Do Cats Need to Drink Water if They Eat Wet Food?

As a cat owner, you might wonder about your furry friend’s water intake, especially if they primarily eat wet food. Understanding the hydration needs of cats is crucial for their health and well-being. This article will delve into whether cats that eat wet food still need to drink water and how to encourage them to stay hydrated.

Understanding Cat Hydration

Cats, by nature, have a low thirst drive. This trait dates back to their ancestors, who lived in arid environments and got most of their moisture from prey. Domestic cats still retain this characteristic, which can sometimes lead to inadequate water intake.

Wet Food and Its Moisture Content

Wet food can be a significant source of water for cats. It typically contains about 70-80% water, which is considerably higher than the 10-12% in dry food. This moisture content can help keep cats hydrated, especially those that are reluctant to drink water.

Do Cats Eating Wet Food Need Additional Water?

Yes, even cats on a wet food diet need access to fresh water. While wet food provides some hydration, it might not meet all their hydration needs. Cats still need to drink water to support their kidney and urinary tract health.

Signs of Dehydration in Cats

It’s important to watch for signs of dehydration, which can include:

Lethargy or decreased energy

Dry mouth and gums

Decreased skin elasticity

Sunken eyes

Decreased appetite

If you notice these signs, it’s essential to consult a veterinarian.

How to Get Cats to Drink More Water

Encouraging cats to drink more water can be challenging, but it’s essential for their health. Here are some tips:

1. Provide Fresh Water Regularly

Change the water in your cat’s bowl at least once a day. Cats prefer fresh, clean water.

2. Use Multiple Water Bowls

Place water bowls in various locations around your home. Some cats may drink more if water is readily available in their favorite spots.

3. Consider a Water Fountain

Many cats prefer running water. A cat water fountain can encourage them to drink more often.

4. Offer Wet Food

Since wet food has high moisture content, it can help increase your cat’s overall water intake.

5. Mix Water with Wet Food

For cats that need extra hydration, consider adding a little water to their wet food.

6. Use Ice Cubes

Some cats enjoy playing with ice cubes, which can also increase their water intake.

7. Flavor the Water

Adding a bit of flavor to the water, like a small amount of low-sodium chicken broth, can make it more appealing.


Cats eating wet food still need to drink water. Ensuring your cat stays adequately hydrated is vital for their health, especially for their kidney and urinary functions. By understanding your cat’s hydration needs and employing strategies to encourage them to drink more water, you can help maintain their health and happiness.