“Kittenhood” can be a time of great anxiety for new cat owners. Kittens are so small, so vulnerable, and able to get into all sorts of mischief. One of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make as a new kitten owner is about food and drink.
What is the best thing to feed your kitten, and what is the best thing to offer as a drink? Can kittens drink water?
The answer is very simple. Water is absolutely the best beverage for your growing kitten, but there are some things to keep in consideration.
In this article, we’ll cover the following:
- Can Kittens Drink Water?
- When Do Kittens Need Water?
- Can Newborn Kittens Drink Water?
- Why Do Kittens Drink So Much Water?
- Alternatives to Water for Kittens
Can Kittens Drink Water?
Absolutely! Kittens, just like all other living things, need water for their bodies to function properly especially when sick. In fact, not giving your kitten water is dangerous and will put their health seriously at risk.
Kittens begin drinking water once they are around four weeks old, just around the time they begin the weaning process with their mothers.
By the time a kitten joins their new human family (hopefully after eight weeks), they will require water to drink just as an adult cat would.
Here are a few tips you can use to make sure your kitten is getting the hydration they need:
- Room temperature water is best. Avoid hot water or ice water.
- Make sure to use an appropriately-sized water bowl. If the bowl is too large and too full your kitten could accidentally fall in and potentially drown.
- Change your kitten’s water multiple times a day. It’s very important that they have a steady supply of fresh, clean water.
And then there are some kittens who multi-task… drinking and sleeping at the same time!
When Do Kittens Need Water?
Kittens over four weeks of age need water every day, likely multiple times a day. Before they are four weeks old they do not require any supplementary liquids as they get all the liquid they need from their mother’s milk.
It is important to make sure that your kitten has constant access to water. Your kitten’s water bowl should ideally never be empty, and you should change and refill the water multiple times a day.
Kittens are most likely to be interested in drinking after they’ve eaten, after they’ve played, and after they wake up from their (likely numerous) naps. Keeping a bowl of fresh water available to them at all times is a good way to make sure that water is available to them when they want it.
Can Newborn Kittens Drink Water?
Newborn kittens don’t need water. Kittens won’t need to drink water until they are weaned, which is about at four weeks of age. Before that, kittens get all the hydration they need from their mothers.
If a kittens mother is unavailable for some reason, they will need to be fed with simulation cat milk (not cows milk!) and will get the liquid they need from that.
In fact, newborn kittens won’t be interested in water at all, and won’t know how to drink it even if they come across it. Their mothers will teach them about eating solid foods and drinking liquids other than milk during the weaning process.
This newborn kitten is too young to be drinking water, and he seems a little frightened by it!
Why Do Kittens Drink So Much Water?
There are many reasons why your kitten may be drinking what seems to be a ton of water.
Some of these reasons are:
- Dry food. If you feed your kitten kibble rather than wet food, they may compensate for the lack of moisture in their food by drinking a lot of water. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but consult your veterinarian if you think your kitten’s water intake is too much.
- After exercise. All of that playing and mischief-making can make your kitten very thirsty! It’s normal for your kitten to drink a little more than usual after they’ve been running around.
- Self-regulation. Kittens are known for not being very good at regulating their food and water intake. It is soothing for your kitten’s developing voice box. If your kitten is drinking water at an astounding rate, consult your veterinarian to rule out any medical causes.
- Diabetes and kidney disease can both make your kitten very thirsty. If you think your kitten is drinking more water than is good for them, bring them to the vet. This will help rule out any physiological problems.
Alternatives to Water for Kittens
Water should absolutely be a part of your kitten’s everyday diet. All cats, including young kittens that are over four weeks old, require water every day in order to survive.
If you’re wondering whether or not your kitten will get bored of drinking water all day long, you may be anthropomorphizing them a bit. While human beings enjoy a variety of beverages, from wine to soda to juice, cats don’t necessarily share that desire.
If you really want to offer your kitten something else to drink (while still making sure to give them plenty of water during the day) you can try some “cat milk,” such as Whiskas Catmilk, which is a protein-rich kitty beverage that can be offered as a special treat.
You can also try Ciao Churu cat treats, which are a pureed cat treat that can be drizzled onto your kitten’s food or offered as a special treat right from the tube.
So, Can Kittens Drink Water?
Yes! Not only can kittens drink water, they must drink water!
Once your kitten has been weaned at around four weeks of age, they will rely on water to get the liquids and hydration they need to stay healthy. You should always leave out fresh, clean water for your kitten, taking care to change the water at least once or twice a day and to refill it if it dries up.
If you want to offer your kitten a taste of something other than water as a special treat, you can give them some cat milk. That being said, water should always be your kitten’s main beverage.
Do you have trouble getting your kitten to drink enough water, or does your kitten seem to drink too much? Have you tried any liquid cat treats? Let us know in the comments, we want to hear all about it!