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What’s In Your Cat’s Drinking Water?

cats drinking water

Image credit: Pixabay

It’s pretty common knowledge among cat parents that most cats aren’t big water drinkers.  In fact, by nature cats in the wild don’t drink a lot of water because they get most of the water they need from the prey they eat.  Not only is it important that cats get enough water in their diet, it’s also important to consider what’s in your cat’s drinking water.

Hydration is critical for cats

For many reasons it’s super important that cats get enough water in their diet.  According to an article in The Spruce Pets 

“Cats’ body tissues consist of about 67 percent water. Coincidentally, that is approximately the percentage of water in the prey they catch and eat in the wild. In contrast, dry cat food contains around 10% water and canned cat food around 78%. Therefore, a cat on an all-dry food diet would obviously require more supplemental drinking water than a cat on an exclusive raw or canned food diet. Likewise, a cat on a combination of dry and canned cat food also needs more drinking water.

Dr. Jennifer Coates, in an article for, created a formula suggesting that a 10-pound adult cat on a dry food diet needs about a cup of water a day. The same cat on a canned diet needs about a two-thirds cup of water daily.

When cats aren’t sufficiently hydrated it can put a tremendous strain on their kidneys, and this often leads to kidney failure over time.  For this reason, among others, I do not recommend feeding a kibble diet.  A fresh, homemade or commercial raw diet is ideal and offers high levels of hydration.  Feeding a rehydrated freeze-dried or high quality canned diet will also provide good hydration, too.  

Water quality is also important

Finding pure water in today’s age is quite challenging.  Our water supply is polluted with a number of contaminants:  pharmaceutical drugs that people flush down the toilet, pesticides and fertilizers from farming, chlorine and fluoride added to the water by municipalities, microbes (bacteria and viruses), and naturally occurring minerals and metals from the earth. 

Even if your water looks clean and doesn’t have a smell this doesn’t mean it’s pure.  Here is a list of common contaminants found in water, according to the Water Quality Association’s website:

  • Aluminum
  • Ammonia
  • Arsenic
  • Barium
  • Cadmium
  • Chloramine
  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Fluoride
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Lead
  • Nitrites/Nitrates
  • Mercury
  • Perchlorate
  • Radium
  • Selenium
  • Silver
  • Uranium

These pollutants can negatively impact the health of both humans and animals alike, both acutely or chronically.  If found in high enough amounts these can harm the kidneys, thyroid, endocrine system, reproductive system, liver and eyes.  Furthermore, many are linked to cancer.

Cats and drinking water contaminants

Some animals are extremely sensitive to chemicals and other contaminants in the water.  I recently worked with one kitty who had developed extremely itchy skin, and the severity would vary.  Truly miserable, he would scratch himself until he had sores on his body.  After clearing all food and environmental sensitivities using energy medicine he was still showing symptoms. 

After discussing his case with a friend who is a naturopath, she recommended I check the water.  Lo and behold, that was it!  When I finished muscle testing all the possible contaminants where he lived I had a list of everything he was sensitive to:  ammonia nitrogen, phosphorus, nitrite, nitrate, chloramines, and chlorine.  His mom affectionately refers to him as her “canary in the coal mine” now.  Ironically, in the past she has voiced her concern to the local municipality about chemicals added to the water.  It just confirms how even in such small amounts chemicals can still do lots of harm.  

Using the same energy medicine technique I facilitated clearing him of all the chemicals in the water.  This allows his body to stop itching and heal.  I know his mom is quite concerned about contaminants in their water, so she may ultimately take further measures to remove them.

High quality drinking water options for cats

In light of the contaminants in the water supply, how do you provide truly clean water options for you and your pets?  Before spending a ton of money on water filtration systems you may want to find a professional to test your water, and the WQA has this link their website to help you search.  This can be helpful because it will tell you what’s in your water that needs to be removed.  

When selecting a water purification system do the very best you can afford.  Best options will include reverse osmosis, whole home water filtration systems or water softeners, and hydrogen water.  Dr. Karen Becker, DVM, has an excellent article that interviews a hydrogen water expert and also talks about why tap, alkaline, and distilled water are not ideal for pets.  

cat hydration

Using a pet fountain can encourage cats to drink more water.

Getting your cat to drink more water

Cats preferences in water may vary some, but most prefer fresh water as opposed to a bowl that hasn’t been replaced for days.  Therefore, try replacing your cat’s water twice a day if it’s in a bowl.  Other cats prefer running water, which has more oxygen in it, so consider getting a pet fountain.  There are many to choose from on the market, and we have a varied selection in The Boutique for Cats, too.  It may take a few days for your cat to get used to it, so don’t be discouraged if it gets snubbed in the beginning.  My mom bought a fountain for her cat, and at first he just ignored it.  Now he loves it!  Adding extra water to your cat’s wet food is another good way to increase their daily intake.  

If you notice your cat’s water intake increases drastically it could be a sign of kidney failure, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism.  Schedule a visit with your vet to get blood work done right away.




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