Is My Cat Dehydrated?

3 min read
Jan 09, 2022

If you have a cat, you don’t need us to tell you that they can sometimes be finicky.  While this natural quirkiness gives your cat his or her distinct personality, it can make it difficult for you to know if your cat is dehydrated. Cats tend to be skilled at disguising signs of discomfort and illness, making it all the more important that you know what to look for.

Dehydration in Cats

Dehydration is an imbalance of water and electrolytes in the body.  It doesn’t only happen to cats.  It can happen to any number of living animals, including humans. Dehydration occurs when there is a reduction in water consumption or when there is an increase in fluid output.

Is my Cat Dehydrated?

Just like humans, your cat is at an increased risk of dehydration when the temperature heats up, as well as when his or her activity level increases. Vomiting or diarrhea also result in fluid loss.  So, if you notice Kitty suffering from an upset stomach, make sure they are drinking plenty of water afterward.

Other causes for dehydration in cats include a lack of access to clean drinking water or possibly an underlying health condition.  Also, be sure to ask yourself if your cat has eaten anything recently that she shouldn't have. Some human foods can be harmful to cats.

How Much Water Does my Cat Need?

The amount of water your cat needs on a daily basis depends on the type of food they eat, as well as their environment.

The Committee on Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats estimates that cats should generally drink an ounce of water for every half-ounce of dry food they eat.

Dry cat food contains anywhere from 7 percent to 12 percent water.  Compare that with wet food, otherwise known as canned food, which can contain up to 80 percent water.  If you feed your cat a dry food diet, it is crucial that you make sure she always has access to fresh, clean drinking water.

It is a good idea to place the water bowl in the area of the food dish, but far enough away from it that your feline won’t end up getting pieces of food in the water.  And it’s best not to put the water bowl in the vicinity of the litter box.  Some kitties don’t want to drink the water once anything else is floating around in the bowl.  Can you blame them?

Why Won't My Cat Drink Water?

If you notice your cat not drinking from their water bowl, here are a few ways you can encourage them to do so:

Try placing a few water dishes in different locations around the house. It is possible that they do not like the placement of the water.
Check the water dishes to make sure there are no dust bunnies or food particles in them.

Try adding a couple of ice cubes and see if they prefer colder water.

If you are using a plastic water bowl, it is possible your cat doesn’t like the taste of the water in plastic. Try switching to a metal or glass dish.
Clean the dish daily and refill it with fresh water.

Is my Cat Drinking too Much or Too Little? 

Remember, if you feed your cat wet food, she may not need to drink much water.
If you want to get an idea of how much your cat is drinking, keep track of how much water remains in the bowl at the end of each day.  To do this, replace the water at the same time each day, and refill it to the same level.

If you notice a significant change in water intake, consult your veterinarian.  If your cat does become dehydrated, your vet will most likely want to rehydrate him or her and will run tests to rule out a possible underlying condition. 

Consider Investing in Cat Insurance  

Looking for more ways to protect your kitty?  Consider investing in a cat insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1  Get your free quote today.

Need Cat Insurance?

Coverage in 3 Easy Steps

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.