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How to Get a Cat to Drink More Water: 12 Vet-Approved Tips


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maine coon cat pawing its water bowl
Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

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Cats are notorious for not drinking enough water, leading to various health problems, such as urinary tract infections and kidney disease. As a cat owner, your responsibility is to ensure your cat gets enough water to stay hydrated and healthy. Fortunately, there are several ways to encourage your cat to drink. Keep reading while we share several expert tips that will help keep your cat hydrated and happy.


The 12 Tips for Getting a Cat to Drink More Water

1. Fresh Water

If you want your cat to drink more water, one of the best things you can do is change it frequently to remain fresh. Cats are notoriously picky and might avoid water that is sitting out. If using water bowls, ensure they are large enough that your cat can drink without bumping their whiskers and keep it away from the food bowl since many cats won’t drink water too close to their food.

tabby cat sitting next to a bowl of water
Image Credit: Impact Photography, Shutterstock

2. Ceramic or Glass Bowls

Plastic bowls can harbor bacteria and odors, which can deter your cat from drinking the water they contain. On the other hand, ceramic or glass bowls don’t retain odors as easily, making the water more appealing to your cat. These materials are also easier to clean.

3. Water Fountain

Another great way to get your cat to drink more water is to use an electric water fountain. Consider investing in a water fountain designed for cats, as many prefer running water, and the sound of a fountain can attract them and encourage them to drink more. Stainless steel or ceramic fountains last longer and don’t allow bacteria to build up, like plastic and other materials.

cat drinking from water fountain
Image Credit: Creative Cat Studio, Shutterstock

4. Wet Food

If you are having difficulty getting your pet to drink from a bowl or water fountain, you might be able to help your pet stay hydrated by switching to wet cat food, as it has a much higher moisture content than dry food. However, not all wet food is created equal. Some brands are higher quality than others and some may contain more or less water, so it’s best to check the label.

5. Multiple Bowls

Multiple water bowls throughout your home can encourage your cat to drink more, giving them easy access to water in different areas. Multiple bowls can be especially important if you have a multi-story home, as your cat may not want to go up or down stairs to drink water. They may also feel more comfortable drinking from different bowls at specific times of the day.

grey cat near water bowl
Image Credit: Vera_Chan, Shutterstock

6. Elevated Bowls

Some cats prefer to drink from elevated bowls, as it allows them to drink at a more comfortable height. If your cat hesitates to drink from their water bowl, place it on a higher surface, such as a cat bowl platform or small shelf, to see if they like that better.

7. Ice Cubes

Adding a few ice cubes to your cat’s water bowl can make drinking more appealing and refreshing. Cats are curious animals and will likely wonder what the ice is, attracting them to the bowl or fountain.

Gray persian cat is licking ice to cool off
Image Credit: Chaiwat Hemakom, Shutterstock

8. Flavored Water

Adding a small amount of tuna juice or cat-safe chicken broth cooked without onion or garlic to your cat’s water can add flavor and encourage them to drink more. However, only do it occasionally, as doing it too often might cause the cat to resist unflavored water.

9. Monitor Water Intake

Monitor your cat’s water intake to ensure they drink enough.

A good rule of thumb is four ounces of water for every five pounds of body weight daily. If you notice that your cat is drinking less than this or showing signs of dehydration, such as lethargy or sunken eyes, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian to learn what steps you can take to get your cat back on track.

vet holding the scottish fold cat in a veterinary clinic
Image Credit: Alice Rodnova, Shutterstock

10. Try Bottled Water

Your cat may not want to drink tap water if it has a strong taste or odor. Instead, try offering bottled water to see if your cat prefers the taste.

11. Provide Outdoor Stimulation

If your cat has access to an outdoor space, such as a balcony or screened-in porch, putting a water fountain near outdoor stimulation like bird feeders and plants can encourage them to drink more water. Since it is likely that birds will go down to drink, the sights and sounds of nature may entice them to stay hydrated. If your cats are stuck indoors, you can place a bird feeder outside the window and a water bowl nearby; this might help tempt them into drinking more.

angry cat with agressive expression staring outside the window
Image Credit: Margarita Vais, Shutterstock

12. Consult With a Veterinarian

If you’re concerned about your cat’s water intake or have tried several of these tips and your cat is still not drinking enough, we recommend consulting a veterinarian. They can provide recommendations tailored to your cat’s specific needs and may also recommend additional treatments or supplements to help increase your cat’s water intake.


Encouraging your cat to drink more water is essential for their health and well-being. By providing fresh water, investing in a water fountain, feeding wet food, using flavored water, and many other tricks on this list, you can help ensure that your cat is getting enough water. Remember, every cat is unique, so it may take some trial and error to find the best method for your cat. However, with patience and persistence, you can help your cat develop healthy hydration habits that will keep them happy and healthy throughout their life.

Featured Image Credit: Pickless, Shutterstock

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