As with most 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 their best health and well-being, this should almost never be allowed to happen.
I remember years ago our poor cat was accidentally locked in a neighbor’s shed. We estimate she was in there for at least 3 days. She came out visibly thinner and bedraggled, but she survived.
It’s going to depend on the conditions. For example, my cat was trapped in a cool dark shed for days without water, but if it had been a hot sunny glasshouse, no doubt she would have perished. Needless to say, we didn’t get many cat licks for a while after that!
Factors that will determine how long your cat will survive without water:
whether or not there is a shelter
how healthy the cat is
when and how much water the cat last drank
the age of the cat
the cat’s breed and heritage
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. As with humans, water is more important than food for cats.
If a cat is deprived of water for too long though, 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.
How long can a sick cat go without water?
Healthy cats will last longer and come out better off than a cat that is already malnourished or ill. Giving the best food for kittens or cats will ensure that they are strong and healthy if, god forbid, they do ever become trapped in a situation where they have to go without water or food for some time.
If you suspect your cat is dehydrated it’s best to take her straight to the vet.
They can get her sorted out with electrolytes and/or other methods to get her feeling better. 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.
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.
While cats don’t need to drink a whole lot of water, here are 10 tips for getting them to consume a bit more!
Switch from dry cat food to wet cat food
Refresh your cat’s water and clean bowl regularly (even every day)
Change the type of water you are using – try filtered water or rainwater
Add some flavor such as tuna juice or boiled chicken water
Change the type of water bowl – for example, from plastic to glass
Try running water by using a pet water drinking fountain
Add a small amount of water to their food
Change the location of their water bowl, or add new extra locations
Increase the number of meals they have which may lead to them drinking more water
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). However, 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. Pregnant cats or kittens can have long-term damage done to them by becoming dehydrated.
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