• Thu. May 23rd, 2024

What Can Cats Drink Besides Water? 3 Vet-Reviewed Alternatives


May 23, 2023
Domestic cat sitting on the carpet and drinking milk from bowl in the room at home


Domestic cat sitting on the carpet and drinking milk from bowl in the room at home
Dr. Athena Gaffud Photo

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Cat owners know that cats can be finicky when it comes to drinking water, or maybe your cat is just plain bored with water. Sometimes it may seem the only source of hydration your cat receives is from the moisture content in wet canned cat food. If your cat doesn’t seem to have a desire for water, can a cat drink something else besides water? Luckily, there are alternatives you can try that should entice your kitty to drink.

In this guide, we’ll list the alternatives that are safe and worth giving a whirl. Let’s find out what they are.


The 3 Alternatives to Water That Cats Can Drink

1. Cat Milk

Cute Scottish fold cat drinking milk at home
Image Credit: Aquarius Studio, Shutterstock

Some of you may raise your eyebrows in skepticism on this one, but cats can drink lactose-free cat milk. Adult cats are actually lactose intolerant, and drinking cow’s milk, plant milk, or any other type of milk can cause gastrointestinal upset.

Kittens have the lactose enzyme that allows them to drink their mother’s milk, but this enzyme is lost after a few months of life, which is why adult cats cannot digest milk. On the other hand, although cat’s milk may not contain lactose, it’s high in fat and calories and should only be given as a treat.

2. Broth

Cats are obligate carnivores and require meat in their diets. Since broth comes from some type of protein, odds are your cat will lap it up. You can make your own broth by boiling chicken bones or some other suitable meat, such as rib bones or marrow bones—just be sure to omit harmful seasonings like salt, pepper, onion, or garlic.

If you’re pressed for time, you can always purchase broths that come in many yummy flavors like tuna, salmon, chicken, and duck. Broth is excellent to add to your cat’s regular dry food for added moisture.

3. Tuna Juice

Canned tuna
Image Credit: Kseniia Ponomarenko, Shutterstock

What cat doesn’t like tuna? Better yet, what cat wouldn’t like tuna juice? Similar to bone broth, tuna juice can hydrate your kitty, all while providing nutrients at the same time, such as omega fatty acids. Tuna water is low in carbs and high in protein, making it an ideal tasty treat. Ensure you skip tuna in oil and use tuna in water instead to keep your kitty from getting an upset tummy.


What Not to Give Your Cat as an Alternative to Water

Now that we know what alternatives to water cats can safely have, what should they not have? Here are liquids to avoid giving your kitty.

1. Alcohol

Alcohol is an absolute no-no for cats. Alcohol is dehydrating and can make your cat very sick; it’s a no-brainer that you should never give your cat alcohol for any reason.

2. Caffeine

Cats cannot process caffeine, and not to mention, it can be toxic to your cat. Caffeine can cause an increase in blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmias, and even tremors and seizures. Caffeine can also cause vomiting and diarrhea in your cat.

cat sniffing the coffee cup
Image Credit: Sab Qadeer, Unsplash

3. Juices & Sugary Drinks

You may have run across sources claiming it’s ok to give your cat apple juice, but apple juice is high in sugar and can lead to obesity. We recommend avoiding apple juice or any type of juice or carbonated drinks. They hold no nutritional value and can make your cat obese or sick.


Even though these alternatives to water are safe for your cat, you should only give them in moderation. The best way to keep your kitty hydrated is by encouraging him to drink fresh water. Offering wet cat food is another option to help keep your kitty hydrated due to the moisture content, but this option may not be enough. Try placing water bowls with fresh water in every room.

If that doesn’t work, try different bowls in case your cat is picky and doesn’t like the water bowl. You can also purchase a cat water fountain. The flowing water from these fountains may pique your kitty’s interest and entice him to drink.

Featured Image Credit: AnnaStills, Shutterstock

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