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Can Cats Drink Tap Water? (Explained!)

In general, it is safe for cats to drink tap water. Most tap water is treated and considered safe for human consumption, and it’s usually safe for pets as well. However, the safety of tap water can vary depending on your location.

In some areas, tap water may contain additives like fluoride or chlorine, which are generally safe for cats in small amounts.

Cats are wonderful and beloved pets, and as responsible pet owners, we want to ensure their well-being and health. One essential aspect of caring for our feline companions is providing them with proper hydration.

Water is essential for cats to stay healthy, and it’s crucial to consider the source of water we offer them. Many cat owners wonder if tap water is safe for their furry friends.

Understanding Tap Water

Tap water is the water that comes directly from our faucets at home. It’s the most common source of water for us and our pets.

Tap water contains various components, such as minerals and chemicals, which can impact its safety for consumption.

Is It Ok to Give Tap Water to Cats?

A cat drinking tap water

Yes, it is perfectly fine to give your cat tap water. In fact, most cats prefer tap water over filtered or bottled water.

The only time you may want to avoid giving your cat tap water is if the water in your area is known to be contaminated with heavy metals or other toxins.

If you’re not sure whether or not your tap water is safe for consumption, you can contact your local water utility company for more information.

Should Cats Drink Tap Water Or Bottled Water?

There is a debate among cat owners as to whether cats should drink tap water or bottled water. The answer may depend on the quality of your tap water and the preference of your cat.

Tap water in the United States is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is generally safe for human consumption.

However, some communities have higher levels of minerals or contaminants in their water than others. If you are concerned about the quality of your tap water, you can have it tested or opt for bottled water instead.

Cats are obligate carnivores and do not require carbohydrates or plant-based nutrients that are found in fresh fruits and vegetables.

Because of this, they do not benefit from drinking filtered or distilled waters that contain these nutrients. In fact, too much purified water can actually be harmful to cats because it can deplete their bodies of essential minerals like sodium and potassium.

If you decide to give your cat bottled water, make sure it is plain, springwater with no added minerals or flavors.

Some brands of bottled waters marketed specifically for cats contain added vitamins and minerals, but these are not necessary if your cat is eating a balanced diet.

Also Read: What to Do When a Kitten is Not Drinking Water?

Alternatives to Tap Water for Cats

As a pet owner, you want to give your cat the best of everything—and that includes water. But with all the different types of water out there, it can be hard to know which kind is best for your feline friend.

There are a few different types of water that are also safe for cats to drink besides tap water:

  • Filtered water: Filtered water is generally safe for cats to drink, but it is important to check the filter regularly to make sure it is clean and working properly. Bottled spring water is also safe for cats to drink, but it can be expensive.
  • Bottled Water: Bottled Water If you prefer giving your cat bottled water, that’s fine—just be sure to read the label first. Some brands of bottled water contain added minerals or salt, neither of which are necessary (or even healthy) for cats.
  • Distilled water: Some people believe that distilled water or reverse osmosis water is the best type of water for cats to drink, but this is not necessarily true. Distilled or reverse osmosis water may be lacking in minerals that are important for your cat’s health.

Pros and Cons of Tap Water for Cats


  • Cost-Effectiveness and Accessibility: Tap water is readily available and cost-effective. Unlike bottled water, which can be expensive and may not always be convenient to purchase, tap water is easily accessible, making it a convenient option for your feline friend.
  • Availability of Essential Minerals: Tap water often contains essential minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, which are beneficial for cats’ overall health. These minerals help support their bones, teeth, and general well-being.
  • Supports Dental Health: Drinking water, especially tap water, can help reduce plaque and bacteria buildup in your cat’s mouth, promoting better dental health.


  • Presence of Chlorine and Other Chemicals: Tap water is often treated with chlorine and other chemicals to make it safe for human consumption. While these chemicals are generally not harmful to humans, they may be less ideal for cats, who have different sensitivities.
  • Risk of Heavy Metal Contamination: In some areas, tap water might contain traces of heavy metals like lead or copper. Long-term exposure to these metals could be harmful to your cat’s health.
  • Hard Water and Its Impact on Feline Health: Hard water, which contains high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium, can lead to urinary tract issues in cats. It’s essential to be aware of the hardness of your tap water and its potential impact on your pet.

Related: Why My Cat Drinks a Lot of Water? Is it Normal?

How to Evaluating Your Tap Water Quality

Evaluating your tap water quality is essential to ensure that the water you and your family, including your cat and other pets, are consuming is safe and free from contaminants. Here are steps to help you evaluate your tap water quality:

Testing Tap Water for Contaminants

If you’re concerned about your tap water’s quality, you can consider testing it for contaminants. Water testing kits are available, or you can contact your local water authority for water quality reports.

Understanding Water Quality Reports

If your water comes from a public water supply, you can review the water quality reports provided by your water utility to understand the composition and potential contaminants in your tap water.

Conduct In-Home Testing

If you want more detailed information about your tap water, you can consider conducting in-home water testing.

Water testing kits are available online or at local hardware stores. These kits can help identify specific contaminants that may not be covered in the general water quality report.

Pay Attention to Taste, Odor, and Appearance

While the water quality report provides valuable data, sometimes issues with tap water quality can be evident through taste, odor, or appearance.

If you notice any unusual tastes, smells (e.g., chlorine, metallic), or discoloration in your tap water, it’s essential to investigate further.

Consider Water Filters

If you have concerns about your tap water quality or want an added layer of protection, consider using a water filter.

Water filters can help remove impurities, including chlorine, lead, and other contaminants, providing cleaner and safer water for consumption.

Seek Professional Advice

If you have specific concerns about your tap water quality or if you are unsure about the water quality report, consider seeking advice from water quality experts or local environmental agencies.

They can provide additional insights and guidance on maintaining safe drinking water.

Is Tap Water Safe for Other Pets?

While most tap water is safe for all pets, there are some things to keep in mind. Depending on where you live, your tap water may contain chlorine, fluoride, or other chemicals that can be harmful to pets if consumed in large quantities.

If you’re concerned about the safety of your tap water, consider having it tested by a professional.

Recommendations for Cat Owners

When choosing water for cats consider your cat’s preferences, any health concerns, and the quality of your tap water when deciding on the best water source for your pet.

Regardless of the water source you choose, ensure that your cat has access to clean and fresh water at all times. Proper hydration is crucial for their overall health and well-being.


Most municipal water sources in the United States are treated with chlorine, which is safe for cats. However, some areas have high levels of fluoride or other minerals in their water, which can be harmful to cats if consumed in large quantities.

If you’re concerned about the quality of your tap water, you can always give your cat filtered or bottled water to drink.

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