Lethargy: Dehydrated cats often appear lethargic or weak.
  • Dry Gums: Dry, sticky, or pale gums can indicate dehydration.

If you suspect your cat is dehydrated, offer them water or a safe alternative drink. Severe dehydration requires immediate veterinary attention.
→Also Read: Cat Dehydration Symptoms


While water remains the most essential drink for cats, there are several safe and beneficial alternatives you can offer to enhance their hydration. Cat milk, bone broth, tuna juice, low-sodium chicken broth, and specially formulated electrolyte solutions can be used occasionally to keep your cat hydrated and healthy. Always ensure these alternatives are given in moderation and are free from harmful ingredients.

Leave A Comment
All comments are moderated before being published.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Join The Puainta

Become one of pet parents and get professional tips, immediate product info, updated promotions and discounts, and more surprises from us!