What Kind of Water is Best for Cats?

What Kind of Water is Best for Cats?

Cats, like all animals, need water to survive. Water is essential for overall organ function, transport of nutrients, circulation and digestion. Also, hydrated cats are less prone to kidney diseases and infections. However, cats tend to be finicky about their water source and tend to prefer fresh and moving water as opposed to stagnant water in their bowl.

What kind of water is best for cats?

The best water for cats is filtered water that has undergone the process of reverse osmosis. Filtered tap or spring water, being good enough for humans, is also ideal for cats. However, stay away from distilled water as this is acidic and could lower the pH of your cat’s urine, resulting in stones or crystals. 

Can cats drink distilled water?

Yes, cats can drink distilled water but it should only be a small amount. It is not recommended as a sole source of water for your cats, since this could lead to serious side effects. Cat experts note that distilled water lacks the necessary minerals and may lead to a loss of important electrolytes through the kidneys. 

Can cats drink tap water?

Yes, cats can drink tap water and it was observed that some cats prefer drinking water from the tap over drinking from their water bowl. Studies reveal that cats that drink from a flowing water source, such as tap water, generally drink slightly more than cats that drink from a regular water bowl. Cat experts also note that cats seem to prefer tap water to purified water. 

If you live in the city and you have good city tap water, it should also be fine for your cats, especially if you are also drinking it. A carbon filter can help if there is too much chlorine in the water. 

Can cats drink salt water?

Yes, cats can drink salt water. Their kidneys are capable of filtering out the salt from the water. This allows them to consume, and rehydrate by consuming, salt water. However, it should not be given as their main water source. The salt disrupts their fluid balance and too much could result in serious health problems like kidney damage, seizures and severe dehydration. 

Can cats drink alkaline water?

Yes, cats can drink alkaline water. Natural alkaline water provides bioavailable minerals and electrolytes for better health. Your cat could get more health benefits than offered by normal water. Alkaline water is more easily absorbed by body tissues for optimal hydration. 

Alkaline water has a higher pH than regular water, and is believed to neutralize acids in the body. It has a pH of eight or nine and contains alkaline minerals and the potential for negative oxidation-reduction – the ability of water to become pro-antioxidant. 

Potential advantages of alkaline water:

  • Colon-cleansing properties. 
  • Immune system support. 
  • Anti-aging properties. 
  • Good for weight loss. 
  • Cancer resistance. 
  • Hydration, skin health and detoxifying properties.

Can cats drink sparkling water?

Yes, cats can drink sparkling or carbonated water, but there should be no artificial flavors or extra ingredients added to it. Sparkling water can help cats consume their required daily water intake, because the bubbles are appealing and may entice cats to drink. However, you should only give your cat small portions, as it could cause bloating. 

Carbonated or sparkling water is infused with carbon dioxide under pressure. This results in a bubbly drink that is also called club soda, seltzer water, soda water and fizzy water. Carbonated water, except for seltzer water, has added salt and small amounts of other minerals to improve the taste.

Can cats drink ice water?

Yes, cats can drink ice water and most of them prefer cold water, since they seem to perceive it as fresh, just like the cold water in a stream or lake.  Replenish your cat’s water by adding ice cubes, especially during hot weather. 

Can cats drink lemon water?

No, lemon water is not advisable for cats, since lemons are toxic to cats. Their toxic compounds include limonene, linalool and psoralens. The phototoxic compounds could lead to skin burns after exposure to sunlight.  

Can cats drink seawater?

Yes, cats can drink seawater. However, it does not mean they should be allowed to drink it, since it is not good for them. Cats will not get hydrated from drinking seawater; instead, they will be prone to dehydration since it contains high levels of sodium and chloride, or salt. 

Can cats drink mineral water?

Yes, cats can drink mineral water but it is not recommended as a water source since the mineral levels are not appropriate for cats. Mineral water is water from a mineral spring containing minerals such as salts and sulfur compounds. It may be still or sparkling, according to the gas content or the lack thereof.

Can cats drink flavored water?

Yes, cats can drink flavored water. Vets usually advise cat owners to let their cats drink flavored water so that they consume the recommended daily water intake. Some cat parents make ice cubes of broth or tuna juice and place them in the water bowl. 

Be wary of flavorings and sweeteners in flavored water, since they could be toxic for your cats. Xylitol, for instance, does not affect people but is deadly for cats, and fluid replacement with electrolytes is also not recommended for them. 

Can cats drink bottled water?

Yes, cats can drink bottled water, since it is fit for human consumption.  However, it is not recommended as their regular water source. Bottled water could leach unpleasant-tasting chemicals and could harbor bacteria. 

Can cats drink pool water?

Cats should be prohibited from drinking pool water since it is highly chlorinated. If your cat drinks pool water she could suffer gastrointestinal irritation, although this should not cause serious issues unless she habitually ingests it. Also, cats that swim in chlorinated pool water may exhibit red eyes and itchy skin. 

Can cats drink softened water?

Yes, cats can drink softened water. No salt is added to this type of water. While water softener machines use salt to soften the resin that acts on water, it does not enter the water supply at all. 

Soft water is water that has less than one gpg of hardness and easily forms a lather with soap. It allows you to use much less soap compared with hard water. The water softening process is achieved by adding chemicals via ion exchange. These chemicals may include ammonia, borax or slaked lime, along with soda ash or sodium carbonate. 

Can cats drink too much water?

Cats can drink too much water, and this is considered unhealthy for them. If your cat is drinking too much water, take her to the vet as it could be an indication that something is wrong with her.  

Cats that drink more than 1.5 ounces of water per pound of body weight per day have a condition called polydipsia. It is often linked to urinary conditions that lead to extreme urination. This creates a need for the body to replace the lost fluids, and therefore the cat drinks more. 


Cats need water to survive and stay healthy. Their daily water intake should be around 3.5 to 4.5 ounces per five pounds of body weight. The best kind of water for cats is filtered water that has undergone reverse osmosis.  Filtered tap water and spring water are also recommended water types for cats.

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