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Home > Cats > Can Cats Drink Smart Water? Vet Approved Nutrition Facts & FAQ

Can Cats Drink Smart Water? Vet Approved Nutrition Facts & FAQ

Can Cats Drink Smart Water

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Karyn Kanowski

Veterinarian, BVSc MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Water is the most essential nutrient on earth, which all living creatures need to survive. That includes cats, of course, and sometimes it seems that cats don’t drink as much water as they should. To help them stay hydrated and healthy, some owners want to give their feline friends Smart Water, a bottled water produced by Coca-Cola.

The question is, can cats safely drink Smart Water? Yes, Smart Water is safe to give to your cat. It contains no artificial flavors, colors, or sodium, but they have added the electrolytes Calcium Chloride (CaCl2), Magnesium Chloride (MgCl2), and Potassium Bicarbonate (KHCO3).


What Is Smart Water?

Smartwater bottle
Smartwater bottle (Image Credit: Benjamin Ikuta, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

Smart Water is a brand of bottled water that has been cleverly marketed by the Coca-Cola company as a healthier, tastier, smarter bottled water. It is vapor-distilled, which means that the water is heated past its boiling point (vaporized), which removes virtually all impurities and minerals.

Regular bottled water, like Evian for example, has been boiled to remove any bacteria or particulates but retains naturally occurring electrolytes and minerals, such as Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium and Bicarbonates.

Through the process of distillation, Smart Water removes all of these as well, to be left with pure H2O. Distilled water is not recommended for human consumption, not because it isn’t safe, but because it lacks nutritional value. What makes Smart Water smart, is that they put some of those electrolytes back in, making it more palatable, and fit for human consumption.

Some might argue that this process seems, well, not that smart, but we’ll leave that up to you to decide.

Are All Types of Smart Water Safe For Cats?

There are a few varieties of Smart Water available:

  • Smart Water Flavor: same as the original, but with natural flavors added. They do not contain any sugar or artificial sweeteners, just natural fruit flavor additives.
  • Smart Water Antioxidant: with added Selenium, a mineral that helps boost immune function. Cats are particularly tolerant to high selenium levels, and the levels contained in this product will have no negative effects on them.
  • Smart Water Alkaline Antioxidant: this one has slightly higher Selenium levels, and has been through an ionization process to raise its pH from 7.0 (neutral) to 9.5. A pH range of 6.5 to 9.5 is generally accepted as safe levels for drinking water, and there is no convincing evidence to suggest that water that is more alkaline has any significant health benefits. It is also not harmful, and has not been found to have any adverse effects on humans or cats.

All variations of Smart Water currently on the market are safe for cats to consume.

Should I Give My Cat Smart Water?

You certainly can give your cat Smart Water, but there is no need for them to have it, unless your water quality is a real problem. Even in this situation, there are several ways to ensure your cat is drinking clean water, without needing to spend $2 a liter.

Some cats might enjoy the taste of Smart Water, even of the flavored varieties, but they don’t really need it (even if Zendaya says so 😉).

white Persian cat drinking from water bowl
Image By: Punyaphat Larpsomboon, Shutterstock

What Type of Water Is Best for Cats?

If we’re talking about what is the best option for your cat, you, and the environment, tap water is the way to go. Unless there are specific contamination or palatability issues with your tap water, if it is fit for human consumption, it is healthy for your cat.

Depending on where you live, your tap water will either be hard or soft.

  • Hard water contains higher levels of Calcium, Magnesium, and Iron, and lower levels of Sodium
  • Soft water contains much lower levels of the above minerals, and has a higher Sodium content.

Some houses install water softeners which essentially exchange the Calcium, Magnesium and Iron for Sodium. Soft water tends to taste better, leave less limescale, and be less damaging to clothes and hair. It is also less nutritious. Both hard and soft water are safe for cats.

Concerns have been raised about the higher mineral levels in hard water having an impact on the development of urine crystals in cats, but there is no scientific data or evidence to support this.

Why Is It Important That Your Cat Drinks Enough Water?

You’ve likely heard the term “stay hydrated.” That goes for cats as well. Water aids in digestion, it helps keep joints lubricated and flush toxins from the system. It keeps blood flowing and oxygen circulating. Without water, animals cannot survive.

bengal cat drinking water
Image By: kalyanby, Shutterstock

What Are the Signs of Dehydration in Cats?

If your cat is moderately to severely dehydrated, you’ll notice these signs:

  • Dry mucous membranes (gums, tongue)
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Sunken eyes
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Skin tenting (their skin loses its elasticity)

If your cat shows any of these signs, contact your vet immediately. Dehydration can occur within 24 hours of a cat not drinking, but it can also occur with conditions like kidney disease, diabetes. Prolonged dehydration can result in organ damage, even death.

Why Do Cats Become Dehydrated?

Cats can become dehydrated for a number of reasons, both internal and external.

  • Weather – hot, dry, and windy conditions increase water loss
  • Activity – more active cats need more water than sedentary ones
  • Gastrointestinal disease – cats can become very dehydrated if they are unable to replace fluid lost through vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Health conditions – kidney disease, diabetes, and hyperthyroidism can all affect a cat’s water needs and loss
  • Diet – cats that eat dry food need to drink a lot more water than cats on a wet food diet, so can become dehydrated more rapidly if they do not have access to water
  • They don’t like the taste, position, or container their water is in.
Cat drinking from ceramic bowl
Image By: Pattysan, Shutterstock

How Can You Persuade Your Cat to Drink More Water?

1. Get Your Cat a Water Fountain

For a cat, flowing water = clean and fresh water. A water fountain also adds an element of interest, which attracts your cat back more often.

2. Location, Location

Cats like to be able to let their guard down when they drink, so make sure you place their bowl in an area that’s out of the way, but where they can still keep an eye on their surroundings. Position the water bowl away from their food and litter box to avoid the risk of contamination.

3. Get The Right Bowl

This might take a bit of trial and error, but the types most favored by cats are wide bowls (to stop their whiskers hitting the sides) that are ceramic or stainless steel. These materials keep the water cooler, and tasting better, than plastic. Having a few different bowls is also a good idea.

Domestic cat sitting on the carpet and drinking milk from bowl in the room at home
Image Credit: AnnaStills, Shutterstock

4. Filter the water

If you have hard water, or the tap water just doesn’t taste great, try offering your cat filtered water. Most cat drinking fountains have filters fitted, which is another reason why they are a great option to keep your kitty hydrated.

5. Keep it Cool and Fresh

Remember to top up/replace your cat’s water at least once a day, more often in warm weather. If it’s a really hot day, use refrigerated water, or pop in some ice cubes.

6. Offer Wet Food

If your cat is on a dry food diet, think about adding some wet food into the mix to boost their hydration. Most wet foods are 70-80% water.

7. Talk to Your Veterinarian

If you’ve optimized your cat’s drinking situation and you’re still worried that they are not getting enough water, a trip to your veterinarian might be warranted. They can tell you if the issue goes deeper than your cat simply not wanting to drink.

man holding cat in vet clinic
Image Credit: VGstockstudio, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Water is essential, and dehydration can be fatal, so ensuring our feline companions are drinking enough water is an important part of taking care of them. There are many ways for us to encourage them to drink more, and there is no harm in offering your cat Smart Water, but it is an expensive option. The above tips will help ensure that you are making water drinking as appealing as possible for your cat.

If you are worried that your cat is still drinking too little, is dehydrated, or is drinking too much, it is important to get them to the vet for a health check.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Smartwater bottle (Benjamin Ikuta, Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0)

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