Dehydration is a very common health issue in cats, especially since this species isn’t really well-known for its excellent appetite for water. But in kittens, dehydration can be even more dangerous as fluids help young cats’ bodies to function properly, especially as they are growing into adults.
In today’s article, we’re looking at how much water kittens are supposed to drink and also giving you some advice on how you can convince your little feline friend to drink more.
How Much Should Kittens Drink?
The answer to this question is that it actually depends on the kitten’s age. When the kitten is still drinking milk from their mother, you probably have nothing to worry about in the way of supplementing their water intake – especially if the pet is otherwise perfectly healthy.
The amount of water that an animal needs is always correlated with their weight. So, for example, if adult cats that weigh in at 4 kg should receive around 50 to 60 ml per every kg of body weight, the same rule applies to kittens.
Most kittens are weaned around the age of eight weeks. But by that time, they mostly have a diet composed of the food you give them and the milk they get from their mothers. Kittens tend to thrive on a canned food diet at first, especially if they don’t seem very keen on drinking by themselves.
Weaned kittens should usually receive between 2 and 4 ounces of water on top of the one that’s contained in their canned food varieties. They normally drink this amount on their own, but you can try and give them more with a syringe, especially if you suspect that they are getting dehydrated. However, this is rarely (if ever) necessary.
In most cases, kittens that are younger than 90 days should get around 70 ml of liquid, while kittens that are 6-months-old should drink about 140 ml of water every day.
How Can You Encourage Your Kitten to Drink More Water?
Cats actually have the ability to tell when they are feeling thirsty, just like people do, so they will drink water whenever they feel the need to.
This obviously also depends on the animal’s health status, in that if a kitten is getting dehydrated because they are experiencing vomiting or diarrhea, you will have to do your best to give them water on your own.
A good way to make sure that your kitten’s getting enough water would be to switch to canned food only. Pouches are also richer in liquids, and we all know how much cats tend to love the sauce they come with – usually more than the bits of meat.
Another tip that we can give you would be to change the water bowl. While some people say that whisker fatigue does not exist, some cats might get really put off if the edges of the water bowl constantly touch their whiskers, so they might be less enthusiastic about drinking water for that reason.
Flat bowls are the best even though they don’t retain a lot of water. There’s also the option of you investing in a cat water fountain, and most kittens love them. Because the water is constantly moving around and coming in contact with air, it is kept fresh, so it appeals to them more.
If your kitten also goes outside, it might be difficult for you to tell just how much water they are getting. In any case, make sure that the water is always fresh – change it twice a day if you’re beginning to think that your pet isn’t drinking enough. Do keep in mind that cats and dogs aren’t really keen on drinking stale water, so if you can’t purchase a cat water fountain right now, at least make a habit out of changing it in the morning and the evening.
What If Your Kitten Isn’t Getting Enough Water?
Sick kittens might not express any interest in either food or water for several reasons. In some cases, they might not be able to drink water per se because they can’t even move to the food and water bowl area.
Because dehydration can be life-threatening on occasion, it is a good idea to know the signs that a kitten can show if she’s developed it. Here are some symptoms that should alert you and convince you to take your kitten to the animal hospital right away:
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Sunken eyes
- Not using the litter box
- Lack of appetite
While you do not have to particularly worry about how much water your kitten is drinking, especially if you’re caring for a healthy pet, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on their behavior and their general appearance. Paying attention to such small details can make the difference and can even save your cat’s life.