Water is essential for all forms of life, including cats. While they may not drink a lot of water in one go, they do tend to drink their fluids throughout the day. Knowing that your cat is getting enough water is vital as a cat owner because lack of fluids can cause them to be lethargic and may even be a sign of an illness.
How much your cat needs to drink per day is going to be dependent upon their weight, the weather, and if your cat has an illness. In this article, we will explain what you can do to help increase your cat's daily water intake and help you determine how much water does your cat need daily.
Determining Your Cat's Hydration Status
Knowing that your cat is drinking enough water is essential, and there are a few methods to tell if they are getting enough:
Checking the Litter Box
The first method is to check your cat's litter box. Look for clumps of kitty litter and see how many there are at the end of the day. If you don’t see more than three clubs, then your cat may be dehydrated.
Check to see how much physical activity your cat gets per day. Low energy can be a sign that your cat needs more water or that it’s sick.
Check to see if your cat has any dandruff, as this can be a sign of dry skin. If your cat is drinking enough, its coat should be smooth and shiny.
The last method is to check the cuff of their neck and test to see if the skin springs back. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to up your cat's water intake.
Calculating How Much Water Does a Cat Need Daily
Calculating how much water your cat needs is simple, as long as you know how much it weighs. Thus, the first step is to weigh your cat. Once you have the cat's weight in pounds, divide the weight by five pounds. Then, multiply that by four ounces, and the result will be the amount of water your cat needs.
For example, if your cat weighs five pounds, the cat will only need four ounces. If your cat weighs 10 pounds, you divide that by five pounds (10/5), so the result will be two. Multiply it by four ounces (2x4), then, the result, which is eight ounces, will be the amount of water your cat needs throughout the day.
To put it simply, for every five pounds of weight, the cat needs four ounces of water. However, the amount of water needed by your cat may change due to some conditions.
Depending on the diet you feed your cat, they may not need as much water. Feeding your cat wet food will result in your cat drinking less water during the day. The reason for this is that wet food items are around 80% water.
Dry cat food, on the other hand, only contains 10% water, and sometimes the ingredients may make your cat thirsty. In that case, give them more water. To have an idea of the amount of how much water does a cat need daily based on the diet, you can keep the following mind:
- A 10-pound cat needs approximately 261 kcal of energy, which should be supplied by its food.
- Generally speaking, the kcal needs of pets are also equivalent to the amount of fluid needed, in milliliters.
A. Dry Food
That said, for example, if your cat's dry food contains 500 kcal/cup, then your cat would be needing 0.52 cups per day of that food in order for it to get the 261kcal requirement. The formula used is 261kcal/502kcal. Now, since dry food contains 10% water, 0.52 cups of the food means the cat gets 0.052 milliliters of water (0.52 x 0.10).
Since generally, it needs 261 milliliters of water, you need to subtract the water content of the food to that (261-0.0052), giving you 260.94 milliliters. That is the approximate amount of water you need to give your cat.
B. Wet Food
Wet cat food usually contains less amount of calories. So, if the product label states 85 kcal/can, that wouldn't be enough for it to get the caloric requirement. Hence, you would need to give your cat about three cans or 255kcal (85x3) to nearly achieve the calories required.
Since wet food contains 80% water, the three cans would provide your cat with 204 milliliters of water (255x0.80). Since generally, it needs 261 milliliters of water, you need to subtract the water content of the food to that (261-204), giving you 57 milliliters. That is the approximate amount of water you need to give your cat.
Summer temperatures in most areas reach higher than 70 degrees, and if your cat is an outdoor cat, then you’ll want to provide them with enough water throughout the day. Thus, you must add at least two to four ounces (59 to 118 ml) of water to the water derived amount above. Fill the dish and leave it in a place where the cat has access to throughout the day.
The average 10-pound cat needs eight ounces or 261 milliliters of water per day, but if your cat has any health issues such as dehydration, and when it's hot, then you may need to modify the standard given on how much water does a cat need daily. That said, always do the math as well as get your cat checked out by a veterinarian if you feel like it has health issues or illness. From there, they can guide you on what types of food and how much water your cat needs during the day.