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Can Cats Drink Alkaline Water? Vet-Reviewed Nutritional Fatcs & FAQ

Alkaline water system
Image Credit: Food Impressions, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Kristin Hitchcock

Vet approved

	Dr. Tabitha Henson (Vet) Photo

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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While alkaline water may have some suggested health benefits, it should not be provided to felines. Alkaline water can have a detrimental effect on a cat’s digestive system, so it should be particularly avoided after a feline has eaten. In some cases, too much alkaline water can interfere with digestion.

However, cats don’t usually consume enough alkaline water for serious problems to occur. Your cat would have to drink only alkaline water for serious consequences to occur.

In other words, a little bit of alkaline water isn’t going to hurt most cats. Instead, they would have to drink mostly alkaline water for it to matter much.

Generally, we recommend a natural source of water that has not been tampered with. Tap water works in most cases as long as your water is safe to drink. If you aren’t under a boil warning, then your tap water is perfectly safe for your feline to drink.

You may want to install a filter if your feline has some underlying problems that require extra-clean water. However, the filter should preferably not alter the pH, which needs to stay in a normal range.

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What pH of Water Should Cats Drink?

Since cats don’t need alkaline water, what pH water do they need?

Preferably, cats need water that is in the normal range. Generally, this is somewhere around a 6. More basic is okay, though. Cats may prefer slightly more basic water than a six at around 6.3. However, cats aren’t extremely picky about the pH in many cases. As long as it is around a 6, they are typically fine.

In the real world, cats are likely drinking water that ranges in pH. Therefore, even if they drink some more alkaline water, it should balance out with the other water that they’re drinking. The problem arises when they are only drinking alkaline water, which might occur if their owner only provides them bottled, alkaline water.

In these cases, the pH of the water would not balance out over time, eventually leading to severe problems.

Anything outside this normal range can upset your cat’s digestive system pH. When this occurs, it may affect your cat’s ability to digest food normally. They may also experience some other digestive problems, like stomach upset.

cat drinking water
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What Happens if a Cat Drinks Alkaline Water?

If your cat only drinks a small amount of alkaline water, the odds are that they won’t be affected. While their system will not be used to the alkaline water, a small amount won’t make much of a splash.

However, problems will occur if your cat drinks too much alkaline water. If consumed in high amounts, your cat’s digestive fluids may be affected. They could become less acidic thanks to the alkaline water, which may, in turn, affect their ability to break down food.

In the short term, this is likely to cause digestive upset. Your cat may experience stomach pain and diarrhea. But, over time, malnutrition will occur. Your feline will be unable to digest their food correctly, so they won’t get the nutrients they need.

Furthermore, the second your cat takes a sip of alkaline water, their stomach acid is likely to become less acidic. Therefore, the food they are eating around this time may not digest properly. Luckily, as long as they don’t drink too much, the problem should fix itself as the stomach acid becomes acidic once more.

Because of this, though, you mustn’t provide alkaline water when your feline is eating. Their meal may not be adequately digested if they drink too much.

In some cases, cats may refuse to eat since doing so may upset their stomach after drinking alkaline water. Of course, being unable to digest their food may also cause lethargy, further making your cat unable to eat. In the end, this may leave you with a tired cat that refuses food—which would call for a trip to the vet.

Therefore, while you should pay attention to your cat’s water needs, there is no reason to seek out water of a particular pH. Instead, you should provide your cat with water within the normal range.

water bottles
Image Credit: Hans, Pixabay

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Is Tap Water Okay for Cats?

Unless you live in an area with a boil water warning, your tap water is excellent for cats. It is a common misconception that bottled water is cleaner than tap water. As long as your home’s pipes are well cared for, the tap water you get from your faucet is probably the same stuff you get from a bottle.

Tap water is often a bit healthier for your cat than bottled water, as it contains essential nutrients and minerals that not all bottled waters contain. While water usually contains these minerals in tiny amounts, they can be enough to cover any nutritional gaps that your cat may be experiencing.

The CDC states that the United States tap water is extremely safe—one of the safest water systems in the world. All public water systems undergo regular testing and fall within the EPA’s safe range.

Bottled water is held to the same standards. Therefore, while many companies may claim that bottled water is cleaner, this typically isn’t the case.

As long as the water is safe for you to drink, it is safe for your feline to drink. In many cases, tap water is the best option for your cat since it doesn’t contain any pH differences and is as close to natural water as possible.

cat drinking from faucet
Image Credit: Sample Stars, Shutterstock

What Kind of Water Should Cats Drink?

Preferably, you want your cat’s water as clean as possible and very close to its natural state. Water that has had lots of stuff added to it or its pH balance messed with likely isn’t suitable. It may even cause some health problems since it can affect the pH of your cat’s digestive system. We also do not know how added minerals and other ingredients may affect your feline.

Therefore, it is best to stick to filtered tap water when possible. You do not want to use distilled water, as it is acidic and can cause stones.

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While alkaline water may have some benefits for people, you should avoid giving it to your feline in any high amount. Generally, water with too high of a pH can affect your cat’s digestive system and potentially raise the pH of their stomach acid, which can prevent them from digesting food.

Therefore, it is best to avoid alkaline water. Instead, your cat needs water at a pH of around 6, though slightly more plain water is fine. You want to give them natural water that has not had its pH changed for the most part.

Typically, tap water is excellent. It is the cheapest (and often the safest) option there is. As long as you can consume the tap water, your feline should consume it as well.

Cats rarely need their water adjusted. However, if your cat has any health problems, be sure to talk to your vet about their water. Sometimes certain minerals in water can affect cats with underlying problems. However, pH is typically not something that vets recommend adjusting.

Featured Image Credit: Food Impressions, Shutterstock

About the Author

Kristin Hitchcock
Kristin Hitchcock
Kristin is passionate about helping pet parents create a fulfilling life with their pets by informing them on the latest scientific research and helping them choose the best products for their pets. She currently resides in Tennessee with four dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard, though she has dreams of owning chickens one-day!

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