Have you ever wondered how long can cats go without water? For both humans and animals, water is one of the most necessities to survive.
It is necessary to drink it to replace the fluids we lost when sweating or urinating. Our body is composed of 60% H2O, and we need to maintain this sufficient amount of in our body.
Since animals such as cats urinate and sweat as we do, they also need to intake H2O at all times.
Just like us, felines also need it for proper circulation, digestion, saliva production, maintenance of body temperature, absorption, and transportation of nutrients.
Felines are initially desert animals so they can last longer without it than most creatures can.
Furthermore, wild felines often get their daily requirement of H2O from their prey. Meat is approximately 75% water, 20% protein and 5% is the combination of fat, minerals, and carbohydrate.
Felines don't require much water from other sources. Moreover, this explains why wild cats are not the most diligent drinkers among the members of the animal kingdom.
However, since domestication, some cats have been deprived to hunt their prey in the wild. Most of the times, they are confined inside the house, solely relying on the food being served to them.
That is why it’s important to include sufficient water in their diet. Processed cat foods may contain meat, but these commercial products don't have the same moisture content as fresh meat.
Along with their food, it’s our responsibility to provide them with safe drinking H2O. You might already know the dangers of not drinking enough.
Although cats can last long longer without water compared to us, lack of intake can lead to serious health problems.
Not drinking enough H2O can lead to dehydration, kidney failure, hyperthermia, cardiovascular problems, and cell shrinkage.
As a cat lose body fluid without replacing it, its blood becomes more concentrated to the point that the kidney is triggered to retain it. As a result, the cat may urinate less.
The more concentrated the blood becomes, the harder it is for the cardiovascular system to neutralize blood pressure.
As a result, heart rate increases and the risk of exhaustion or collapse also increase.
Dehydration also hampers the body to regulate normal temperature.
Cell shrinkage may occur when there’s a limited supply of H2O in the body. This is because most of it is borrowed by the blood, leaving the cells deprived of it.
If dehydration is still mistreated for an extended period, this can lead to terminal dehydration that will eventually result in death.
Of course, no one wants to put his or her beloved kitties in a dangerous situation by denying them of sufficient H2O intake.
That is why most cat owners are quick to push the ‘panic button’ whenever they notice that their pets would refuse to drink water at some points.
However, when is the right time to worry when a cat suddenly stopped drinking water?
How long can cats go without water? Also, how much water do they need on a daily basis?
How Much Water Is Sufficient For Your Cat?
Before we discuss how long can cats go without water, let us first determine how much intake is necessary for cats.
There are several factors in determining the appropriate amount of H2O to provide to your feline pet.
The amount of food they eat
Keep in mind that cats must drink the quantity of water equivalent to the food they eat.
A cat typically needs to drink 2 – 4 ounces every day to keep it well-hydrated and healthy.
However, if your pet eats more food than usual, you'll also need to increase the water dosage.
If your kitty eats dry food on a daily basis, then you need to give it more water.
Bigger cats would require more water to replenish their large body compared to smaller cats with tinier bodies.
Level of activity
Active cats tend to lose more body fluids than their indolent counterparts.
Since they sweat more and they burn more calories, they'll need more H2O to replace lost fluids. Also to help them cook more calories for energy.
Frequency of urination
Generally, cats urinate 2 - 4 times a day, but there's no definitive regularity to describe the proper rate of urination in cats.
Water intake dramatically affects the amount and frequency of urination. The most important thing to look out for is consistency.
Each kitty is unique on their own, and this also includes the number of times they pee in a day. You should be aware of your kitty's average frequency of urination and use this as a basis.
The main idea here is to replace the same amount of lost fluid from the body. So if your kitty urinates more frequently than most cats, then it needs more water.
However, in case that you detect any inconsistency in the frequency and amount of urination, you should regard it as a severe symptom.
For example, if your cat suddenly pees less frequently or more often than usual, it can be a sign of potential kidney disease.
In case you notice a sudden change in your kitty’s urination routine, consult your vet.
Weather and environment
Climate can significantly affect the amount of liquid intake needed for survival.
Felines living in tropical regions or hot areas are more susceptible to dehydration because they tend to sweat more.
Heat increases body temperature, making them sweat more. That is why cats are at particular risk of dehydration during hot weather.
Health and age
If a cat is in poor condition or is aging, expect it to consume fewer liquids and at times would refuse to drink water.
Unlike young and healthy kitties, the ones who are old and suffering from specific health problems may not be able to survive long without water.
So if you happen to have senior cats with health issues, be sure that they consume enough liquids before dehydration can cause even more severe problems.
So, How Long Can Cats Go Without Water?
Now, to answer the question: how long can cats go without water?How many days can a cat go without water? How long can a cat survive without water?
If a cat doesn't consume it, the maximum period for which it can survive is four days. Let’s try to compare them with humans.
A human can survive for 20 days with water alone, without food. However, a human would typically last only three days without water.
On the other hand, a cat can survive for 15 days with water alone without eating any food. However, without liquid consumption, a cat may not last longer than four days.
If a cat eats some food without any water intake, it can survive for a week or 10 days at most.
So if you find your furry friend refusing to drink water for a week, that’s the time to be alarmed. Even if your pet eats solid food, it still needs water to survive.
A week without drinking liquids can make your cat suffer from severe health problems such as kidney failure and cardiovascular disease.
The muscle mass of a feline will gradually decrease if it doesn't consume any water for days. After that, the body will start to deteriorate starting from the liver and kidney.
Things will become worse from then on. The blood thickens, cells shrink, body temperature and blood pressure will rise. Moreover, if this goes on, the cat will eventually die.
The worse thing about terminal dehydration is that the sufferer usually suffers a slow death. It is so painful that the cat may die of shock first before it can die of total dehydration.
There have been cases where cats have been found dead because their owners locked them in a room for a week without liquids.
Don't ever believe when other people say that felines can survive life without liquids for a month because that's not true.
Some cat owners have paid the price because they also thought so. Don't be like them and regret it in the end when it's too late.
How to Prevent Dehydration in Cats?
Felines are not the type of animals who are into liquids. However, don't use this as an excuse for not providing sufficient H2O to your pet.
Whether they are fond of drinking water or not, cats need water to live.
If ever you need to leave them at home, make sure to keep a big water bowl in a place where they can easily access it.
Felines may not be diligent drinkers, but they also get thirsty especially when they don’t get enough water from dry food.
Also, please take into consideration the level of activity and the environment they're currently in. Dormant cats usually don't drink much water as active cats do.
This is because inactive kitties do not sweat and burn calories as much as their energetic counterparts.
So if you have a playful and lively cat, make sure to provide a water source close at hand.
Moreover, you need to see to it that your pet is drinking safe, clean water to ensure its overall health.
You will be doing more harm than good if you give them contaminated water to drink.
However, what if you have to leave your pet at home for several days?
Stagnant water contained in a water bowl is likely to harbor bacteria and germs that can pose significant health risks.
Standing water often smells unpleasant for cats, and they'll refuse to drink it. However, if they don't have any other choice, they'll be forced to drink the contaminated water nonetheless.
What’s the best solution for this problem? A cat water fountain is probably the best answer to keep the water clean and safe for as long as seven days.
This can come in handy especially if you're too busy and don't have enough time to refill your pet's water supply.
Compared to other household pets, felines have more sensitive body making them at higher risk of infection and health ailments.
Without enough water in their body, their delicate bodily systems become more prone to failure and damage.
If your feline buddy suddenly stops drinking water, then it's safe to assume that there must be something wrong with it.
How long can cats go without water - is four days? However, you don't have to wait this long before you decide to bring your pet to the vet.
When your kitty refuses to drink water for a day, try to change the water source or replace the water supply. The chances are high that your pet might find the water unpleasant.
Instead of using tap water, try bottled or distilled water. One of the reasons why cats refuse to drink tap water is due to its chlorine and fluorine content that they find repulsive.
During hot days, cats would prefer cold and refreshing water to drink. Drop a couple of ice cubes into the water bowl to keep the water fresh.
Place the water bowl out of the sun and move it into a shady spot where the water can be kept fresh for more extended periods of time.
To supplement water intake, you can give wet foods such as canned tuna to your cat. Compared to dry foods, canned foods have a high moisture content of 75% water to help our pets meet their daily hydration needs.
However, it would help if you did not rely on canned foods alone to supplement their water intake.
Like most canned goods, these products may be contaminated with mercury. This highly toxic chemical can pose serious health problems if it accumulates in the bloodstream.
While canned foods can be used as a supplement for water, it shouldn’t be used as a fixed solution to the problem.
Remember, nothing can substitute water, and there's nothing that can serve as a real substitute to it.
Consider using a cat drinking fountain to convince your pet to drink more water. The sound of running water is known to be pleasant for felines. That should persuade your kitty to drink from it.
Plus, pet drinking fountain effectively filters any toxins and debris to provide clean drinking water for your feline friend.
However, if your pet persists in refusing water, it's time to take it to the vet clinic.
There might be some underlying health issues that are affecting its sudden change in behavior regarding water intake.
Also, keep an eye on the possible signs of dehydration such as:
Remember, cats often hide from their humans when they feel something is wrong with them.
Sometimes, cat owners don’t have any idea that their pets are already suffering. So you need to be observant at all times.
Not drinking enough water can be dangerous for your feline pet. However, drinking too much water is equally threatening also.
There’s a condition called polydipsia in which a cat manifests an increased level of thirst by drinking too much water. The symptom of polydipsia is often associated with excessive urination.
This rare condition can be caused by renal failure, diabetes mellitus, and hyperthyroidism.
Again, let us remind you that consistency is the key. Be aware of your pet’s drinking routine. If you notice a sudden change in its drinking habit, consult a veterinarian immediately.
Your vet will examine your pet's condition to determine the cause of the sudden change in the level of thirst and urination.
How to Assess Your Cat’s Hydration
Pay attention to the symptoms of dehydration and take note of sudden changes in your pet’s drinking habit.
Aside from these, there are two tests that you can perform to assess your pet's skin elasticity and capillary refill.
Test skin elasticity
Choose an area of the skin along your pet's back or chest. The skin on the end of the neck is thick so you may want to avoid choosing that area.
Using two of your fingers, gently pinch the skin and release it. A healthy, well-hydrated cat should have a skin that would snap back into place instantly.
If your pet's skin slowly returns to place after pinching, it could be a sign of mild dehydration.
However, if the skin stays in pinched position instead of snapping back into place, consider that as a sign of severe dehydration.
It is also important to point out that other factors may affect the accuracy of this test.
Senior cats may have already lost their elastic skin, and it may not snap back immediately when pinched.
Overweight cats are more difficult to assess. This is because they have more subcutaneous fat that would make the skin feel more elastic than it is.
Capillary refill time
The capillary refill time (CRT) is the time it takes for the tiny blood vessels in the gum to refill with blood.
Hold your pet by the chin and press your thumb to its gum, then release it. The glue should turn white. You'll need to try it again if it doesn't blanch.
After lifting your finger, count the number of seconds it takes for the white spot to return to its normal color.
It should only take less than 2 seconds for the blanched spot to turn pink again. If it takes longer than that, your pet is likely dehydrated.
If the gum is very pale, to begin with, it could be a sign of severe dehydration, and you need to take your pet to the vet.
Conclusion: How Long Can Cats Go Without Water
To sum it up, this was all about how long can cats go without water. How many days can a cat go without water and food?
It's important to know how long can a cat survive without water. However, it is more important to learn the ways on how to keep our pets well-hydrated at all times.
Water is a universal life force. It is what keeps this planet and everything living on it alive.
Not just felines but every living creature need water to survive. You've probably heard and presumed that cats hate water.
Felines do not hate water. They don't require the same amount of water that we normally consume. However, that doesn't mean they don't need it.
As responsible pet owners, we must provide them safe drinking water at all times.
Cats are fastidious creatures, and they won't consume anything that is unpleasant to them. That is why we need to do anything to make H2O pleasant to them.
Just like us, cats won’t survive for long without water. Dehydration can be quite alarming and fatal if left untreated.
Monitoring our cat’s liquid intake and keeping an eye on the potential signs of dehydration is the first step to prevent this condition.
Keeping our feline pets healthy and well-hydrated is one of our responsibilities to maintain their health and well-being.