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How Long Can a Cat Stay Without Eating and Drinking Water?

cat drink water pic

We often wonder how long can a cat go without water or even how long can a cat go without food? Either way Cats, like almost all other animal species, including humans, are physically unable to go without food for more than three weeks or not drink water for more than three days.

But this average is applicable to adult and healthy cats, since the time that a cat can remain without eating will depend on the age of the specimen as well as on its state of health. For example, if you wonder how long a kitten can stay without eating, you should know that it can never last several weeks. These babies die within a few hours if their milk intake is interrupted. This is why if you come across a litter of abandoned kittens, you must bring them as soon as possible to the veterinarian in order to initiate the artificial feeding process as quickly as possible. 

Although survival without food is possible, food is completely compromised in the absence of water. A cat cannot stay for more than three days without drinking water. Of course, this data must be placed in an extreme context, when a cat is abandoned or when it is stuck in a place. If your cat refuses to eat completely or has not been drinking for 24 hours, contacting your veterinarian is essential. It is a sure symptom of physical or psychological illness.

cat drink water

How Long can a Cat Survive Without Water?

As we have said, a cat can only survive a few days without drinking. The fact is, that after struggling, every organ in your cat’s body needs water. The organs, dehydrated, to try to stay active will go to get the necessary water from other parts of the body, thus starting a process of decay of the whole organism. However, the organism has an intelligent way of making organs die based on their importance. First, it makes the kidneys and stomach go out of order, being dehydrated, they are seen as ” useless “. Even if your cat survives, severe trauma may persist which would not allow the body to function properly. After that, if hunger and dehydration continue, the body will also send the brain and heart out of order.

How Much Water do Cats Need?

There are several things you should know before adopting a cat, things like how much water your cat needs in addition to food and what determines such. Bodyweight is the most important factor.

There are two ways to estimate how much your cat needs:

  • 44 to 66 ml per kilo body weight 
  • Just as much ml of fluid as the number of kcal 

In addition, issues such as lactation, ambient temperature, health, water loss in stool and urine, and individual differences play a role.

How much water cats have to drink depends in part on what kind of food they receive: on dry kibble they have to drink considerably more than when they get moist food (wet food, raw food). For an average cat of 4 kilos, this amounts to 176 to 264 ml. For convenience, it often holds 55 ml per kilo of bodyweight, which is 220 ml per day.

How Much Water Does a Cat Drink?

Normally a cat doesn’t drink much. Their thirst reflex is therefore very low: they are less likely to get a thirst stimulus. Moreover, they do not drink so well due to physical properties.

We humans have cheeks and lips to suck in water. Dogs use their long and wide tongue to stick in the water. Then they bend their tongue backward like a sort of bowl. Cats only touch the surface of the water. Then they also fold their tongues backward but don’t seem to make such a beautiful bowl very well. As a result, there is less water contact, so the cat only gets a few drops at a time.

Water, Essential for the Good Health of the Cat

Even if the cat is not a heavy drinker, he must be able to hydrate himself to meet the needs of his organism. These vary depending on:

  • About his age,
  • From the surrounding temperature,
  • From his activity,
  • From his diet, knowing that a cat that eats mainly kibbles must drink more than a cat fed with wet food (meats, etc.) or from dishes prepared at home.

It should also be noted that a nursing cat should drink more than usual.

On average, daily water consumption for an adult cat is between 40 and 60 ml per kilo. Thus, a 4 kg cat should drink at least 160 ml of water per day. This quantity increases in summer when temperatures are high but also in winter if he lives in an overheated house. In these specific cases, the little feline can consume well over 200 ml of water in a day.

Be careful not to give milk to your adult cat. The animal is not able to digest lactose. If you replace water with milk, it is seriously exposed to the risk of diarrhea. The cat must indeed drink water because it alone can maintain a sufficient level of body hydration.

What Type of Water to Give Your Cat?

By nature, the cat tends not to drink much. He needs good quality water, the taste of which should suit him. If you find that he is not drinking enough, you should start by changing the water. Let’s not forget that the waters have very different tastes. Tap water is perfectly suited for cats unless it smells a little too much of chemicals. Likewise, mineral or spring water may be quite suitable for it, but watch out for those with a fairly marked foam taste.

You can give any type of water to your cat (tap, spring, mineral) with the exception of water very rich in mineral salts because the twink is very sensitive to urinary stones.

How to Tell If a Cat is Drinking Enough Water

The cat’s organism is made up of almost 70% water. It is therefore very important to do everything possible so that he drinks enough every day. However, this pet is normally not particularly thirsty, so it may not get enough hydration. The guardian has every interest in ensuring that his little companion has taken the dose of water that is essential for him. This quantity corresponds at least to a small glass.

Ideally, we pour the water into a graduated bowl so that we can monitor its consumption throughout the day.

My Cat Is Not Drinking Enough: The Signs That Should Alert

It is easy enough for a cat owner to know if the animal is short of water. The main signs to spot are:

  • A dull and / or shaggy coat,
  • White skin on the eye,
  • A fold on the skin that does not return after a pinch.

These main signs of dehydration gives the answer to how long can a cat go without water and also justify an emergency consultation with the veterinarian.