How Long Can Your Cat Go Without Drinking Any Water?

Living things need food and water to live. We can live without eating for days or even weeks as long as we have water to drink.

Water replaces fluids we lose when we sweat or urinate. The body of a cat also functions the same way in this aspect, which is why it’s important to always provide them with potable water.

But what if your cat suddenly stops drinking water?

What if you forgot to refill their bowl with water and you’re out of town for a few days? Will they be able to survive the ordeal?

We’ll be tackling the answers to these questions as you read on.

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Cat’s Natural Ability

The predecessor of our domesticated cats came from hot climates like deserts and savannahs. This is why they can last longer without water compared to other animals. Evolution handed down this trait to domesticated cats, giving them higher chances of survival in situations wherein there’s no potable source of water around.

However, no one can deny the importance of water to living organisms. As a pet owner, it is our responsibility to provide our cats with enough food and water to help them survive.

Their Daily Intake

More food consumed means more waste materials excreted. This means your cat needs more water to replenish lost fluids to keep their body healthy and to help them maintain the right temperature.

Adult cats need as much water as the amount of food they eat. Wet canned foods may contain as much as 80% water while dry treats have only around 10% water content. This means your cat needs to drink more water if you often feed them with dry treats.

Lasting Without Food or Water

Cat food contains ample amounts of vitamins and minerals to satisfy the nutritional needs of your pet. Choosing the right kind and amount of food to give them can affect your cat’s health.

Your cat may forgive you for forgetting to feed them for a day or two. Adult cats can last up to 15 days without any food, provided they have enough supply of potable water.
They can last longer than 15 days without food but they’ll start suffering health problems caused by hunger.

Kidney failure is one of the most common ailments unfed cats experience. Kidney diseases eventually lead to more serious problems that can greatly deteriorate your cat’s health.

Water, on the other hand, is more vital to their body compared to food. Take away water from the equation and your cats will only be able to last up to 4 days. If they’re eating wet food, they may be able to last longer since the product has a good amount of water content.

Other Factors Affecting Their Water Intake

Dehydration of their pets is one of the most common problems pet owners living in tropical countries encounter. The heat of the environment causes pets to sweat more than usual which is why they need more water to replenish lost fluids. If your cat is quite active, they may even need more water for replenishment.

The 4-day threshold for cats to survive without water may be shorter in these hot regions. If they’re suffering from other illnesses that cause them to vomit, expect them to lose more fluid.

The age and health status of your cat have an effect on how long they can last without drinking any water. Healthier cats obviously have higher chances of survival compared to older ones suffering from various complications.

Cats with Hydration Issues

Loss of appetite and sudden changes in their feeding and drinking habits are warning signs that your pets are not getting enough water.

There are cats who don’t drink enough water, resulting in health problems like urinary tract infection (UTI). Observe your cats and see if the water from their water bowl remains on the same level by the end of the day. If this happens to be the case, give them water-based treats with lots of moisture content. These will help them replenish lost fluids even if they don’t drink enough water.

Check also the source of their water and its container. There are cats who like to drink from flowing water while there are those who prefer drinking from a stagnant source. If you’re using the usual water bowl, try changing it for a water fountain and see if there are any changes in their behavior.

Another solution you can try is to give them canned tuna submerged in a small amount of water. Cats love fish and, having their food mixed with water, they’ll be forced to lap on the water too to eat the tuna flakes.

If all of these suggestions don’t work, better take your pet to a veterinary. They may be suffering from a health issue that makes them aversive to water.

In Summary

Pets need water as much as humans do. You may sometimes forget to refill their bowl with water, leaving them thirsty throughout the day you’re out at work. Sure, they can stay alive for a few days but you shouldn’t always bet on this ability of theirs. Any living thing starving from food and water will eventually develop health complications.

Dehydration is a serious matter that should not be taken lightly. Severe forms can shut the organs down as lesser fluid flows into the bloodstream. It can even lead to death, if not long-term health issues.

Always monitor your pet’s water intake and see to it that they’re drinking adequate amounts of water their body needs to function daily. If you see that they’re not drinking enough, try doing some of the solutions we’ve discussed in this article.

Bring them to a veterinarian as soon as you see that none of these simple solutions work.
Water is essential to keep your pet’s cellular functions working properly. It’s even more important than food, no matter how much nutrients they provide as stated in their package. Keep them hydrated to help them always stay healthy and strong.


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