Every cat owner knows that kittens need to drink their mother’s milk in their first months in order to develop their immune system.
Milk is highly important during this early period because it’s very nutritious and it helps them stay healthy.
However, water is very important too, even for cats. You may have wondered, can kittens drink water?
If you’re expecting a litter of furry babies to arrive soon, read on to find out how to take care of them properly!
Can Kittens Drink Water?
The initial question is: can kittens drink water?
Kittens can drink water, but just like other newborn mammals, in the first months of life they need nutrients from milk which will help them develop and get stronger.
So, during this period, milk is the only food they need. However, after a month or more, kittens need to start adapting to solid food.
Kittens will usually start drinking water as soon as they start eating kitten food, and that is after a month or more. Usually, you don’t need to worry about teaching a kitten how to drink water because it will come naturally.
In the same way that small children start imitating people around them, kittens imitate their mothers too. So, they begin drinking water by watching her do it. They learn many things from the mother cat, even more complex tasks like learning how to use the litter box.
However, if you don’t have the kitten’s mother, that means it’s up to you to take on this role and teach your kitten to drink water properly. It won’t be easy, so I’ll give you a few pieces of advice later on in the article.
At What Age Kitten Can Drink Water?
Normally, kittens will start eating food and drinking water after 30 days. However, this period is called the weaning process because kittens still drink their mother cat’s milk.
It’s important to mention that if a mother cat stops producing milk during the weaning process, then you shouldn’t give your kitten any other kind of milk anymore, especially goat’s or cow’s milk. If necessary, your vet can give you a cat milk substitute.
How Much Water Should a Kitten Drink?
If you wondered can kittens drink water, you may also want to know what amount of water a kitten should drink. This depends on the age of the kitten.
So, to repeat once more, when they are just a few weeks of age, young kittens don’t need any other food while drinking their mother’s milk.
After a month, when you introduce cat food to your kittens, they will seek water or they’ll watch how their mother drinks. In the beginning, they’ll be adorably clumsy until they learn how to drink water properly.
After two months, most kittens will stop drinking their mother’s milk and be separated from their mother. So, they’ll start eating food and drinking water without any assistance.
After three months, your kitten will eat both dry and wet food and drink water even more than before. Your kitten will drink more water after eating dry food. So, make sure that you provide your kitten with fresh and clean water.
This is completely normal, but remember that you shouldn’t give your kitten milk instead of fresh water.
Suggested Read: 4-Month-Old Kitten’s Size And Growth Changes – Kitten To Adult
How Often Should Kittens Drink Water?
The answer to this question also depends on the kitten’s age and body weight.
So, kittens up to three months should drink around 70 ml of water per day, while old kittens, around 6 months, should drink 135 ml of water per day. An adult cat drinks around 300 ml of water per day.
Of course, it all depends on the kind of food your cat eats. Don’t be upset if you notice that your kitten doesn’t drink a lot of water. The possible reason could be because of the wet food.
Extra Tip: If you want to learn more about the eating habits of kittens, I suggest reading How Much Should A 10-Week Old Kitten Eat? An Owner’s Guide
My Cat Won’t Drink Water, Should I Be Worried?!
Usually, cats don’t drink a lot of water as they receive hydration from prey or wet food. In the beginning, kittens don’t drink a lot of water because they get hydration from their mother’s milk or formula milk.
Some cats won’t drink water in front of you, but don’t panic immediately!
The best thing to do is to always provide your kitten with fresh water and a clean water bowl, because sometimes they won’t drink because their water bowl is not clean.
If your kitten still doesn’t drink water, then you should contact your veterinarian. This is especially important if you notice any signs of dehydration, which we will look at next.
What Are The Risks Of Kittens Not Drinking Water?
The main risk of kittens not drinking water is dehydration which can be very serious for a cat’s health, leading to serious illnesses, such as diabetes, kidney disease, gastrointestinal issues, or even heat stroke.
These are the symptoms you need to pay attention to in order to prevent these health issues:
• Infrequent or absent urination – this is one of the most common dehydration symptoms. If there’s not enough water intake, your kitten won’t need to urinate often.
• Loss of appetite – this is usually a bad sign, whether the cause is dehydration or something else. The best thing to do is to contact your vet.
• Loss of skin elasticity
• Hollow eyes
• Dry gums
Can A Kitten Survive Without Water?
A kitten can’t survive without water because water is vital for the kitten’s system in order for it to function properly.
A kitten shouldn’t be without water for longer than 24 hours because it may become dehydrated and, as mentioned previously, dehydration can lead to serious illnesses.
It’s very important that your kitten has water sources in its environment, such as a water fountain or tap water because running water can be very interesting for your kitten. Most importantly, ensure that your kitten’s water dish is always clean.
How Do I Get My Kitten To Drink Water?
Here is some advice on how to encourage your kitten to drink water:
• Always pour fresh water in a clean water bowl
• Put bowls of water in a few different spots around the house
• Try using cat water fountains – it may be more interesting to your kitten
• Add water to the food that kitten eats – you can add warm water and mix it with kibble
• Add flavor to the water
• Try using different water bowls
Milk Vs Water – What’s The Best Option For Kittens?!
A lot of people think that milk is healthy for older kittens, as that’s how it’s presented on the tv, cartoons etc. However, this is not correct.
The truth is that many cats are lactose intolerant, meaning that they cannot digest milk and milk products. In addition, lactose intolerance may cause serious health issues.
Milk is the only healthy option for young kittens because it is only through their mothers’ milk that they receive everything that a growing cat needs.
Later, milk is not recommended in a cat’s diet, but water is very important because it helps them digest food and to stay hydrated.
Quick Thought: Although it’s not recommended to give adult cats milk, what do you think – do cats even like milk?
To Wrap It Up
Can kittens drink water? – Kittens can drink water after the first month of life. Until then, they need nutrients from their mother’s milk in order to survive and to develop their immune system.
Make sure your kitten always has fresh, clean water and don’t let it become dehydrated, because that may lead to serious illnesses.
Many people think that milk is perfectly healthy for older kittens, however, this is not true. Many cats are lactose intolerant, meaning that they may have difficulties digesting milk and milk products.
So, avoid giving your kitten milk and ensure that it has enough water sources in order to stay purrfectly healthy!