How to Keep Your Cat Hydrated When Sick

Cats are known for their independent nature and ability to hide symptoms when they’re feeling unwell. When your feline friend is sick, it’s important to ensure they stay hydrated to aid in their recovery. Dehydration can worsen their condition and lead to further health complications. Here are some tips to help keep your cat hydrated when they’re not feeling their best.

1. Encourage Water Consumption: Cats may be less inclined to drink water when they’re sick. Ensure fresh water is readily available by placing multiple water bowls throughout your home. Consider using shallow bowls or wide-mouthed dishes to accommodate your cat’s potential discomfort.

2. Wet Food Diet: If your cat is experiencing a lack of appetite, switch to wet food. Canned food contains higher water content, providing hydration while providing essential nutrients. Warm the food slightly to enhance the aroma and make it more enticing.

3. Flavor the Water: Cats may be more interested in drinking water if it has a pleasant taste. Consider adding a small amount of low-sodium chicken broth or tuna juice to their water bowl. Ensure it’s diluted enough to avoid causing any digestive issues.

4. Use a Pet Water Fountain: Many cats are attracted to running water. Investing in a pet water fountain can encourage them to drink more. The sound and movement of the water are often intriguing to cats, increasing their water intake.

5. Offer Ice Cubes: Some cats enjoy playing with ice cubes and may lick them for hydration. Place a few ice cubes in their water bowl or offer them separately as a fun and refreshing treat.

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6. Syringe Feeding: If your cat refuses to eat or drink, you can try syringe feeding. Consult your veterinarian on appropriate food options and feeding techniques to ensure you’re providing the right nutrients and hydration.

7. Monitor Urine Output: Keep an eye on your cat’s litter box to ensure they’re producing an adequate amount of urine. If you notice a significant decrease, it may be a sign of dehydration. Contact your vet for further guidance.

8. Provide a Calm Environment: Cats can be sensitive to their surroundings when they’re sick. Create a calm and quiet space for them to rest and recover. Reducing stress levels can encourage them to drink and eat more.

9. Regularly Clean Water Bowls: Cats can be finicky about cleanliness. Ensure their water bowls are washed and refilled daily to keep the water fresh and appealing.

10. Seek Veterinary Attention: If your cat’s condition worsens or they refuse to drink for an extended period, it’s crucial to consult a veterinarian. They can diagnose the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment.

11. Consider Subcutaneous Fluids: In severe cases of dehydration or illness, your vet may recommend administering subcutaneous fluids. This procedure involves injecting fluids under the skin to rehydrate your cat. It should be performed by a professional.


1. How can I tell if my cat is dehydrated?
Signs of dehydration in cats include dry gums, sunken eyes, loss of skin elasticity, and lethargy.

2. Can I use electrolyte solutions for my cat’s hydration?
It’s best to consult your vet before using any electrolyte solutions. They can provide guidance on appropriate usage and dosage.

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3. Should I force my cat to drink water?
Forcing your cat to drink water may cause anxiety and stress. It’s better to encourage them through enticing methods and consult your vet for alternative options if needed.

4. Can I use a human electrolyte drink for my cat?
Human electrolyte drinks often contain ingredients that may be harmful to cats. Always consult your veterinarian before administering any human products to your pet.

5. How much water should my cat drink daily?
On average, a cat should consume 3.5-4.5 ounces of water per 5 pounds of body weight. However, this can vary depending on their health, diet, and activity level.

6. Are there any natural remedies to increase my cat’s hydration?
While there are no guaranteed natural remedies, offering wet food, flavoring water, and using pet water fountains can help increase your cat’s water intake.

7. Can dehydration be a symptom of a serious underlying condition?
Yes, dehydration can be a symptom of various underlying health issues such as kidney disease, diabetes, or gastrointestinal problems. Consulting a vet is crucial for proper diagnosis and treatment.

8. Can I mix water with my cat’s food to increase their hydration?
Adding a small amount of water to your cat’s wet food can help increase hydration. However, consult your vet for specific recommendations based on your cat’s health condition.

9. Are there any signs to look for if my cat is drinking enough water?
Monitoring your cat’s urine output is a good indicator. They should be urinating regularly, and the urine should be a pale yellow color.

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10. Can I give my cat ice cream or milk to keep them hydrated?
Milk and ice cream are not suitable alternatives for hydration. Cats are lactose intolerant, and these products can cause digestive issues. Stick to water and wet food instead.

11. Can dehydration be prevented by regularly grooming my cat?
Grooming helps maintain your cat’s overall health, but it alone cannot prevent dehydration. Ensure they have access to fresh water and monitor their drinking habits regularly.

Remember, if your cat is sick and refusing to drink, consult your veterinarian for proper guidance. Prompt attention and adequate hydration can aid in their recovery and overall well-being.