How Long Can Cats Go Without Water? How Much Water Should Cats Drink?

How long can a cat go without water?

As with basically all animals, cats require food and water every day.

They won’t die if they miss eating and drinking for a day or two, but for the sake of their health, they shouldn’t be underfed or underwatered on purpose – preparation for surgery being one obvious exception.

Most people are asking how long a cat can go without water because they:

  • Are going to spend an extra day on holiday somewhere
  • Are unable to get home for other reasons
  • They fear their cat is trapped in a shed

Whatever your reason, here’s how long cats can go without access to water.

How Long Can A Cat Go Without Water?

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How long can a cat live without water?

I remember years ago our poor cat Muffin was accidentally locked in a neighbor’s garden shed – we estimate that she was in there for at least 3 or 4 days.

She came out visibly thinner and bedraggled, but she survived.

So if you’re asking ‘how long can a cat survive locked in a shed?‘ know that under the best conditions for survival, they should have a few days.

However, it will depend on the conditions.

My cat was trapped in a cool dark shed for days without water, but if it had been a hot sunny glasshouse, there’s no doubt she would have died.

Needless to say, we didn’t get many cat kisses for a while after that!

How Long Can Cats Be Trapped Without Water

Factors that will determine how long your cat will survive without water:

  1. Temperature
  2. Whether or not there is a shelter
  3. How healthy the cat is
  4. When and how much water the cat last drank
  5. The age of the cat
  6. The cat’s breed and heritage
  7. Overall stress tolerance of the individual cat

So you see, each cat will have a different suitability time with water.

However, we can say that it is anything from a couple of days in the worst conditions, up to 2 whole weeks in the best conditions.

And as with humans, water is more important than food for cats.

If a cat is deprived of water for too long, even though it may survive there could be irreparable damage done to the cat’s organs and bodily processes.

In the video above, you will learn that the owner of a cat rescue center passed away with many cats in her care.

These cats were without water and food for up to 2 weeks. Some of the cats died or had to be put down due to their bad condition, whereas others survived the ordeal and were rehomed.

And if you were wondering how long a kitten can go without water, then it’s generally even shorter than an adult cat. A kitten is more susceptible to becoming dehydrated and dying through thirst.

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How Long Can A Sick Cat Go Without Water?

how long can cats go without food and water

Healthy cats will be able to survive longer and have better outcomes than a cat that is already malnourished or ill. Giving them high quality cat food will give them the best chance, and avoid any toxic and harmful cat food.

This ensures that they are strong and healthy if they do ever become trapped in a situation where they have to go without water or food for some time.

The other factor is age. An old cat may not fare as well as a younger, stronger cat. However, that’s not to say some old cats won’t put up a fight for survival, because they will!

Dehydrated Cats

If you suspect your cat is dehydrated it’s best to take her straight to the vet.

In some locations, you could even book a home vet visit with The Vets, which means no pet carriers, waiting rooms, and undue stress on your cat.

They can get her sorted out with electrolytes and/or other methods to get her feeling better.

Also, cat pet parents can benefit from Online Vet Help with 24/7 on-call veterinarians ready to resolve your concerns on various pet health issues like general pet health, nutrition, behavioral issues, and many more.

The ease of the service in chatting from your mobile without having to make an appointment in a vet clinic and wait in huge lines just to know that your pet is okay and you need to monitor the situation.

It may be that she has a medical condition, such as diabetes or kidney failure, that is causing dehydration or a lack of desire to drink water.

Cats generally prefer to get fluids from their foods, and some cat foods will have higher water content for just that reason.

Good wet cat food will help your puss to hydrate and mean she will drink less from a water bowl. Also, you can check out the cat water fountains we linked in the table above. These can also encourage cats to drink more water.

How To Get A Cat To Drink More

There are a few things you can do to get your cat drinking more frequently or simply consuming more water.

This video from our friends at Our Pets Health has 10 great tips.

Here are the tips for getting cats to drink more water:

  1. Switch from dry cat food to wet cat food
  2. Refresh your cat’s water and clean bowl regularly (even every day)
  3. Change the type of water you are using – try filtered water or rainwater
  4. Add some flavor such as tuna juice or boiled chicken water
  5. Change the type of water bowl – for example, from plastic to glass
  6. Try running water by using a pet water drinking fountain
  7. Add a small amount of water to their food
  8. Change the location of their water bowl, or add new extra locations
  9. Increase the number of meals they have which may lead to them drinking more water
  10. After a vet consultation give cats water under the skin

Many cats will also prefer a drinking fountain over a bowl of water. They all look pretty stylish and are a way of serving pure clean water to your cat or kitten.

These tips on how to hydrate a dog are also mostly applicable to hydrating cats. The main thing is to simply provide them with clean fresh water each day and ensure they have complete access to it.

How Long Can A Cat Survive Without Water?

So, how long can a cat survive without water?

Not long!

For best outcomes, you don’t want your cat going more than a day or two without drinking water.

However, your cat will likely come out unscathed if they go 3 or 4 days without water (assuming they are in a cool dark space).

Anything beyond 4 days and your cat will start to suffer the consequences of dehydration.

It’s even more important that pregnant female cats and/or kittens also have unlimited access to water and not be left without it at all. They can have long-term damage done to them by becoming dehydrated.

Thanks for visiting – please drop any comments or questions down below!

1 thought on “How Long Can Cats Go Without Water? How Much Water Should Cats Drink?”

  1. I have a cute cat named Bi, he is over 2 years old. Every day he eats very well but last night when I fed him he didn’t seem to care much about the food. When I woke up this morning I found the food there and drank some water. I was quite worried about why it was so boring. As far as I know, cats shouldn’t go hungry for more than 24 hours, I think as my cat was a bit picky about food I cooked him a pie and he ate it and it was delicious.


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