“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:
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:
And then there are some kittens who multi-task… drinking and sleeping at the same time!
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.
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!
There are many reasons why your kitten may be drinking what seems to be a ton of water.
Some of these reasons are:
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.
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!
After moving to New York City from Rome, Italy, I began working in the nonprofit world. Despite my day job, my passion has always been animals, especially dogs and cats, and writing. What better way to combine the two? I’ve been a pet owner for 15 years, and my menagerie includes dogs, cats, hamsters and the occasional hermit crab. My beloved cat, Mozart, who I found as a newborn kitten, sparked my love for felines and is now nearly 15 years old. I am an enthusiastic volunteer at the local ASPCA, where I enjoy spending time with the cats and cleaning up after the dogs. I’ve been writing about pet ownership and care for the past five years.