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Can Cats Drink Smartwater or Flavored Water? Health Risks & Advice

American shorthair cat eating at home
Image Credit: Apicha Bas, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Savannah Stanfield

Water is one of the most important elements that living things need for survival as it plays an important role in proper body function. Of course, this includes cats as well, but the problem is that many cats are finicky and don’t love drinking water.

A failure to drink enough water can lead to dehydration, which can lead to other health problems as well. That’s why it’s important that even finicky cats drink enough water. And as a cat owner, you may be wondering if you can give your cat certain types of water in order to better than chances that they’ll drink it. When it comes to water alternatives,

Cats can drink plain Smartwater in limited amounts, but they shouldn’t drink flavored water at all. Continue reading to learn why this is the case.

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Can Cats Drink Smartwater?

Smartwater is made by Glaceau and is one of the most popular brands of water on the market today. Before we get into whether or not cats can drink Smartwater, it’s important to note that there are different types of water under the Smartwater brand. Not only does Smartwater have plain bottled water (pH-balanced), but they also have alkaline water, water with antioxidants, and flavored water as well. The type of Smartwater determines whether it is safe for your cat.

himalayan cat drinking water hepper nom nom bowl

What Types of Smartwater Are Safe for Cats?

In general, the plain, pH-balanced Smartwater is safe for cats to drink. It contains no sugar, sodium, fluoride, artificial flavors, or colorings. Other types of Smartwater other than the plain, pH-balanced water should not be given to cats. That includes alkaline water, antioxidant water, and flavored water.

The reason for this is that these types of water have different nutrients and/or artificial flavors in them than just plain water does. Your cat may not necessarily need these nutrients and they may not be good for your cat either.

But, even plain Smartwater should not be given to cats in large amounts or too frequently.  Although it is free of added sodium, sugar, and other nutrients, it does contain added electrolytes. Electrolytes in high amounts are not good for cats because they can mess up a cat’s normal bodily function. Let’s look at exactly what electrolytes are and why too many of them aren’t good for cats.

What Are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes are essentially substances that have a positive or negative charge when dissolved in water. They help to regulate your body, such as causing muscles to contract, balancing fluids, and hydrating you, especially because your body loses electrolytes through urination and sweat.

Examples of electrolytes include:
  • Sodium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Chloride
  • Phosphate
  • Bicarbonate

But, having too much or too few electrolytes in your body can lead to problems such as headaches, weakness, seizures, nausea and vomiting, kidney problems, etc., depending on what electrolytes there is an imbalance of.

What Do Electrolytes Have to Do With Cats?

Even though cats are completely different from humans, our bodies still function in basically the same way. There are a few differences in how humans and cats process food, for example, but in general, electrolytes work the same way inside a cat’s body that they do in a human’s.

With that being said, Smartwater is a great option to give to cats that do seem dehydrated. Dehydration in cats means that their bodies are losing excess fluid along with minerals such as sodium and potassium. Smartwater can help replenish some of these nutrients since it does contain electrolytes.

But the reason you shouldn’t give it to them regularly, especially if your cat isn’t dehydrated, is that you don’t want to cause an electrolyte imbalance in your cat. For example, excess potassium, an electrolyte, in your cat’s blood can cause weakness and heart problems. You don’t want your healthy cat consuming too many of these nutrients through water since cats sweat and lose electrolytes differently than humans do.

Cat drinking from a blue bowl
Image Credit: birgl, Pixabay

Can Cats Drink Flavored Water?

Cats shouldn’t drink flavored water, even if that’s the only type of water you can get your cat to drink. The reason is that flavored waters often contain artificial flavors and sugar, but even water that contains natural flavors still contains sugar.

Sugar, in general, is not bad for cats. Rather, there are certain types of sugar that you have to be careful of giving to your cat, regardless of what the sugar is in. Artificial sugar that is found in many drinks can be toxic to cats, but even if the sugar used in flavored water is not artificial, cats still don’t need it.

Excess sugar in cats can cause nausea and vomiting, and giving your cat flavored water regularly can cause other problems to develop over time. Although flavored waters contain less sugar than beverages such as soda, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are good for cats. In fact, a cat gets all the sugar it needs from cat food, and extra sugar is not an essential part of a cat’s diet.

What Is the Best Water for Cats?

So, you now know that Smartwater is okay for cats in moderation, but flavored water should not be given to cats at all. With that being said, what type of water is the best for cats? The best answer to this question is that any plain water that is safe for humans is safe for cats too.

The main reason that Smartwater should not be given to cats too often is that it has added electrolytes. But most water already has electrolytes in it, so your cat can get the electrolytes that he or she needs just by drinking regular water without any extra electrolytes added to it.

In general, tap water, bottled water, or any other type of filtered, treated water is the safest for cats as these types of water have been filtered to remove harmful substances or impurities. Distilled water is generally not good for cats because it has been too filtered and the electrolytes and minerals have been removed. Spring or well water is okay for cats occasionally, but neither of these types of water has been treated and still contains impurities.


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How to Get Your Cat to Drink More Water

Getting your cat to drink more water is not always as simple as offering a different type of water to him or her, especially if your cat doesn’t like to drink water and has a medical condition in which he or she needs to drink more water. You may have to change the way that water is offered to your cat instead. Here are some things you can try.

Offer Wet Food

Wet cat food has a higher moisture content than dry food does, so if your cat isn’t drinking enough water, then try switching to wet food. However, wet food still may not offer our cat all of the water that he or she needs, so you may have to add a bit more water to the food in order to get your cat to drink it. You can also try simply adding water to dry food, but not all cats will like this and won’t eat at all, so it’s better to not add water to dry food if that’s the only way your cat will eat it. You can also try adding a small amount of broth to regular water so that the water smells more enticing to your cat.

cat eating
Image Credit: Elizabett, Shutterstock

Try Different Dishes

Some cats just don’t drink water because they don’t like the dish that the water is in. The dish may be too small or is the wrong shape for your cat, so try different water bowls until you find one your cat likes. Some cats also don’t like standing water and prefer to drink water that is moving. If that’s the case, try a bowl with a water fountain that keeps the water constantly flowing.

Change the Location

Your cat may just not like the location of the water bowl. Maybe it’s too close to the food or litter box, for example. Or maybe you have multiple cats and your cat doesn’t like to share a bowl. In either case, moving the bowl or adding more bowls may entice your cat to drink more water.

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Final Thoughts

Smartwater is okay for cats in small amounts or if your cat is dehydrated, but flavored water is not. If your cat isn’t drinking enough water, there are some things you can try to get your cat to drink more without offering water that isn’t good for him. If nothing else, ask your vet how you can get your cat to drink more water.

Related Read:

Featured Image: Apicha Bas, Shutterstock

About the Author

Savannah Stanfield
Savannah Stanfield
Savannah started as a science teacher and is now a full-time freelance cat writer. She loves traveling, tending her garden, and writing about wildlife and nature. She's also the proud parent of a daughter, three cats (Thunder, Kittylina, and Bubba), a long-haired Chihuahua (Penny), and a turtle (Creek).

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