My mom’s cat once contracted a UTI (urinary tract infection) just because he wasn’t drinking enough. It’s a common problem amongst cats – especially for those of us who don’t feed our cats wet food, but stick to kibble instead.
It’s certainly not impossible to get a cat to drink more – far from it actually! And if you don’t want to switch cat foods to a wet food type, you’re in luck because there are a slew of other ways to get your cat to drink enough water.
While you may have the type of cat who doesn’t drink enough typically, using just a few of these techniques will almost certainly get your cat drinking a healthy amount of water. Use the techniques that work best for you, and keep your cat healthy and hydrated!
5 Techniques You Can Use to Get Your Cat to Drink More Water
Method 1: If your cat eats dry food, switch to wet food.
Again – you don’t have to use this technique, but I would be remiss to leave it out as it’s one of the fastest and easiest way to get your cat to immediately get more water into his or her system.
Wet foods contain substantially more water than dry cat foods/kibble. That’s actually the vast majority of the difference between the two types of food.
So if you’re concerned because your cat isn’t drinking enough, seriously consider this option.
Method 2: Try placing a cat fountain in your home.
Ever met a cat that isn’t a fan of drinking – until you turn on the tap? Cats love the taste of running water, whether that’s straight from the faucet or whether it’s the running water that’s hit the basin by their paws.
How can you replicate this running water so that your cat will be happy to drink all the time, without you needing to turn on the tap? Get a cat water fountain.
For many cats that don’t like drinking water, this one quick fix works very well.
When my mom’s cat got a urinary tract infection, her vet asked her to switch to wet cat food until he was better – but she didn’t stop at that.
I asked her to grab a cat water fountain to make sure he’d be drinking water more often even after his UTI had cleared up.
She picked up the a cat fountain and immediately her cat started drinking one heck of a lot more.
After his UTI cleared up, my mom switched back to dry food – and you know what, with the help of the cat water fountain, as well as one of the other techniques I’ll address here, her cat hasn’t had a UTI in years.
One of the biggest problems I’ve seen with people hesitating to get a water fountain for their cat is that the prices of these things can be prohibitively expensive.
Luckily, the Catit Design Senses Fountain is honestly not the type of product that will break the bank, being around $20 at regular price.
I’m so glad this water fountain worked for my mom’s cat, as most other water fountains for cats start at almost double the price!
Not a fun price tag, especially when you’re unsure having a water fountain will even do the trick.
Method 3: Mix your cat’s food with water.
I once took care of a friend’s cat while he was on vacation, and his cat, just like my mom’s cat, was the type who didn’t drink enough water.
Before leaving his cat in our care, my friend gave us instructions to mix his kitty’s meal of kibble with water when we fed him dinner.
Worked like a charm! Not a drop of water left in the bowl when it’s been mixed with dinner.
If you feel your cat isn’t getting enough to drink, you can add water to your cat’s meal every day – whether you use dry or wet cat food.
Method 4: Feed your cat meals in a feeding toy? Give your cat snacks in water daily to keep him or her hydrated!
I always advocate for feeding cats kibble in feeding toys to keep kitties engaged and active during mealtimes and to help keep them from devouring their meals in mere minutes, as they often do when food is given to them in a bowl.
So what do you do if you feed your cat from a cat feeding toy, but he or she isn’t drinking enough water?
Snack time with water!
My mom uses the PetSafe SlimCat Food Dispenser to feed her kitty dinner every day. Her cat loves getting his meals this way as he’s the type of cat who loves to run after things – and has a particularly big thing for balls!
So in order to make sure he’s been drinking enough, even with the water fountain installed (he drinks more with the fountain then ever before, but she’s still always worried about another UTI – those are terribly uncomfortable for cats!), she gives her cat a snack of a few pieces of kibble in some water each day.
These two methods alone (the fountain + the watery snack) have kept her cat from getting a UTI in years. He certainly drinks enough water now!
If you’re concerned about your cat becoming unhealthy because of having too many snacks (cat snacks are not often the healthiest), use kibble instead of the standard “snacks” you get on the market.
Don’t want to feed your cat more of the same because you’re concerned with him or her getting bored? Get a different dry cat food specifically for giving your cat snacks with!
Method 5: Mix up the watery cat snacks: give your cat catnip cold tea daily!
Cats love catnip. We all know it; we all think it’s adorable to watch them show their love for the stuff.
If you want to give your cat a daily dose of water without increasing calorie consumption, this is almost certainly the easiest way to do it!
Of course you don’t have to boil the water and make “real” tea – just mix some loose catnip into some fresh water and give it to your kitty. He or she will undoubtedly greatly appreciate it!
Do this once a day and your cat will stay hydrated as ever! And will be very happy to do so!
(Twists on this method: a teeny bit of milk, tuna, chicken stock, or another food favourite really heavily watered down so it’s practically all water; essentially, the flavouring of your cat’s favourite taste should help the water be lapped up pretty quickly; hardly a calorie of the original food needs to be in there!)
*Bonus: Run the faucet in the sink or the tub and let your cat drink from the dripping water.
Down in the comments section, Brandy reminded me of one of the simplest and easiest ways to get most cats to drink there ever was or will be: let them into the tub or onto the sink, open the cold water tap ever-so-slightly, and let them drink from the dripping water, or the shallow little puddles created from that slow drip.
You can do this whenever your cat wants, at specific points of the day, or you can even leave your faucet ever-so-slightly drippy all day for your cat to walk into and out of the bathroom to take sips out of.
Obviously, you have to be okay letting your cat into the bathtub or onto the sink, but it is an option.
Not a fan of doing this? If your cat likes water that’s cold and straight out of the tap, try offering a fresh bowl of water whenever he or she eats.
Cats often like to drink right after eating, like we humans do, so it’s a good time to freshen up the water for a higher chance of a drink!
How Would You Encourage a Cat to Drink More Water?
Leave your suggestions in the comments below!
Use any of the methods I’ve listed above? Let me know how they’ve worked out for you.
And good on all of you reading this for working hard to keep those kitties well hydrated!
1) empty a can or envelope of tuna into a bowl
2)add 1 cup water let stand 1 minute
3)mush up tuna slightly in water
4)strain tuna water into separate bowl
5)serve water to cat adding any meds before serving
:reserve tuna meat for next meal to assure they drink the water first
:tuna water can also be syringed instead of plain water
:this method works with their favorite food also
:be patient it may take days or weeks to adjust
:eventually they will gobble it up if hungry enough
(from omitting dry food!!)
These are all really great suggestions. I just adopted a 2 month old kitten earlier this week and she unfortunately has a URI at the moment so she’s not wanting to eat a ton, or drink water by itself since she’s on antibiotics. I had to take her to get fluids at the vet today because she was getting so dehydrated. She only eats about half a small can of wet food daily (if that) these past few days, and will only drink water if I dip my fingers in it and hold it up to her…but only if she’s in the mood. She has never had any interest in kibble or solid treats, so I don’t think the kibble soup will do much. Do you think the watering down the wet food so it’s a “flavored beverage” will do the trick?
My cat doesn’t drink enough water, so I add a small amount of water to his wet food. Interesting, he licks the liquid up before he eats the solids. Don’t add too much water, but enough to keep your cat hydrated.
My cat drinks a decent amount of water, but I’m worried its still not enough, especially as we get into the hot summer months. I’m considering getting a pet fountain, but am not sure he’ll go for it as he dislikes running water–he won’t drink from the sink like other cats I know. Does anyone have suggestions to try/think getting the fountain is worth it?
Elise Xavier says
If you’d just like the peace of mind, I’d try mixing kibble in with water then offering that to your cat once or twice a day to keep your kitty hydrated. My cats also drink decent amounts of water, but I still like the peace of mind, especially since both are boys and are thus more likely to get UTIs if they don’t drink for some reason or another. Now with two, I’m unable to distinguish based on litter box “leftovers” who is drinking how much, so I simply give them kibble “soup” twice a day to keep them hydrated and my mind free from worry.
Martha Megan Silva says
Hi I just found your site today and I am enjoying it! Thank you. I just recently adopted my Sammi since I had to put my sweet Gabriella to sleep a month ago. Needless to say it nearly broke me. She was 15 and I had her and her sister Jesse since they were a few weeks old (I found them in a dumpster, in a garbage bag, in the middle of summer here in Las Vegas). Unfortunately Jesse died 7 years ago from cancer. Gabriella also got cancer.
Anyway, I’ve always had dogs and cats my whole life and I’ve always read alot about them (I’m 64 and retired). I am and always have been and animal fanatic. So when sweet Gabriella died I couldn’t stand being in my apartment alone and I had too much love to give. Then I went down and adopted Sammi. He is very mellow and sweet and I guess we saved each other. I’m sorry to be rambling but I’m just so glad that I found your blogs and all just to brush up on things cuz I’m so worried something’s going to happen to Sammi. I’ve taken him to the vet and he’s had all his shots but I’m just trying to stay ahead of the game to make sure I’m not missing anything. So thank you for everything and by the way the kitty cat Avery is adorable. Sincerely, Megan
Elise Xavier says
Thank you so much for rambling, this is such a touching story ❤
Pets really do save people, it’s so nice when we mutually save each other. I absolutely cannot imagine life without a cat now (which I wrote about here), and so I have it in my mind that I should always have 3, now that I’ve moved to a house, so that if something happens to one of them, I still have cats in my life, and they still have at least one other companion to comfort them over their loss of a sibling. I feel you about being scared about them getting sick or dying, but it sounds like you did everything you could with the other two, so try to find comfort in the fact that you gave them 8 and 15 (which is very good!) years of a lovely life under your loving care. I’m sure they were ever so thankful for all the time they got to spend with you 🙂
If you’re ever nervous or scared or notice anything strange with Sammi, do leave a comment and let me know and I can do my best to research to see if it’s an issue or no big deal. We pet parents should all do our best to support each other on our quest to keep our pets safe, happy, and healthy; I’ll do whatever I can ❤
And thank you for the compliment on the site and on Avery – he is super adorable, ain’t he? I’m sure Sammi, Gabriella, and Jesse are/were all gorgeous too. 🙂
I adopted my Sami 1 year go. He’s the sweetest little cat and I feel the same as you. I just love him. I just found this site today and it is great. I love everyone’s ideas and suggestions.
My kitty, Cheddar, has the dreaded bladder crystals right now because she refuses to drink water. Poor thing! My husband and I purchased the Catit Flower Fountain about 6 months ago but it still isn’t quite getting the job done. She’s a stubborn one. We’ve tried just about every trick we can think of and nothing has worked until now… I just put some catnip and treats (kibble) in a bowl of water and VOILA! She hasn’t stopped drinking the water and it’s now almost gone. Thanks so much for posting this!!
Elise Xavier says
What a relief! I’m so glad she’s drinking the kibble & catnip flavoured water! Cats can be really tricky about how much they’ll drink, that’s for sure – so glad something finally worked for her 🙂 🙂
How much catnip did you put in the water?
Our cat let’s us know after each meal to turn on the tub. It ran slowly until he was full. Fine with me since every water bowl or fountain was a play toy to him and it would end up everywhere other than in his mouth.
Elise Xavier says
Too funny! I mean if you’re ever in need of a play toy for him I guess you could always pull out the fountain again 😉
Turning on the tap in the tub or the sink and letting a cat drink out of it is an almost guaranteed way to get a cat to drink, I’d think. Should add it as a bonus to the list – thanks for the reminder! 🙂
My cat’s name is Cali. She’s been to the vet three times. She has a UTI and after 10 days of Clavamox she still has it. The vet gave her an antibiotic shot and fluids. She keeps puking. They think she could have an intestinal obstruction but nothing showed on the Xray. she won’t drink and isn’t using the litter box. I tried the cat nip in water and got her to take a few licks. Thank you for the helpful tip.
MalloyBoy is my water holdout….
He did get bladder crystals ! Made a diet change, CD for dry food, and added more can food. I don’t leave dry down anymore… 3 squares a day. (I’m retired, it was hard to do when working.) I can keep check on who’s eating or not. I also use the CD for snack time ! ( They haven’t got wise yet…😼
Elise Xavier says
Using “regular” food/kibble for snacks is exactly what I’ve been doing since I got Avery. I don’t think they care one bit if their treats are different from their staple meals 😉
Good for you for keeping up with it. Makes such a huge difference to keeping kitties healthy.
My MaineCoons love to play with their water bowl. If I think they’re not drinking enough, all I have to do is tap on the bowl and ripple the water and they’re there. They drink , trying to get my finger! Will use their paw to dip in the bowl, and lick the water off…and with 4 “dippers” I do have to change out water very often.
Elise Xavier says
That’s awesome! 🙂 Must be so cute to watch them try to get your finger.
My Avery definitely is a dipper like yours. He’s now spoiled to the point where he expects his water to be changed twice a day, after each meal, and won’t let me forget to do it! Definitely loves fresh water, regardless of whether or not it’s moving.
Thanks for stopping by!