Do Cats Drink Less Water in the Winter?

Cats generally drink enough amount of water to keep them hydrated throughout the day, but they drink less water during winter. Why could this be?

Cats adjust their water drink just enough to replenish them in the winter, and more in the summer to combat the heat.

A well-hydrated cat is a healthy cat. How can we make sure our cats drink enough and how much do they need?

Do Cats Get Dehydrated in Winter?

No matter the weather, cats need to be hydrated all-year round. In the winter, cats appear to drink less because of the cool weather but are still at risk of dehydration.

When they don’t drink as much, add moisture to their food. Wet food contains water content for your cat’s needs. You can add water to kibble but don’t leave it for more than half an hour.

Read: Where Can to Declaw Cat for Free?

Can Cats Drink Tap Water in the Winter?

Cats can get picky with their water. Make sure that the tap water in your area is potable for human consumption and it should be good for your cat as well.

In the winter, tap water gets colder and your feline friend might not prefer that. Cats that drink from tap water during winter won’t contract an illness so long as it’s potable. How can you know? You can look up your local utility online by state or ZIP code.

How Often Should You Give a Cat Water?

Cats need water every day. It should be ready at all times when they want it, even if they haven’t moved a lot. Their water should be ready before and after a meal to aid in digestion of food.

Stagnant water in bowls should be replaced every five hours or whenever it has been emptied halfway. Dust gathers on the surface of still water when left exposed and unchanged for the entire day.

Better yet, invest on special cat bowls that filtrates and moves the water around to keep it fresh for your cat. Petmate Replendish Waterer is a good page to start scrolling.

Read: Why Having a Cat Helps You Reduce Stress and Anxiety?

How Do I Get My Cat to Drink More Water?

  • Place your cat’s water in the same place it likes to eat. Don’t put it in areas of the house where there’s foot traffic.
  • Keep replacing the water every five hours or less. Some cats are picky and like their water fresh and cool. This is applicable for still drinking bowls.
  • Have multiple water bowls. Place it in different areas of the house.
  • Experiment with your cat’s preferred water bowl. As we all know, cats are picky and may prefer glass, ceramic, and stainless steel. Certain colors could also pique their interest.
  • Consider buying water fountains. Veterinarians recommend water fountains as cats prefer to drink running water.

How Much Water Does a Cat Need?

Dr. Pete Wedderburn states that a cat should consume 60ml per kilogram of body weight per day. The average mass of domesticated cats is 5 kilograms, and when multiplied by 60, a cat weighing 5 kilograms should be consuming 300 ml or 10 ounces of water a day.

Although water is a need, anything in excess isn’t good. Your cat shouldn’t be drinking more than a 100 ml per kilogram body weight.

Read: Why Do People Love Their Bengal Cats So Much?

Is My Cat Drinking Too Much Water?

When the temperature inside the house resembles the summer heat, your cat drinks more water to stay cool. So in winter time, they tend to drink less.

They drink a lot more water when they eat a lot. When they constantly eat dry food, it requires a good amount of hydration to push it down the throat.

Diarrhea, vomiting, and other sickness causes your cat to go thirsty too. Excessive drinking paired with changes of appetite, energy, and sleeping patter is also a symptom of kidney disease and urinary track disease.

Is your cat still healthy and as active? Observe their behavior and any changes in their appetite, energy, and sleeping patterns, but if they’re still as fit as can be, then your cat just loves water.

Do Cats Prefer Cold or Lukewarm Water?

Cats like to drink more when the water is cool. It tastes fresh and clean for them. However, ice water is entirely different, and although it isn’t bad, it shouldn’t be given to them daily. Cats have a similar feeling to “brain freeze” and it’s painful for them.

On the other hand, some cats like to drink lukewarm water, usually on colder days like winter. Cats have a high body temperature between 37.2 and 39.2 degree Celsius or 99 and 102.5 Fahrenheit, so drinking cool water feels refreshing.

Read: What Makes Bengal Cats So Special?

What Are the Signs of Dehydration in Cats?

  • Pale and dry gums.
  • Sunken eyes.
  • Loss of energy or lethargy.
  • Skin snaps back in place when pinched.

Your cat’s gums should be wet and pinkish. With pinching the skin, it usually applies to younger cats. Pinch a portion of skin on their shoulders and if it slowly returns, your cat is likely dehydrated. For severe cases, bring it immediately to your veterinarian’s attention.

Why Is My Cat Suddenly Drinking Less?

Cats like to drink cool and fresh water. Check to see if the water you had set up feels warm or has gathered a thin layer of dust on top.

However, if your cat started to drink less for more than three days and is showing symptoms of dehydration, it could be an underlying health condition or an injury.

When your cat absolutely refuses to drink water, it’s dangerous to attempt it yourself with a syringe as the water could travel down the airway instead. Leave it to your veterinarian as they should know what to do.

Read: The Role of a Scratching Post in Maintaining Your Cat’s Nails and Claw Health

What Flavor Can I Add to My Cat’s Water?

Adding a few drops of tuna juice adds flavor to the water. The smell is aromatic to cats and it entices them to have a taste.

Aside from tuna juice, you can also try chicken or beef broth to see if your cat would prefer that. Don’t add coffee or carbonated juice to your cat’s water. It only serves to irritate their bowels and can cause diarrhea.


Cats know how much they need to drink. During colder days like in winter time, cats appear to drink less. Water refreshes and cools their body and they are less likely to drink more water when it’s as cold as the weather.

In the winter, make sure to give your cats water that is cool enough for their liking but isn’t too warm. Replenish the water bowl as often as possible to encourage them to drink more and keep it out of foot traffic.