Why Don’t Cats Drink Water and 5 Ways to Encourage Them to Do So

Cats are naturally low water drinkers, but there are many owners who are trying to figure out how to get their kittens to drink water. Kittens have a higher risk of dehydration due to their lower water intake than adult cats, and owners want to do everything they can to ensure they are hydrated. If a kitten continues to not drink water, what steps can be taken to increase their water consumption?

✨ When do kittens start drinking water?

❂ Around 2 months old

Kittens that have started eating solid food by the fourth week after birth mainly rely on their mother’s milk and kitten milk for their nutritional needs, so there is no need to give them water.

Once they enter the weaning period, their diet changes from “milk only” to “water and cat food”. At first, they may not drink much water, but during the weaning period, they still rely on milk, so there is no need to worry about dehydration.

When the kitten reaches 8 weeks (2 months) old, the weaning period ends and the main diet becomes kitten cat food. At this time, the kitten will transition from milk and the daily water supplement will center around “drinking water.”

Since the sale of live animals under 56 days old is prohibited by animal welfare management laws, kittens adopted from pet stores or breeders are already focused on drinking water as a water supplement.

❂ What is the required daily water intake for a kitten?

Just like humans, the feline body consists of more than half water, with kittens containing 60 to 80% water and adult cats containing 50 to 60%.

When a loss of 1 to 2% of this water occurs, mild dehydration such as a dry throat can occur, and when 3 to 9% is lost, symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting may be present. If 10% of the body’s water is lost, heart and kidney function and breathing can become impaired, and in severe cases, death may occur.

Kittens, who are in a vulnerable state during their growth period, are particularly susceptible to water shortages caused by diarrhea and vomiting, so extra care is necessary. The owner should closely monitor the required daily water intake and manage it properly.

The approximate daily water intake required can vary slightly depending on the kitten’s weight and age, but the following are rough estimates:

4 weeks old (weight approximately 400g) … 110ml

8 weeks old (weight approximately 800g) … 170ml

1 year old (weight approximately 4kg) … 380ml

It is important to avoid both inadequate and excessive water intake. Consuming too much water can also lead to diarrhea, so it is important to maintain a balanced water intake.

Water supplementation for kittens is not limited to drinking water directly. Water is also obtained through food, with roughly 10% of dry food and 80% of wet food consisting of water. The required amount of water to drink directly will also vary depending on the food being given. It is important to consider the water content of the food when adjusting the water intake.

✨ Kittens won’t drink water! What are the solutions?

It is important to know the appropriate time for a kitten to start drinking water and the necessary water intake. However, the challenge for the owner is to encourage the kitten to drink water if they are still not weaned from milk or have not developed the habit of drinking water independently.

What are some effective methods to get a kitten to drink water?

❂ Increase the number of water drinking locations

As it is not possible to educate a kitten on the importance of water, the most crucial step is to spark their interest in water.

Since water does not have a flavor or scent like milk, it may be difficult for a kitten to recognize the moisturizing effect. To make them aware of the sensation, set up multiple water sources and try to make them appealing.

By having several containers of water in the kitten’s active area, if they are intrigued by the water surface that ripples from vibrations and approach it with their face, they may touch their nose with the water and start licking it.

Once they start drinking water, they will naturally drink water when they are thirsty or dehydrated. Ensure that there are plenty of water sources available until they can drink water independently.

❂ Consider supplementing water from food sources

If the kitten is not drinking water, consider supplementing their water intake through food sources such as cat food and snacks.

As previously mentioned, wet food, which is one type of cat food, contains approximately 80% water, making it an effective way to increase water intake.

You can try pouring wet food on top of the dry food, feeding it as wet food, or offering liquid snacks.

Wet food contains a higher amount of water compared to dry food, but it should not be relied on solely to fulfill the kitten’s water needs. Instead, it can be seen as a means to increase overall water intake.

There are various types of wet food available, including complete nutrition food, general food, jelly type, and soup type.

It is helpful to find a product that the cat enjoys and will help them consume more water.

However, frequently switching between various products can cause digestive issues and affect the cat’s health.

In addition to monitoring the kitten’s water intake, it is also important to keep a close eye on their overall health.

Wet food tends to linger in the mouth, so taking wet food may trigger the kitten to drink water. Make sure that water is readily available and accessible for the kitten to drink whenever they feel the need.

❂ Consider giving diluted milk

Before weaning, kittens rely mainly on milk as their source of nutrition. Even after weaning, many kittens still have a preference for milk.

If the kitten is not drinking water, offering milk as a source of hydration is acceptable, but make sure to dilute the milk with water.

Continuously giving undiluted milk may cause the kitten to continue not drinking water. When offering hydration through milk, gradually decrease the amount of milk and dilute it with water.

❂ Moisten the kitten’s mouth with water

If the kitten shows no interest in water, the owner can bring water to the kitten’s mouth and moisten it. Moistening the mouth with water may cause the kitten to instinctively lick the water, which could lead to an interest in drinking it.

It is important to be cautious as some kittens may be startled if their mouth is suddenly moistened with water. To avoid unpleasant experiences, moisten the mouth with a clean gauze, towel, tissue, etc. that has been soaked in water.

Another approach is to dampen the end of a towel or gauze and bring it close to the kitten’s mouth, and some kittens may suck on it as if it were a mother’s nipple. This involves the towel or gauze directly touching the inside of the kitten’s mouth, so it is advisable to use a towel that has been boiled and sterilized.

Additionally, you can dampen the tips of your fingers with a drop of water and gently moisten the kitten’s mouth, allowing it to lick the water.

❂ Find a container the kitten likes

The type of container used to offer water to the kitten is also important. It may be helpful to find a container that the kitten likes.

For adult cats, a container with a certain height and a wide mouth is ideal, but for kittens, since their bodies have not grown yet, they do not need a container that is so high, so it is effective to try a container that is easy for the kitten to drink from and fits its body.

If the container is not suitable and the kitten continues to refuse to drink water, try gradually getting the kitten used to drinking water from a syringe or bottle.

✨ Let’s ensure proper water intake!

Getting a kitten to drink water can require a lot of effort from the owner, especially if the kitten is not inclined to drink water.

What additional steps should be taken to ensure proper water intake as the kitten grows?

❂ Keep track of water consumption

It is crucial to monitor the daily water intake of your beloved cat, even for the purpose of maintaining their health.

There is an ideal amount of water intake for kittens, and consuming too much or too little water can result in diarrhea and vomiting or dehydration, respectively. Therefore, it is important to keep track of their daily water consumption to achieve the appropriate amount of water intake.

❂ Maintain cleanliness

If you have multiple water sources available for the kitten to drink from, ensure that all of the water is kept clean.

Kittens are not yet skilled at drinking water, so they may put their front legs and face into the water, making it dirty.

Water that has been touched even once can easily harbor bacteria, so it is important to frequently replace the water with fresh water and maintain a clean environment.

✨ Conclusion

Cats do not drink a lot of water, and many kittens do not show interest in drinking water at all.

Cats have a body function that allows them to survive with limited water intake, but they need to be cautious of specific cat diseases and not go without drinking any water. It is preferable for them to drink water on their own, if possible.

If the water intake is inadequate, the amount of excretion will decrease, putting a strain on the body. In the summer, the body temperature cannot be regulated, and metabolism decreases due to poor blood flow, which can also be a result of insufficient water intake.

Therefore, it is important for cats to drink water, but it is also important for the owner to manage their water intake based on their age and weight, as consuming too much water can also put a strain on the body.

Teaching the importance of water intake to growing kittens may be challenging, but if your beloved cat does not drink water, do not hesitate to seek the advice of a veterinarian and work together to find a solution.

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