Two Hydration Tests Your Cat Needs Now

Cats Need Water

Gracey and water fountain

All cats need water. Even though you might hear people say their cat never drinks water, or even say cats don’t need water, we know this is not true and that all cats need water. Our wild cousins intake water when eating their prey but they also seek out watering holes.  Domestic cats sharing their homes with humans are descendants of the African Wildcat, but the life style and domesticated adaptations make their needs different. Most house cats are not surviving off of their hunting skills.

House cats benefit by drinking more water especially if they are eating a dry kibble diet. Cats consuming wet food do get more water from their food but still need to have a separate water source. I have an electric water fountain and a bowl of fresh water by my chow station.

Two Hydration Tests Your Cat Needs Now

There are two simple tests that you can do at home to make sure your cat is getting the water they need.  My parents perform both of these tests on me quite often. They are not painful or difficult to withstand.

1) The Skin Test

Carefully lift the skin on your cat’s back into a “tent” position, and let it go. If the skin bounces right back, your cat is hydrated.  If the skin stays in the “tent” position  after you let it go or if the skin slowly returns to its normal position, your cat needs more water and might be dehydrated. You should check with your veterinarian.

Cats can become dehydrated quickly so  you should do  this test on a regular basis to establish what is normal for your cat.  I get this test everyday at least once.  That’s right, helicopter parents.  Although to be fair, I receive  insulin injections so they do have a reason to be checking on me more often.

2) The Lip Test

Carefully lift your cat’s lip, and check the inside. If the surface is moist, your cat is hydrated. If it’s sticky, your cat needs more water.  If your cat is super fussy about having their mouth touched, exercise caution. Cat bites are most unpleasant.

If your cat is not fussy you might also try gently pulling  the cat’s lip away from the  gum and pressing a finger against the gum until the area whitens. When you release your finger the color should return immediately.  A delay in the return of the healthy pink color could be an indication of dehydration.

Dehydration is a serious issue for cats.

Cats can become dehydrated if they have an illness and are running a fever, or are exposed  to extreme heat.  Cats do not have sweat glands to keep them cool so they pant in an effort to regulate their body temperature. A panting cat is a hot cat, and this is an indication for you to take quick action to get your cat to a cooler environment and make sure they are drinking water. Dehydration is a serious issue for cats.  If you suspect your cat is dehydrated seek medical attention at once.

I really like water. I drink from my fountain and from my bowl several times each day. Sometimes I like to splash water with my paw too. I wanted to show you how much I like water so I made a short video for you.

Here is my Ahhh Water! video.

A licensed veterinarian should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. The information provided is for a routine everyday hydration check and should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

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  1. PsychoChick966 says:

    I used to give my cat dry food, she drank water only occasionally. Now, she gets wet food (and we leave dry food out too), and she no longer drinks water. She must be hydrated… and if she wasn’t, I don’t know how I would be able to force her to drink.

  2. Mags Germann says:

    thanks to you … we now have one of these… 🙂 all five cats are major enjoying it..!!

  3. Gracey, I really enjoyed your video!! Thanks for all the tips!! 🙂

  4. Da boyz ‘n’ Allie have a drinkwell 360 they like to use. (The gum test? Allie & Faraday let me touch their gums but Maxwell won’t let me get near him!) Wonderful info to have – and hydration is so very important!

  5. My cat, Toshiro, drinks exclusively from the tap. My husband found a motion-sensing attachment for our bathroom faucet so that he can turn the water on whenever he likes. It took him less than 5 minutes to figure out how to use it. For the record, he turned up his nose at all cat fountains that recirculate water. We tried several before happening upon the faucet attachment. Here’s a link to Toshiro using his faucet:

  6. Lori Morin (Love All Cats) says:

    HI Gracey, thank you for sharing – My kitties have the same fountain and they love it too. Mimi just loves the running water, she used to drink out of the running water in the sink or bathtub, but now that they all have their own fountain they have been staying off the sink. They also have a little cat grass plant growing on the side as well, it’s like a little oasis!

  7. Hi Gracey, Thanks for joining the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop.
    Since you’re new, I’ll tell you for future reference, that the hop is always open all week, in case you’re too busy or not feeling all that thankful on a Thursday. ; ) You can join in whenever you want!
    I really like this water post. I have a hyperactive thyroid so I’m always thirsty. I drink a whole bowl of water every day AND I make Mom turn on the bathtub so I can drink from the faucet about 6 times a day!
    She’s tried three or four different fountains but I don’t like them. She even got me the expensive Platinum one, but I just drink out of the bowl part and the water hitting my ears just annoys me, so I go get Mom and ask her to turn the tub faucet back on. We should open a used cat fountain store!
    See you at BlogPaws!
    Cokie the Cat: Hollywood Insider

  8. Great post. Smoki has very specific requirements for her water source and one, especially, that wasn’t used previously by the dog. I have to be vigilant in making sure she stays hydrated since she is an indoor/outdoor cat in our hot Southern climate.

  9. Maghwisk says:

    Love the video!!! Thanks for the nose tap and information!!! xoxox

  10. Pet News and Views says:

    Earl loves drinking from his Pioneer Pet Rain Drop Fountain. I love that the water is filtered.

  11. I do not drink H2O even though there are at least 4 water bowls throughout the house. Peeps tried a fountain and I wouldn’t go near it. Almost 2 years ago, I needed fluids and now the peeps test me a couple of times a week by doing the tenting thing. They give me extra wet food, including one with pumpkin soup, which I lap up, to take the place of water. Peeps are worried about my getting kidney disease when I get older.

    • I read about putting chicken broth in ice cube trays, then freezing and placing the chicken broth cubes in a bowl of water. I wonder if you might like this. It is just super important to keep the water fresh and the bowl washed. I thought this was interesting. Did you pass your hydration tests?