Why Is My Cat Drinking A Lot Of Water And Meowing?

By Mittens •  Updated: 05/14/23 •  10 min read

I feel like I know my cat inside out and our little routine is absolutely the best part of my day. I found that I am so familiar with the feline behaviour quirks that I look forward to every little mew, every shake, head bonk, and tail swish.

The great thing about being so in tune with your cat is that you know straight away when something is wrong. Something as subtle as a slightly different meow accompanied by an increase in drinking can be very alarming.

If this sounds familiar then you have stumbled onto the correct article today. Together we are going to get to the bottom of why my cat is drinking a lot of water and meowing.

The short answer is, there could be many reasons. Your cat may be more thirsty due to many different factors or they could be very unwell. The meow may be a sign of discomfort and you should absolutely take your cat to the vet for a full check-over if they ever display these symptoms.

Now we have the short answer the next thing we need to cover is how much water is actually a lot for a cat.

A Cat Drinking From A Pond

How Much Water Does a Cat Need?

If you’re trying to decide whether your cat is drinking too little, just enough, or too much water then you need a baseline to start with. It can be difficult to assess your cat’s water intake, especially if you have more than one cat in the household.

If you’ve noticed that your cat seems to be spending a long time lapping at their water dish then it’s crucial to establish how much water they are consuming over the course of a day. A healthy cat should be drinking somewhere in the region of 50-60ml of water per kilogram of body weight per day. This roughly equates to 3.5-4.5 ounces of water per 5 pounds of body weight.

If you have multiple cats in your home then it’s a good idea to separate them by confining the one you’re worried about to a single room on their own for a day. Fill a bowl with fresh water using a measuring jug and write down how much you have added. After 24 hours, pour the remaining water back into the jug and then you can quickly see how much water they have consumed.

If you notice that your cat is drinking a lot more or less than they should be it’s worth taking them for a check-over with your local vet to ensure there’s nothing wrong with them.

Reasons For Drinking More and Meowing

Here are some common reasons why your cat may be drinking more water and meowing. It’s not an exhaustive list and if you’re unsure why your cat is drinking more always take them to the vet.

Change Of Diet

A Cat Eating Some Kibbles

A change in diet can have a large impact on how much water your cat needs to drink. Cat food can come in wet forms, dry kibble, or pate-type soft food. All these different forms can vary a lot in their water content. Dry kibble contains around 10% water whereas wet or canned food can have up to 80% water content.

In real-life terms, a 4kg cat eating the recommended 80g of dry kibble per day will only gain 8g of water from this so will still need to drink around 192ml of water to meet its daily requirements of 200ml per day.

As wet food contains more water, cats will need to eat more to gain enough calories so a 4kg cat will need more like 250g of wet food per day. They will gain 200ml of water from this food so are already at their daily requirement without drinking anything on top of this.

Of course, this is a rough guide and individual cats vary in how much food and water they need. Fresh drinking water should always be available for your cat so they can fill up as they need to.

Another consideration is how much salt and sugars are in the food. Cheaper brands of cat food often add these ingredients to make the food more palatable for your cat and excess salt will make your cat more thirsty.

More Active

In the summer months, longer evenings and warmer weather are a cause for celebration for your cat. They are much more likely to spend more time outdoors, hunting or simply exploring. All that hard work comes with a price and your cat will be thirstier after all this activity. Warmer weather is another factor that will mean your cat needs to drink more so make sure there’s plenty of fresh water available in the summer months.


Big changes happen when your cat falls pregnant. Her blood pressure will increase slightly to accommodate a larger blood volume needed to nourish those kittens. Pregnant cats will need to drink more water to balance this as well as keep up with their higher metabolic demands.

Whilst a mother cat is feeding her young she needs a LOT of extra water to produce all that milk. Lactation is an extremely demanding time for the body so extra water is a must. Is a good idea to have a chat with your veterinarian about the best recommendations for feeding a pregnant or lactating cat.


A Cat Drinking From A Bucket

If your cat has been in an accident it can be very good at hiding this fact from you. Cats can be very brave and secretive when it comes to injuries so you may not notice anything is wrong to start with. Some cats may stop eating and drinking whereas other cats may end up drinking more water to balance out dehydration. If your cat is suddenly lapping up lots of water and meowing it could be trying to tell you they are hurt or in pain.


Similar to injuries cats may also hide the fact they have an infection very effectively. Cats can get infections from wounds or bite marks. They can also get infections from dirty water, contaminated food, or by catching something from another cat.

Infections can cause a fever which can in turn cause your cat to want to drink more water.

Kidney Disease

Cats have very delicate kidneys that are very efficient at their job. Whilst they function at a very high level they are unfortunately prone to issues. One small insult can set off irreversible deterioration in your cat’s kidneys known as chronic kidney disease. This is relatively common in older cats and if it’s found early on then the symptoms can be managed very effectively, giving your cat a much more comfortable, longer life. One of the first signs of kidney disease is your cat needing to drink more water so an increase in thirst is always worth a visit to the vet to rule out kidney disease.


Just as humans can end up with diabetes cats can also fall victim to this disease. Diabetes is when the hormone insulin fails to work correctly so sugars remain in the bloodstream rather than being absorbed by the cells of the body. Extra sugar in the blood causes a lot of issues and can eventually lead to seizures, coma and death if not treated properly. In the short term, your cat will be a lot more thirsty than usual so it may be making more frequent trips to the water bowl. Again, it’s always worth taking your cat to the vet to rule out this condition.


There are many kinds of cancer that can affect your cat at any stage in its life. Cancers can take on many different forms so the symptoms can vary a lot. Although it’s always good to hope for the best, if your cat is suddenly drinking a lot of water and meowing without any other reason for doing so, then cancer should flag at the back of your mind. A trip to the vet can help to rule this out and put your mind to rest.


Cats are very prone to stress and small changes in their environment can bring about a lot of disruption to your cat’s routine. If your cat doesn’t feel safe at their water bowl then they may avoid drinking too frequently. This means that when they do get a chance to drink they end up lapping at their water for ages.

Noisy children, other pets, workmen, or just a change in layout in the house are all things that can cause your cat stress and make them scared to approach their water dish. It’s important to have multiple bowls of water in many different locations around the home to help your stressed cat stay hydrated.


Competition from other cats is another big reason why cats may end up dehydrated and then compensate for this by drinking a lot of water. Some cats will guard the food and water bowl and make it feel unsafe for their companions to have a drink.

Always provide more than one water source, especially if you have multiple cats in your home. If one cat is a bully it’s worth speaking to a cat behaviour specialist or your veterinarian for advice on how to manage the problem.

A Cat Drinking From A Hose Pipe

How To Keep Your Cat Hydrated

It’s really important for your cat to be able to drink as much water as it would like to. Even if they are drinking too much you should never ever limit water for your cat as this can cause severe harm.

Make sure you have many drinking options around the home and keep water bowls topped up with fresh water so it tastes clean and so that your cat’s whiskers don’t have to touch the side of the bowl and become irritated.

Opt for stainless steel, ceramic, or glass bowls over plastic. Consider investing in a cat water fountain as a lot of cats like to drink running water.

Switching to wet food can help increase your cat’s hydration levels but always introduce a new diet very slowly over 1-2 weeks by gradually mixing the new food in with the old otherwise your cat can end up with an upset stomach.

Adding in hydration supplements like Purina Hydra Care is another good way to encourage your cat to take in more water.

The Final Verdict

There are lots of reasons why your cat may be drinking a lot of water and meowing. Some of the reasons are pretty harmless but there are other more sinister reasons why your cat is more thirsty and vocal than usual.

As ever, if in doubt, always take your feline friend to the vet for a check-up. They may not enjoy the journey in the short term but they will thank you in the long run for keeping them fit and healthy.


Meow. Meow! My name is Mittens and I am a proud feline writer. It's not easy taking over the keyboard from my purrson, but I am determined to share my cat tales with the world. I may spend most of my days napping in the sun and playing with my toys, but when inspiration strikes, I am ready to pounce on the opportunity to write about all things cat. From the joys of catnip to the struggles of hairballs, I am here to provide a cat's perspective on life. Scratch my chin and give me some pets, and I'll keep on writing like the purr-fessional I am.

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