Can A Cat Go 12 Hours Without Water? Here’s What Experts Say





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Robert Taylor

While cats are relatively curious, they are also finicky. You will notice that they may sometimes refuse to drink.

These animals are interested in exploring everything around them and want to try anything, including water. 

If they don’t drink for a while, something wrong may happen. Can a cat go 12 hours without water?

It’s time to dive into this article to get in-depth explanations. From that, you can find practical solutions to address the issue!

Can A Cat Go 12 Hours Without Water?

The answer is yes! Most adult cats can go for 2 – 3 days without drinking water. However, they will get dehydrated during this period.

This is how long Cats can survive without Food & Water!

How Much Water Do Your Cats Need?

Most felines require 3 to 4.5 oz of water for every five pounds of their body weight every day. 

For instance, if your pets weigh around 10 pounds, they need approximately one cup of water daily.

However, don’t worry if your cats can’t finish this amount of water daily. They can obtain moisture from wet food containing at least 80% water. 

Related Post: What Can Cats Drink?

Why Do Your Cats Hate Drinking Water?

The following are a few causes for your cats to avoid drinking water:

Wet foods

As shared above, wet foods contain at least 80% water, and your pets can get moisture from them.

If you feed your four-legged friends wet foods every day, they can get water from their daily diet and refuse to drink water. 

Activity Level

If your kittens are inactive, they don’t use much energy and sweat. Thus, they don’t have to drink much water during the day. 

Old age

Most elderly pets don’t want to drink the water due to their inactive thirst receptacles.

Moreover, these animals don’t have many physical activities, so they rarely feel thirsty. 


When it’s chilly outside, your cat will likely go a whole day without drinking water.

Water temperature

The water you provide your cats shouldn’t be too cold or hot. Otherwise, it may cause their teeth pain, and they avoid sipping water.

Oral injury

If your fur babies have a wound in their mouth, they may not consume enough water.

The oral injury may make them painful. Moreover, drinking water may inflict more discomfort.

The amount of water cats need
The amount of water cats need

What Happens If A Cat Doesn’t Drink Water? 

While your cats can tolerate the thirst within 2 – 3 days, they may show dehydration signs after this period. 

In all animals, dehydration is among the dangerous conditions. If your fur babies don’t drink water for over three days, you must keep an eye out for dehydration symptoms:

Loose Skin

Skin tenting is among the telltale indications of dehydration. When you pinch their skin, it pulls up and doesn’t immediately retract.


If you notice your pets don’t drink and start showing signs of lethargy, they suffer from dehydration. 

When your cats are weak because of dehydration, they will refuse their food because they lose their appetite.

Sunken Eyes

Like humans, cats not drinking enough water often develop sunken eyes. Your kittens will have duller-looking eyes.

Higher Heart Rate

Your cats’ heart rate will increase as their body tries to deal with the dehydration, and they will begin to pant.

Your pet’s increasing heart rate might cause cardiac arrest if this condition doesn’t stop.

Signs of pet dehydration
Signs of pet dehydration

Related Post: Do You Add Water To Freeze-Dried Cat Food?

What To Do To Get A Cat To Drink More? 

Have your kitties refused water for several hours? Let’s try the following tips to make them drink normally!

Well here are my top tips for how to get your cat to drink more water:

Use More Bowls

Cats often roam around your house. If you provide more water bowls, they may want to drink. 

Moreover, your pets may prefer to sip water from the same bowl used for food. You can use different bowls to meet their needs.

Use more bowls
Use more bowls

Use Water Fountains

Cats are interested in running water. They can spend hours watching, playing, or drinking the water running from your kitchen sink.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to use water fountains. You will realize that your four-legged friends will love running water and drink more regularly. 

If you consider these products, watch this video for some recommendations:

Clean The Bowl Often

Cats have a cleaning and cleanliness obsession. Kittens may avoid the water and refuse to drink from their bowls if they are unclean.

For this reason, you must wash the water bowls often, clean the fountains, and change the water. 

This way, your pets will be happy and comfortable drinking the water from these containers. 

Use A Lot Of Water

The water bowls should be full. If you use fountains, fill them up with water. 

Cats don’t mess with their water bowls because of their whiskers. Moreover, more water will attract them to the drinking fountains.

Fill up the bowls with water
Fill up the bowls with water

Complement Water Intake

As shared earlier, your pets can take in the water from their daily food, especially wet foods, because they contain higher moisture content.

Thus, providing them with a daily wet diet is better if your kitties don’t drink very often. It will help them to obtain the moisture they require to live healthily. 

Improve Water Quality

Tap water may not be suitable for your cats. They will refuse this option due to its chlorinated substances and terrible taste.

Instead, you can provide bottled water for your fur babies, encouraging them to consume water more regularly. 

Flavor Water

If your pets don’t like the taste of the water, you can add tuna or bone broth to their bowls to help them drink more.

Flavor the water
Flavor the water

In A Nutshell

Can a cat go 12 hours without water? The answer is yes! These animals can tolerate thirst for 2 – 3 days.

However, don’t let your pets be too thirsty. Even when they don’t want to drink, find ways to encourage them to sip water to avoid dehydration. 

We’ve mentioned some tips to get your kittens to drink more regularly. Hopefully, these tricks will work. Thanks for reading!


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Robert Taylor

I love cats, I have more than 10 years of experience in raising cats. I want to share with everyone useful knowledge about cats.

Robert Taylor

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