How Long Can A Cat Go Without Water? Learn All About Dehydration In Cats

The average cat can survive three to four days without water.

The longer they go without water the more dehydrated they will get, this can lead to serious health complications and eventually death.

However in some cases cats have been known to survive well over a week without water.

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Feeding and giving water to a cat is easy since all you have to do is keep food and water available and your cat will eat or drink when it feels like it.

But have you ever wondered how long a cat can go without water?

While you wouldn’t want to test this out on your own cat, it can be quite a head-scratcher.

For whatever reason, if you are curious about how long a cat can go without water, read on for more information about how to care for your pet better.

How much water do cats need?

Usually, you just leave a bowl of water out for your cat, and it will drink whenever it’s thirsty. But do you know how much water your cat actually needs? A cat’s water intake depends on a number of factors.

However, you can know if it’s getting enough water by observing your cat and looking for some signs. Below is a list of useful information regarding needed water intake for cats:

  • The water requirement of a cat depends mainly on its size – smaller or younger cats require less water than bigger or older cats.
  • The food you feed to your cat is also a factor. (Read our article on how long cats can go without food) If your cat eats only dry cat food, it needs more water. However, if you feed your cat wet or canned cat food, which is about 80% water, it needs less to drink.
  • On average, a cat needs to drink 2-4 ounces of water on top of the food it eats.
  • You know your cat is getting enough water if its skin is elastic and its coat is shiny and free of dryness and flakes.
  • Your cat is active and does not sleep all the time.
  • Your cat urinates regularly.

Now that you know how much water your cat needs, let’s move on and find out what happens when your cat doesn’t drink enough water. After that, we will discuss how long can cats go without drinking water.

What happens when a cat doesn’t drink water?

Just like you and me, your cat needs to drink enough water to keep it healthy and active. Drinking too little water may have negative effects on your cat’s health and behaviour.

This, in turn, can cause you frustration, especially if you don’t know what to do when it happens.

  • Your cat may become dehydrated. This happens when your cat doesn’t drink enough water but keeps active and urinates frequently. Losing a lot of fluids and minerals in them can have a detrimental effect on your cat’s health.
  • When your pet gets too dehydrated, your cat might have constipation, vomiting, dry gums or a quick heart rate.
  • Your cat may end up being lethargic and moody when it gets dehydrated.
  • A cat that is dehydrated may pant frequently.
Your cat may be lethargic if it gets dehydrated

How long can cats go without water?

When we have a pet, we try our best to give it love, affection and fulfil its basic needs, such as food and water. But what happens when you accidentally lock your kitty inside the house along with the house key?

Or worse, you go out of town and forget to leave adequate food and water for your cat? How long can a cat go without drinking water? Would it perish within a day or can you leave it for a week, confident that you’d come home to a happy, albeit very thirsty, cat?

In fact, an average house cat can only survive for a few days without water.

As long as your pet has a water source available in your house, your cat will be able to survive, even if you forget to leave food for it. However, without water, you cat will most likely die within a week because water is much more essential to their health than food.

Without water, a cat will experience hepatic failure and its muscle mass will catabolize, causing a slow and painful death for your poor pet.

Rarely do house cats survive being left without water so it would be wise to leave your cat with an ample supply of accessible food and water when leaving your cat home alone.

What you should do?

Now that you know how long a cat can go without water, it would also be helpful to know what you should do in the event that you accidentally leave your cat at home without access to water for a few days or if your cat is not drinking for some unknown reason. When you get home, you will likely be met by a dehydrated and angry cat so here are a few things you can do to rectify the situation and treat your cat:

  • If your cat is mildly dehydrated, give it little quantities of Pedialyte every 10 minutes, for about an hour. Make sure that your cat is drinking the liquid well.
  • After that, add warm water to its cat food and use a dropper to feed it to your cat.
  • Alternate giving your cat Pedialyte and diluted cat food throughout the day until it seems strong enough to eat independently.
  • If your cat vomits the food, allow it to lick ice chips throughout the day.
  • To encourage your cat to drink regularly consider trying a cat water fountain.
  • For severe cases of dehydration, take your cat to the vet.

Conclusion – Watch your cat’s water intake

Having a pet cat at home entails a lot of responsibility. However, as long as you feed and care for your pet at home, you won’t have any problems. Knowing how long a cat can go without water will be able to help you plan your vacations when you are out of town.

Keep in mind that water is essential to your cat’s survival so keep your cat hydrated and watch out for even the earliest signs of dehydration to ensure that your cat is healthy and happy!


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