We all know it’s important to keep your cat healthy, and consistent access to water is absolutely crucial for the health and well-being of any cat. Not only is water essential for a cat’s survival, but it also helps keep your cat comfortable and prevents long-term health problems.

While your cat can go without water for a short period of time, you should never experiment with this. Cats should have access to water at all times, particularly when you are not at home.

Here’s why drinking water is so important for cats, and tips to help keep them hydrated.

how long can a cat go without water

How long can cats go without water?

Cats are similar to humans in that they cannot go for too long without drinking water. There have been some reports of cats surviving up to three days without water, but this is extremely rare.

You should never under any circumstances leave your cat without water.

After a few hours without a drink, they will likely start to get thirsty and uncomfortable. After 24 hours without water, your cat could become severely dehydrated. This can result in permanent damage to their internal organs as well as noticeable weight loss.

However, it’s worth noting that it’s ‘normal’ for pet parents not to notice their cats drinking much, especially when you’re out during the day. Cats are often secretive about their drinking habits! As long as you are leaving water in plenty of places for your cat, don’t worry if you don’t see them drinking often.

How much water does your cat need?

how long can a cat go without water

Cats should always have access to water. Like humans, they get thirsty whenever their body needs more water. If you’re regularly gone for long periods of time during the work week, you may want to consider investing in a water fountain so your cat can always have clean water.

In general, larger cats need more water. That means that kittens will continually need to drink more as they grow. Older cats and cats with health issues will also need more water. Some health issues can cause your cat to refuse water, so you will need to be careful about making sure they consistently drink enough.

Cats need to take in at least 50ml of water per kilo (or 1 ounce per pound) each day. However, much of this water will be found in your cat’s food- cats on wet diets may hardly need to drink water at all.

How can I keep my cat hydrated on the go?

It’s particularly important to keep your cat hydrated while you are traveling. Pets often get stressed out while on the road, which makes regular access to water even more important.

If you’re flying with your cat, be sure to give them some water before and after the flight. Carry a reusable water bottle and portable bowl with you to ensure that you always have some on hand. Locate the airport’s nearest pet relief area if you need some additional space and privacy.

How Long Can a Cat Go Without Water

If you’re traveling by car, you’ll have more opportunities to give your cat water. You may even be able to leave a small water bowl in your cat’s carrier. There are no-spill water bowls that might be better suited for travelling.

You should be particularly aware of the temperature in your car – if it’s too hot, it can lead your cat to feel dehydrated more quickly.

How can I tell if my cat is dehydrated?

You should regularly check your cat for signs of dehydration. This is particularly important during warm weather, or if your cat has chronic health issues.

Lack of Energy

One of the biggest signs of dehydration is a lack of energy. If your cat has been sleeping far more than usual, or isn’t interested in their normal toys or games, this is often an indication that something is wrong.

Lack of Appetite

how long can a cat go without water

Many cats who are dehydrated will also refuse to eat. This can be accompanied by diarrhea and vomiting. Check your cat’s teeth – dehydration can cause dry gums with an unusual tacky texture.

You might also notice that your cat’s eyes look sunken, or that they appear to have lost a large amount of weight very quickly.

Tented Skin

A good way to check for dehydration is to pinch the skin between your cat’s shoulder blades. The skin should immediately flatten against the body after you let go. If the skin stays in a ‘tented’ position, this is an indication of severe dehydration.

If your cat is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to get them to a vet right away. The vet can help restore their fluid balance and recommend solutions to prevent dehydration from happening again.


how long can a cat go without water

It’s also important to note that cats can become dehydrated without showing any of these symptoms. This is why it’s so important to stay on top of your cat’s health, and make sure they always have water available.

Diseases such as kidney disease and diabetes can quickly cause dehydration as they increase urination and water loss. If a cat cannot keep up with their new water needs because their water bowl has run out, they can become seriously dehydrated in a matter of hours.

Regular checkups can identify any health problems early so that you can effectively treat them.

How can I help my cat drink more water?

If you’re worried about your cat’s hydration, there are a number of steps you can take to help them consume more water. A few small changes to their routine can make a big difference in their overall health.

Wet Food

how long can a cat go without water

First, start incorporating wet food into their diet if you aren’t already. Since wet food has a high water content, it can help contribute to your cat’s water needs while also providing them with excellent nutrients.

New Water Bowl

Try switching up your cat’s water bowl if they don’t enjoy drinking from it. Cats have a wide variety of preferences for water bowls- some like large, shallow bowls, whilst others like a tall water glass. It’s a good idea to place multiple water bowls throughout your living space, so they always have access to one nearby. This is also a good way to guard against your cat running out of water! You may even want to consider getting a water fountain – cats instinctually feel safer drinking running water.

Water Type

how long can a cat go without water

You can also try changing the type of water you are giving your cat. If you’re currently using unfiltered water, try switching to filtered water. Your cat may like the taste better, and it is also less likely to contain harmful pollutants. You should also clean your cat’s water bowl regularly. This helps prevent a buildup of bacteria that can taste unpalatable to your kitty.

‘Water supplements’ have been shown to increase drinking, and may be a good way of increasing your cat’s water intake. Whilst these aren’t readily available to the public, they’re likely to hit the market in 2021.


Water is extremely important to your cat’s health. They should always have access to fresh, clean water to ensure that they are comfortable and healthy. Drinking too little is dangerous, but if you notice your cat drinking a lot of water this can also be a sign of a problem.

When your cat gets enough water, you’ll notice that they have an energetic demeanor, soft fur, and bright eyes.