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When Do Kittens Start Drinking Water?

When Do Kittens Start Drinking Water?

Every living being needs water to function normally, digest food, and eliminate excrement from the body. Obviously – this also applies to cats.

Cats need to drink enough water, and dehydration can be very dangerous for their health.

However, if you have a little kitten in your home, or are planning to get one, it is important to know that kittens do not drink water from the moment they are born.

When do kittens start drinking water?

Let’s analyze this issue, and look at some tips on how to encourage your kitten to drink water if it refuses.

At What Age Kittens Start Drinking Water?

photo of a tiny kitten drinking water

According to WebMD, most kittens will be weaned from their mother’s milk at four to six weeks of age. 

Until this happens, the kitten receives all it needs from their mother’s milk, and doesn’t actually need to drink any water.

So, a kitten should start drinking water at about 4 weeks of age.

Here it’s important to understand that weaning won’t happen overnight. It will take a couple of weeks for most cats to completely stop drinking their mother’s milk and transfer to solid foods and drinking water.

From the first moment your kitten starts weaning, you should provide it with clean, fresh water. The water should be available to the kitten all the time.

What To Do If The Kitten Refuses To Drink Water?

kitten looking at an orange bowl

Some kittens will not be fans of drinking water.

This will seem odd to them, since they were used to getting everything they needed from their mother’s milk.

As a cat parent, it’s important you still manage to get your kitten to drink water, because this is crucial for their health.

As the Spruce Pets explains, a 10-pound feline that only eats dry food needs to drink about a cup of water a day. An equally heavy cat that’s on a canned diet needs about a third of a cup of water daily.

A kitten up to three months of age should drink about 70 milliliters of water a day. If you think your kitten is far behind in her water intake, the following tips might help you out.

1. Get The Kitten Familiar With The Water Bowl

A good idea would be to put a water bowl so your kitten can see it even before she starts using it, while she’s still only drinking her mother’s milk.

The water in the bowl should always be fresh and clean. A cat’s water should be changed at least once a day.

You should leave the water bowl in a place where the kitten can easily reach it. 

Also, you might want to choose a bowl that won’t tip over, to avoid your kitten splashing all over the place.

2. Add Some Water To Your Kitten’s Kibble

If your kitten is eating dry food most of the time, she should drink even more water than cats that are mostly fed canned food.

This might be a big problem if your kitten seems completely uninterested in drinking water from her bowl.

But, you shouldn’t panic, since there is something you can do.

By adding a bit of warm water to your cat’s solid food, you will encourage fluid intake in her body. In this way, your kitty will not get dehydrated.

Add warm water to her dry food 10-15 minutes before serving it to your cat. During this time, the water will be absorbed and the meal will be cold enough for the kitten to eat.

3. Add Some Flavor To Your Kitten’s Water

Some kittens will refuse to drink water because they can’t taste it.

The solution to this could be to add some flavoring to their water, like tuna water. Of course, I definitely suggest you check with your vet before adding any additives to your kitty’s water.

If you notice that your little reluctant water drinker has started to increase her fluid intake, gradually reduce the tuna water, or another flavor enhancer you used, until she gets used to drinking plain water.

How To Recognize Your Kitten Isn’t Drinking Enough Water?

gray kitten drinking water in a white bowl

Proper water intake is equally important through all the stages of a cat’s life – from the moment she starts drinking it at approximately 4 weeks of age, until she’s a senior cat.

Water intake helps cats maintain a lot of their body functions, and prevents urinary problems, such as the Lower Urinary Tract Disease.

So, to be sure your kitten is healthy, you should know how to recognize she might be lacking water in her body.

PetMd explains some of the most common signs of dehydration in kittens:

• Expressed lethargy

• Dry and tacky gums

• Sunken eyes

• Weakness

• Panting, or even collapsing

The most common cause of dehydration is when a kitten doesn’t drink or eat properly. Although, this might also happen due to hot weather and dry air.

It’s important you react as soon as you notice any signs of dehydration in your kitten. If you don’t do this, your kitten’s system might begin to shut down, meaning that dehydration can even be fatal.

Dehydrated cats need to receive fluids as soon as possible. Kittens are one of the most sensitive groups to the effects of dehydration, together with senior cats, and cats with some additional health problems.


The perfect time for kittens to start with the water intake is around 4 weeks of age. This is the period when the kitten should start weaning, and eating solid food.

Just like adult cats, kittens also need a proper daily amount of water intake to stay healthy. Still, you might struggle with a kitten that simply doesn’t feel interested in water drinking.

If this happens, you can try mixing some warm water with her dry food, or add some flavor, like tuna water, to make the water more appealing to her.

You should be extremely careful with your kitten not to get dehydrated. This can be very dangerous for her health. If you notice signs of dehydration, such as lethargy, sunken eyes, weakness, and dry gums, you should consult a veterinarian right away.

Proper water intake is one of the crucial steps for your kitten’s health and well-being.

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