Can Cats Drink Salt Water?

Before you take your cat at the beach or salt water pools a question may pop up in your mind, can cats drink salt water?  Surprisingly the answer is yes, cats can drink salt water. The tolerance level of salt water in cats is higher than humans and many other animals. The cat can even hydrate them by drinking salt water. 

According to Angel Alvarado, LVT (Licensed Veterinary Technician): drinking salt water from pools is generally safe for cats. Salt water pools contain a low concentration of salt, which cats can easily tolerate. 

Is Salt Water Bad for Cats?

Salt water is not only bad for cats but it is also bad for humans and other animals. Cat kidney can filter out the excess amounts of sodium than human kidneys do, but there is a limit on how much the kidney can process. Though your cat can tolerate high levels of salt in their diet, this does not mean that it should be part of their daily diet.  If you allow your cat to drink excessive amounts of salt water, there is a good chance their kidney will get damage.

Studies have found an excess amount of salt in the cat diet could result in many health conditions besides kidney damage.  Following are the list of excess salt effects on cats body:

  • Increase the risk of cardiovascular disease 
  • Can lead to stomach cancer. 
  • Feline Osteoporosis (weakens bones)
  • Dehydration 

How Much Salt Water Can a Cat Tolerate? 

Average-sized cats can tolerate a minimum of 21 milligrams and excess of 42 milligrams of salt in their diet per day. Too much salt in cats’ diets can result in many health problems including kidney and heart conditions. Sometimes your cat may even die of dehydration for drinking too much saltwater. 

According to cat expert, Sandy Murphey (Researching cat behavior, health, food ingredients, vaccines, drugs): “Adding excess salt may lead to salt poisoning which is when the electrolyte balance is disturbed. Large amounts of salt can produce excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning in pets. Signs that your pet may have eaten too many salty foods include vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, elevated body temperature, seizures, and even death”

You can also read my other post- 7 common diseases in cats, where I explain more about cat disease & symptoms.

Why Do Some Cats Crave Salt?

The fluid in cats’ bodies contains salt, and when they lose that fluid, (like by sweating) the body wants to make up for it, so it sends the signals to get more, which is the craving!

All Cats have different likings and cravings. If your cats have craved salt, it’s quite normal. But many times young cats want to eat salt which is an unusual behavior of cats. Of course, young cats will love to eat salt but the question is how much can their body tolerate? In this case, you need to talk to the veteran for a good solution. 

No veteran will ever recommend feeding direct salt to the cats. Instead, they will recommend is to mix the salt with cat foods. Cats usually drink salt water when they are thirsty, so make sure you offer your cat enough pure water to keep them hydrated. 

What Should Cats Drink?

Cats should really drink one thing to stay hydrated that is freshwater, which is safe for the cats. Young kittens can drink the mother’s milk until they are weaned. Young cats older than 4 weeks can drink water as well as their mother’s milk. 

Most adult cats love to drink milk (cow milk) but should not provide them milk because they are lactose intolerant. If your cat does not loves to drink direct water, mix water with their food. 

Following are 7  tips to make your cats drink more water:

  • Add cat food flavor to your cat’s water.
  • Mix water with dry food.
  • Keep the water container in multiple places.
  • Use drinking fountains.
  • Clean the water bowls once a week.
  • Replace their water at least once a day.
  • Provide good quality water.

How Much Water Does a Cat Need?

Drinking water is important for all living species including cats. Water helps to operate natural functioning for the body efficiently. Every living mammal need to drink necessary amount of water to keep them healthy, which leads to the question of how much water a cat should drink every day to keep them healthy?

Actually it depends on the cat’s age, size, life stage, and some other factors.  Especially senior cats will need more water than young cats. 

  • Cat about 4 kilograms should drink 200 ml to 250 ml water per day.
  • A cat that weighs 5-pound should drink 3.5 to 4.5 ounces of water per day.
  • A cat that weight 10-pound cats should drink 7 to 9 ounces of water per day
  • An adult cat that eats weight food regularly needs to drink 3.85 to 4.4 ounces of water per day.

Final Thoughts

Maybe you are surprised to learn that the cat kidney can process a large amount of salt water than humans and many other animals. Cats can drink salt water in a small amount, but make sure it does not become their habit.

If your cat drinks salt or seawater every day it can cause many health problems. Though the cat’s body needs sodium ion for natural functioning, I recommend mixing a small amount of salt with their food will help.  

Salt or seawater is not the solution to keep you cat hydrate. I suggest you provide your cat with fresh water alongside a wet food diet. 

If your cat drinks salt water from salt water pools, make sure you cover your salt water pools with pool covers or barricades to restrict your cat access.