Skip to main content

Tips and Tricks to Get Your Cat to Drink More Water

When my cat was diagnosed with bladder stones, the vet told me I should increase my cat’s hydration to prevent a recurrence.

I purchased this inexpensive pet drinking fountain on Amazon to help increase my cat's water consumption after he was diagnosed with bladder stones.

I purchased this inexpensive pet drinking fountain on Amazon to help increase my cat's water consumption after he was diagnosed with bladder stones.

My Vet Said My Cat Needed More Water

Last year, I noticed my cat had started to urinate outside of his litter box, which was very unusual for him. I also noticed there was some blood in the urine when I was cleaning it up. Alarmed, I took my cat to the vet who diagnosed him with bladder stones. A small surgical procedure was required to remove the stones, and my cat was back to his happy, normal self in no time.

At a follow-up appointment, the vet told me the best way to prevent my cat from getting more stones in his bladder was to increase his water intake. This sounded simple enough, but my cat already had non-stop access to as much water as he wanted to drink. How could I encourage him to drink more? I spoke with the veterinary assistant about this, and also did some research on my own, and I discovered several unique ideas that would get my cat drinking more.

Get That Water Moving With a Fountain

One of the main tips that came up in my research was that cats will almost always drink more from a moving water source instead of standing water.

In practical terms, this means that drinking fountains that keep the liquid circulating tend to be better than water bowls.

There are a wide variety of pet fountains on the market, so the one you pick will depend on your pet’s personal preferences. Most animal fountains have some sort of replaceable filter system to keep the water clean—I recommend buying extra filters at the same time you purchase your fountain so you will have them on hand when cleaning time comes. Keeping the fountain clean is very important. Following the manufacturer’s cleaning and maintenance instructions will ensure your cat always has fresh, pure water they will love to drink.

Switch to Wet Foods and Snacks

An easy way to increase your cat’s overall fluid intake is to switch them from dry foods and snacks to wet ones. Dry food usually contains less than 10% moisture, whereas wet food tends to be made of at least 70% water. Just by switching to wet food, you can dramatically increase the amount of water your cat is regularly consuming.

If your cat has been eating dry food only for a long time, you can ease them into their new diet by mixing small amounts of the new wet food into their dry food. Over time, you can increase the proportion of wet food and reduce the amount of dry food, until they are consuming mostly wet food.

A wide variety of “lickable” cat treats are also available in stores. These treats usually come as pastes that can be squeezed out of individual tubes and can be a great way to get a little extra liquid to your cat each day.

Sneak Extra Water into Their Food

Whether you are feeding your cat wet or dry food, you can add a few tablespoons of water to their food dish along with their food each time you feed them.

My cat enjoys it when I add extra water to his wet food. He likes the “gravy” that the wet food is served in anyway, and by adding some water to it, he gets to lap up more of that yummy gravy he loves so much.

Look into Hydration Supplements

My veterinarian advised me that if I couldn’t get my cat to drink more water on my own, a variety of “hydration supplements” are sold through pet supply stores and pet pharmacies. These supplements contain water along with flavorings and electrolytes designed to entice your pet to drink more than they would if they were served just plain water. I have heard these supplements can work well, but they can also be expensive, costing several dollars per day when served as directed.

Luckily for me, I was able to dramatically increase my cat’s fluid intake with some of these “at-home remedies,” and I didn’t need to purchase any expensive supplements.

My vet told me the best way to monitor my cat’s fluid intake is to keep an eye on his litter box, and I can report seeing a lot more urine clumps in the litter after implementing these ideas, which was the result we were looking for.

My cat is in great health and has not had any more issues with bladder stones since I started actively working on increasing his hydration. If you need to get your cat to drink more water, ask your vet if some of these ideas might also work for you.

Does Your Cat Need to Drink More?

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Jacob McGee