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Why Is My Cat Drinking a Lot of Water and Not Eating?

Why Is My Cat Drinking a Lot of Water and Not Eating?

The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.

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Cats are notoriously picky eaters, some more than others, but sooner or later, they will eat. So, when the second day rolls around and your cat is still not eating but only drinking water, you’re probably racking your brain trying to understand why this is happening?

Typically, cats that suffer from illnesses will refuse to eat, and some of these afflictions, such as a urine infection, can also cause your cat to consume more water than usual. If cats refuse to eat, they also become susceptible to a dangerous condition called hepatic lipidosis.

As cat owners, we are pretty accustomed to cats being just plain quirky and full of contradictions. However, when your cat is repetitively refusing food and drinking water in excess, it is not one of those many quirks and can indicate a severe problem.

Why Is Your Cat Drinking Too Much Water?

Cat Drinking Water Out of a Bowl

Firstly, we need to establish how much water a cat should drink to determine if they are drinking a lot of water – in other words, more than usual.

According to WebMD, cats need an average of between 3.5 and 4.5 ounces of water per 5 pounds of body weight. They might consume a little more when it’s hot, but you can easily monitor how much water your cat is ingesting with this formula.

Cats Consume More Water Due to Medical Conditions

Illnesses that have a direct correlation to drinking too much water are:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Urine infection
  • Hyperthyroidism

Postoperative behavior (after-effects from general anesthesia) in cats can also lead to excessive water intake and a decreased appetite. Give it a day for your cat to recover but check in with the vet if your pet is still not eating when day two came and went.

Cats May Drink More Water When They Feel Hot

When it is a scorcher of a day, your cat will drink more water to cool down and would probably give the food bowl a hard pass because they feel just as icky as humans do when it’s hot – and we’re not even covered in fur.

It is more than likely that as soon as the air cools, you’ll find the kitty cat happily nibbling away at their food; this is normal behavior and nothing to be concerned about at all.

On the other hand, if it is sweltering and your cat is not drinking water, you should keep an eye on them and try to coax them into taking a few sips ever so often to avoid possible heat exhaustion.

Why Is Your Cat Put Off By Its Food?

Cat Near Food Bowl Not Eating

More often than not, cats who won’t eat suffer from an illness; however, other instances – such as injuries, dental problems, old age, or stress – can just as quickly put your cat off of food.

Cats Have a Lack of Appetite When They Are Sick

The previously listed conditions linked to excessive water consumption are almost always accompanied by cats refusing to eat. In addition, other illnesses that affect a cat’s appetite are:

  • Intestinal viral infections
  • Gallbladder inflammation
  • Pancreatitis
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Neurological disorders
  • Cancer
  • Severe constipation
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Injured Cats Tend to Avoid Food

Remember that cats hide their pain well, so there is a possibility that your cat is not suffering from an illness but an injury. Common injuries in cats commonly result from:

  • Dog bites
  • Cat fights
  • Falling from trees or rooftops
  • Animal abuse

Run your hand gently over your cat’s body and see if your cat has any reaction to your touch on specific areas.

It might not be an external injury if they show no signs of discomfort and you don’t feel any bumps or broken skin. However, there is also the risk of internal damage that isn’t visible on the body.

So, the best thing you can do is take your cat to the vet for a health check to see if they are unwell or might have an injury that you weren’t aware of for some time.

Cats Can Be Put Off By Food Due to Dental Problems

Most owners are guilty of not cleaning their cat’s teeth, mainly because cats simply will not allow you to stick something in their mouth without getting rather upset about it.

If your cat doesn’t receive dental care, some issues with its teeth or gums may make it painful to chew food. You’ll have to make a trip to the vet for a dental check-up and possibly a minor procedure or treatment to solve the problem.

So, remember, when you welcome a new kitten to your home, get them used to dental care from a young age.

Cats May Refuse to Eat When They Are Stressed

Stressed Looking Cat

Have you ever heard of the phrase: scaredy-cat? Well, these tongue-in-cheek insults always have some old anecdote attached to them; the same goes for the saying: curiosity killed the cat.

Situational changes (like moving into a new home or getting a new pet) are very stressful to felines, and it affects their appetite. Cats will refuse to eat until they feel safe and comfortable again.

When you notice your cat is stressed, find a nice quiet spot for them to relax, put their food and water in the room with them and give it some time, your cat should calm down or adjust to whatever is the source of their stress in a couple of weeks or so.

Offer Alternative Food to Picky Cats

Sometimes we are lucky, and our pets are not sick, injured, or stressed but just being spoiled. Let’s say you rewarded your pet with some luxury wet food as a treat, but when it came to regular feeding times, they sniffed and walked away.

You might try some lukewarm water over their food to see if the meaty aromas lure them back to the bowl. Cats are pretty fond of warm, wet food, so it can be that the dry kibble is just not doing it for your feline anymore.

Cats Should Not Fast

Fasting or anorexic felines can be at risk of developing hepatic lipidosis (also known as fatty liver syndrome). If this condition is left undiagnosed and without treatment, it can be fatal.

While it is common in cats with other health issues such as obesity, fasting cats can develop this condition when they haven’t eaten for more than three consecutive days.

Because of the risk of hepatic lipidosis, you cannot afford to be careless and think your cat will eat when they are hungry enough. It is a basic instinct for your cat to eat, so if they don’t, there is a reason for it, and you should look into it.

Final Thoughts

If the fasting is not periodic or situation-related, your cat is not healthy, and you need to take them to the vet. Keep in mind that a mild and easily treatable illness can quickly turn into a life-threatening situation.

Many conditions that result in a lack of appetite and increased water consumption are relatively easy to treat, and something as a simple diet change can improve your cat’s condition in no time at all. Other illnesses are more complex and would need prolonged treatment.