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Why Does My Cat Lay Down to Drink Water? 5 Likely Reasons & Treatment

bengal cat playing water in the bowl
Image Credit: kalyanby, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Jordyn Alger

Cats do all sorts of quirky things. Much of this behavior merely reflects their spunky personalities, but what about when it isn’t?

When your cat is exhibiting abnormal behavior, that can be understandably concerning—especially regarding their food or water. Disruptions to feeding and drinking habits can be signs of worrying conditions. If you are concerned about your cat’s well-being, contact your vet.

To learn more about why your cat lays down when it drinks water, read on to learn a few reasons that could be causing the behavior.

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The 5 Reasons Why Cats Lay Down to Drink Water

1. Anxiety

Just like humans, cats can suffer from anxiety. Often, cat owners will notice signs of anxiety in their furry friends before they reach a year of age. As they grow older, the condition may worsen.

Anxiety can cause physical issues in your cat. He may be restless, leading to pacing, hiding, or hypervigilance. He also may drool or have a decreased appetite. Depending on the severity of the case, your cat may also display other symptoms.

How to Treat

Treating anxiety requires a balance between managing your cat’s environment, teaching them coping mechanisms, and giving them medical supplements. If ignored, your cat’s anxiety will grow worse over time.

It is vital to catch this issue as early as possible so treatment can begin shortly. Therapy for anxiety requires time and dedication, so don’t expect your cat to be better overnight. Your feline will need your support and patience to manage his anxiety in the long term.

2. Dehydration

grey cat drinking water from bowl
Image Credit: Prilutskiy, Shutterstock

This may have been apparent to you, but one reason that your cat is behaving oddly around his water bowl could be that he is dehydrated.

Hydration is vital in cats. If there is insufficient water intake, their bodies can lose regulation of several vital functions. Cats often experience weakness, lethargy, poor appetite, and dry mucous membranes when dehydrated. If you suspect your cat has not been getting enough water, contact your vet as soon as possible.

How to Treat

To help your cat increase their water intake, you can set out extra water bowls or feed them wet food. If you take your cat to the vet, they may suggest that your cat undergo fluid therapy to help bring his hydration levels back up.

Hepper stainless steel water fountain

Making sure your cat drinks enough water can require a little creativity. A nicely made water fountain like Hepper's Stainless Steel Cat Water Fountain will encourage your cat to stay hydrated by providing fresh, flowing water. We particularly like this model because it's easy to clean and offers excellent triple filtration, multiple flow modes, and a large capacity.

At Excited Cats, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

3. Kidney Disease

Sick cat in animal hospital
Image Credit: Kachalkina Veronika, Shutterstock

Kidneys are an essential part of your cat’s fluid maintenance. When he is suffering from kidney disease, fluid maintenance is thrown out of balance.

There are two types of kidney disease. One is known as acute kidney disease, and the other is chronic kidney disease. The cause of either of these could be caused by several factors, such as injuries, infections, or genetics.

Symptoms of kidney disease include increased thirst, dehydration, urinary difficulty, foul breath, decreased appetite, fever, or edema.

How to Treat

Through medications, hydration, and diet, kidney disease can be managed. Depending on the stage of your cat’s disease, a different treatment may be recommended.

Unfortunately, cats can’t live without their kidneys. Since kidney disease is often progressive and debilitating, it can often lead to death. Some cats may need to be humanely euthanized.

However, providing a good quality of life for felines with kidney disease is possible. If your cat has kidney disease, reach out to your vet for treatment options.

4. Diabetes

If your cat has diabetes, that means he is unable to create sufficient insulin. Without enough insulin, he will not be able to balance his own blood sugar levels. Feline diabetes is relatively common. Indications that your cat may have diabetes include increased thirst, excessive urination, higher appetite, and obesity.

If your cat’s diabetes is not properly treated, it can lead to a host of other problems. Untreated diabetes can result in vomiting, severe loss of weight and appetite, dehydration, impaired motor function, comas, and death. If you think your cat may have diabetes, it is essential to talk to your vet.

How to Treat

The primary treatment for diabetes is insulin therapy. Regular visits to your vet will be necessary, as well as scheduled shots. You will need to administer the shots, but as daunting as that can sound, your vet will be able to walk you through the process.

Diet management may also be a part of the treatment. A diet low in carbohydrates is beneficial to cats with diabetes. However, consult your vet before making any significant dietary changes.

5. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism in cats occurs when there are not enough thyroid hormones being created. Cats may be born with this condition, or they can obtain it later in life. However, hypothyroidism is relatively rare in cats. In fact, it is not unheard of for cats to acquire the disease as a result of over-corrective treatment for hyperthyroidism.

Lethargy, weight gain, lacking appetite, and poor skin and fur quality are all signs of hypothyroidism. Although hypothyroidism is rarely fatal in cats, it may be fatal to kittens born with hypothyroidism.

How to Treat

Thyroid medication supplements are often used to treat hypothyroidism. They are generally given orally and are used to restore the balance of thyroid hormones. Depending on the case, some cats may not need to take the supplements forever. However, there are many instances in which cats must take supplements for life.

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It can be genuinely frightening when our cats are not their healthiest, happiest selves. If you think your cat is struggling with any of the listed conditions, reach out to your vet to help your cat get the treatment they need.

We hope that this article has helped shed some light on why your cat may be lying down to drink, and with this knowledge, we hope you can get your furry friend the support they need!

Featured Image Credit: kalyanby, Shutterstock

About the Author

Jordyn Alger
Jordyn Alger
Cats are Jordyn’s passion. Whenever she has the opportunity she loves to learn about animals and share her knowledge with everyone. She is devoted to her sassy tabby cat named Jack and works hard to buy him his favorite treats and toys. Discovering new ways to better care for her cat is always on her to-do list, and she is eager to help pet parents everywhere. In Jordyn's spare time, she loves to write, read, and take long walks. She has a creative spirit, which often helps her to come up with funny cat names.

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