How to Make Your Cat Drink Water

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How to Get Your Cat to Drink More Water

Please Lord Cat, bless your body with the heavenly aqua so your waste may runneth again and I may cease surrendering coin to the maester!

Why Your Cat Needs More Water Than You Think

Just like humans, cats are prone to constipation and urinary tract problems if they don't drink enough water. Male cats are especially prone to urinary tract problems.  

Waffles being my first cat, I had no idea how much of a problem drinking water was for cats. It wasn't until he vomited all over my face one morning (yes, really...) that I rushed him to the vet, at which the vet pronounced him constipated from not drinking enough water .

I was shocked, because Waffles always seemed to drink a lot of water. I would often see him lapping water at the fountain. In hindsight, this was just not enough because I was eyeballing it. 

Despite my cute appearance, I am just as naughty as other cats!

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Naturally I started searching the internet furiously and tried every suggested remedy. For weeks, things looked bleak and nothing seemed to work, until I finally found success in the simplest solution.

Here are all the different remedies I tried and my experience with them. This post is NOT sponsored and a true account of my trials.

All cats have different preferences. To find out how to get your cat to drink more water, try everything and see what works. I kept a spreadsheet of each method, the result and date. 

Water Fountain

water fountains

Photo Credit: Wirecutter

Waffles grew up with a water fountain and we got the same fountain he grew up with, so we just assumed he was doing okay with water. We often saw him drinking at the fountain and had no problems for several years, until one day we had to make a trip to the vet, at which the vet ordered him to drink more water.

cat water fountain

The vet suggested we try every method possible to get Waffles to drink more, so off we went to try various types of fountains (ceramic, plastic, metal, etc) . At various points we had 5 different fountains around the house just to see if he took to any of them. Unfortunately Waffles is picky and refused to touch them for weeks. (I was disappointed, because I was really hoping to use the cute flower water fountain)

Water In a Different Room

George Morland Cat Painting

There’s a rumor that cats don’t like to eat in the same room as their food. A lot of owners have had success with putting water bowls in a different room than the food, so we tried this. While I do think Waffles drinks more in a different room, Waffles is not above drinking water within a few feet of his meal. (Maybe he is just that lazy). This is an easy trick you should try for a few weeks. 

Water All Over the House

We tried leaving water bowls all over the house, in every room, different positions. Against the wall so he could feel safe, against the corner, up on a shelf, etc. It really looked loony. This method worked out the best for us because we found Waffles liked to drink in the bedroom and not the bathroom. Eventually we pared it down to just bathroom, kitchen, dining room and entryway.  (Okay, typing that out...that's like 5 spots...)

Different Bowl Material and Shapes


We also experimented with different bowl textures, or should I say, "receptacles". Glass, clear, metal, plastic, ceramic, wide, shallow, deep , plate, bowl, anything we had around the house . There’s a rumor that maybe cats don’t like their whiskers touching the bowl. I don’t find this to be true in Waffles, but it's worth a try for your cat. I don’t think there’s a preference for Waffles but we stuck with ceramic because it’s the most stable material and we had a lot of extra ceramic bowls .


Catnip in Water

We didn't have much hope for this because we knew Waffles was picky about his food. Waffles likes catnip, but he is a demanding master. As expected, Waffles walked away, displeased with this concoction. Waffles much preferred drinking from the dog bowl, full of dog spit and drool.  This is worth a try because it's easy to do at home. 

Tuna in Water / Chicken in Water

cat fish bowl

We also did not expect this to work since Waffles had always been disgusted by human food (yes...weird cat..). We gave it a try anyway, and as expected it didn't work.  This is still worth a try for everyone else because most cats do love tuna and human food. You can also try bonito flakes , many cat owners have attested their cats go crazy for bonito flakes (you can get them at asian supermarkets).

Bottled Water (yes....we went there...)

Thankfully, No response, or we would have to start buying bottled water for His Royal Highness.

Day Old Water

cat drinking water

There's an urban legend that there's less chlorine in day-old water so we tried this. No difference for us.


Mixing Water into Food

mother cat and kittens drinking milk

This works for a small amount of water (few drops) , and we used to do it but eventually stopped because Waffles was getting picky about it and would refuse to eat his food.  If your cat's not picky about food, this is a good practice to start from the moment you get your cat. You can do this with wet food and kibble.

Syringe Water

kitten drinking from syringe

We saw another cat drinking from the syringe like a good boi so we tried this but Waffles was really annoyed and fighting it. Worth a try to see if your cat likes it. You can get a syringe from the vet. 



cat tongue blep

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Our current setup is various ceramic bowls scattered in different rooms around the house. We see him drinking water very often . Waffles is not so picky about the freshness of the water, and he actually voluntarily drinks from the super-gross dog bowl regularly . It took us many weeks of trial and error to settle on this method, and we haven't had a constipation bout for years. Sometimes he even poops twice a day !

If you've just gotten the vet order to make your cat drink more water, I encourage you to keep trying different methods until you see your cat drinking more. Stick with one method for at least a week since cats need time to adjust. It helps to keep a spreadsheet to keep track of what works.

What methods have you tried? Have the methods listed here helped you solve your water crisis ? Leave a comment and let me know. 

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