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Is Your Cat Getting Enough Water From Dry Food?

Updated on February 1, 2015

Water Requirements for an Adult Cat

Cats need between 70-80% water in their diet. An adult cat weighing ten pounds needs about one cup of water a day. Dry food contains 10% water, while can food contains about 78% water {moisture}.


Is Dry Food Enough?

Many cat owners feed their cats strictly a dry food diet. They don't realize that just feeding dry food can cause a lack of moisture in their cat's diet. They, like myself, have always thought that if a cat needed more water to drink, then it would just drink more out of its water bowl. But that is not the case. Cats get their water mostly from their food. Not getting enough water could become a problem, maybe not in your cat's younger years, but overtime as they get older. This can lead to problems such as dehydration, urinary tract infections and stress on your cat's kidneys. Some of the symptoms of dehydration are pale, tacky {slightly sticky} gums, low energy and less elasticity in skin. To check for skin elasticity in your cat pull back on your cat's skin. If it doesn't pop back to its normal position immediately then your cat may be dehydrated.

Urinary tract infections are very common in cats. Symptoms of urinary tract infection are excessive urinating, but producing small amounts of urine, urinating outside of the litter box, smelly and bloody urine, fever, and listlessness. Please see your vet immediately if your cat has any of these symptoms! Please understand that not every cat will develop problems from eating dry cat food, but wouldn't you rather be safe than sorry?


Video by Dr. Eric Dougherty, DVM

When Does A Cat Drink More?

With increased activity

In the summer months when it's warmer.

When your cat has hyperthyroidism, diabetes, urinary tract infections, and kidney failure.

What you can do

It would benefit your cat if you add more water to its diet, especially if they live on dry food only, or better yet, add can food to its diet. I give my cat a combination of both dry and can. If you want to transition your cat to can food you will have to do it over a period of weeks. You can add water to its can food, but it is not a good idea to add water to dry food because it ends up with more bacteria than before.

Other ideas: How about making chicken or tuna flavored popsicles for your cat? Or making your own homemade cat treats with added moisture? Also, cranberry juice {unsweetened} added to a cat's diet has been known to prevent urinary tract problems. Add a few drops to cat's food or water. Another great product that helps support urinary health is Animals' Apawthecary-Tinkle Tonic. It's a herbal tincture that contains couchgrass root, dandelion root & leaf, echinacea root & herb and marshmallow root.


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    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      3 years ago from Oklahoma

      Had never thought about hydration in cat food. Interesting analysis.


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