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Home > Cats > How Often to Change Cat Water: Vet Approved Advice

How Often to Change Cat Water: Vet Approved Advice

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Dr. Chyrle Bonk

Veterinarian, DVM

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

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Keeping your cat hydrated is essential to their health, especially during warmer weather. However, many cats don’t drink a lot of water, causing many owners to wonder how frequently they need to change it. The short answer is that you should change your cat’s water at least once daily, but keep reading as we discuss the best bowlpractices, hydration issues, and other things that can affect this frequency.


Why Is Hydration Important for Cats?

Maintaining Organ Function

Water is essential for nearly every physiological process in a cat’s body, including digestion, circulation, temperature regulation, and waste elimination. Without enough water, a cat’s organs and systems can’t function properly, and health problems can arise.

cat water fountain
Image Credit: Vershinin89, Shutterstock

Preventing Urinary Tract Issues

Cats can be prone to urinary tract infections and urinary stones. A well-hydrated cat is less likely to develop these issues, as regular urination helps flush out the urinary tract.

Supporting Overall Health

Proper hydration contributes to a cat’s overall health and well-being. It helps maintain healthy skin and coat, supports joint function, and ensures that the cat’s body can repair and regenerate cells efficiently.

Gray kitten drinking water from a bowl
Image Credit: Pshenina_m, Shutterstock

divider-catFactors Affecting How Frequently You Need to Change Your Cat’s Water

Temperature and Climate

The temperature and climate are the biggest factors affecting how often you need to change your cat’s water. Warm, dry weather can cause water to evaporate quickly. Higher temperatures will also enable bacteria to reproduce faster. Therefore, if you live in a warm region, you may need to change your cat’s water more often to ensure that it remains fresh.

Water Quality

The quality of the water that you provide matters. If tap water has an unpleasant taste or odor, your cat may be less likely to drink it. If this happens in your home, using a water filter might encourage your cat to drink more.

cat drinking from water bowl
Image Credit: Vershinin89, Shutterstock

Number of Cats

If several cats share a water bowl, it can become contaminated more quickly. Cats can introduce dirt, fur, and food particles into the water, necessitating more frequent changes.


A cat’s diet can affect how much water they drink. If your cat primarily consumes dry kibble, they may need more water to compensate for the lack of moisture in their food. Cats on a wet food diet may require slightly less water to stay hydrated, but they should still have access to fresh water at all times.

divider-catSigns That Your Cat Needs More Water

Increased Thirst

If you notice your cat drinking more frequently than usual, it could indicate that they are dehydrated. Keep a close eye on their water dish to see if it’s emptying faster than normal. Monitoring their water bowl or fountain can also help alert you when they are not drinking enough.

cat drinking fresh water in a bowl
Image Credit: Yuliya Papkova, Shutterstock

Dark Urine

While it can be hard to tell once it hits the litter box, dark yellow urine can indicate dehydration. Healthy cat urine is typically pale yellow.

Loss of Energy

Dehydration can lead to lethargy and weakness in cats. If your cat seems less active or has reduced energy levels, it could be that they are not consuming enough fluids.

Dry or Sticky Gums

Hydrated cats have moist and pink gums. It can be a sign of dehydration if they appear dry or sticky. You can safely check your cat’s gums by gently lifting their lip and touching their gums with your fingertip if you suspect your cat may be dehydrated.

veterinarian opening maine coon cat's mouth
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Sunken Eyes

Sunken eyes can be an indicator of dehydration. Healthy cats have bright, alert eyes. You should immediately address any changes in eye appearance.


Tips for Keeping Your Cat Hydrated

cat drinking from water fountain
Image Credit: Creative Cat Studio, Shutterstock
  • Change your cat’s water bowl daily, even if it doesn’t look dirty. Fresh water is more appealing to cats and encourages them to drink.
  • Wash the bowl at least weekly with a mild soap and rinse thoroughly.
  • Pay attention to how much your cat is drinking daily. Keep a mental note or use a measuring cup to gauge their water consumption. Write it down to track the results over time for an even better idea of how much water your cat drinks.
  • Place multiple water bowls around your home, especially if you have more than one cat, to provide easy access to water no matter where your cat is.
  • Incorporate wet cat food into your cat’s diet. It contains more moisture than dry kibble and can contribute to your cat’s daily water intake.
  • Consider investing in a cat water fountain, as running water can attract cats and get them to drink more.
  • Schedule regular checkups with your veterinarian to help determine if your cat is properly hydrated.

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It’s a good idea to change your cat’s water at least once daily to help keep it fresh and entice them to drink it so they can stay hydrated. You will want to change it even more frequently on warmer days or if you have more than one cat using the same water source. If you are struggling to get your cat to drink enough water, you can try placing water bowls in more locations around the home and using better-tasting water by using a filter or fountain.

A water fountain is a great solution that helps keep the water moving, which can slow the growth of bacteria and attract your cats, and many have a built-in filter that will help remove contaminants.

Featured Image Credit: ALEX_UGALEK, Shutterstock

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