What Can Kittens Drink?

As a new kitten owner, you may be wondering what to feed your tiny feline friend. Watching them lap up liquid from a bowl or bottle is undoubtedly one of the cutest things you’ll ever see. But it’s not just about the aesthetics; it’s crucial to understand what liquids are suitable for your kitten’s growth and development.

While there are several types of liquids that kittens can drink, not all of them are created equal. Milk may seem like a logical choice, but cow’s milk isn’t appropriate for kittens as it can cause stomach upset and diarrhea, leading to dehydration.

So what can kittens drink? Luckily, there are several options available. One of the best choices is kitten-specific milk replacement formula, which provides growing kittens with the nutrients and energy they need to thrive.

But wait, there’s more. Kittens can also safely consume water, wet kitten food, and chicken broth. Each option has unique benefits that should be offered at various stages of your kitten’s growth and development.

In this blog post, we’ll delve deeper into what kittens can drink and when they should be offered specific liquids. Whether you’re a first-time kitten owner or just want to learn more about feline nutrition, keep reading to discover all the essential facts about what your little furball should be drinking.

The Importance of Hydration for Kittens

Kittens, with their tiny bodies and fast metabolisms, need a sufficient amount of fluids to maintain proper bodily functions and avoid dehydration. Dehydration in kittens can lead to serious health issues like urinary tract infections, kidney disease, and even death.

Kittens require more water than adult cats due to their smaller size and higher activity levels. They lose fluids through activities such as playing and exploring their environment. That’s why it’s essential for kitten owners to provide access to clean and fresh water at all times. Make sure to refill their water bowl regularly and keep it away from their food.

While water is the most important source of hydration for kittens, wet food can also be a great option. Wet food contains a high percentage of water, making it an excellent source of hydration for kittens who may not be drinking enough water on their own. Milk replacers can also be used to supplement a kitten’s diet and provide additional hydration. However, they should never replace water as the primary source of hydration since they lack essential nutrients that kittens need.

As a responsible kitten owner, you might be tempted to give your furry little friend beverages like tea or juice. However, these types of drinks should be avoided as they contain harmful sugars and caffeine that can be toxic for your kitten.

Water as a Drink for Kittens

Water is a precious resource that all living beings need to survive, including our adorable little kittens. It’s a crucial element that helps maintain their body temperature, aids in digestion, and flushes toxins from their body. So, as a responsible kitten owner, it’s essential to provide them with fresh and clean water at all times.

Unlike adult cats, kittens require more water to stay hydrated because their bodies are not yet fully developed. Therefore, you must ensure that they always have access to water. You can offer water in various ways – a shallow bowl or dish, a pet water fountain, or even a dripping faucet. However, keep in mind that kittens may prefer drinking running water as it simulates their natural instinct to drink from streams or moving water sources.

Along with providing fresh and clean water, it’s vital to monitor your kitten’s water intake. Kittens should drink about 1/2 cup of water per day for every pound of body weight. If you notice signs of dehydration such as lethargy or dry mouth or that your kitten is not drinking enough water, it’s best to consult a veterinarian immediately.

Milk as a Drink for Kittens

However, when it comes to milk, cow’s milk is not the answer.

Many people assume that cow’s milk is a safe and healthy drink for kittens, but this is far from the truth. In fact, cow’s milk can be harmful to their health. Kittens require a specific type of milk known as “kitten milk” or “cat milk” that is tailored to meet their nutritional needs.

One reason why cow’s milk isn’t suitable for kittens is that it contains lactose, which many kittens are unable to digest properly. This can cause digestive upset such as vomiting and diarrhea. Additionally, cow’s milk doesn’t contain several essential nutrients that kittens require, like taurine and vitamin E.

Thankfully, specially formulated kitten milk has got you covered. It provides the perfect balance of nutrients that kittens need for healthy growth and development. You can easily purchase kitten milk in both liquid and powdered forms at your local pet store.

It’s crucial to remember that even kitten milk should only be given to kittens up until a certain age. It’s best to wean them off milk and transition them onto solid food between 4-6 weeks of age. Continuing to give them milk beyond this point can lead to nutritional imbalances and obesity.

Broth as a Drink for Kittens

While cow’s milk is a big no-no, specially formulated kitten milk is readily available. But have you ever thought of giving broth as a drink for your kitten?

Broth is an excellent option for kittens who need to stay hydrated, and it’s not just any regular drink. It is a flavorful and nutritious option that can help replenish lost fluids and essential nutrients in their body. Broth can be made from chicken, beef, or fish, and it’s essential to choose the right one according to your kitten’s preferences and dietary needs.

When making broth for kittens, you must avoid using any harmful ingredients such as onion, garlic, or salt. These ingredients can be toxic to kittens and cause severe health problems. Instead, opt for fresh meat or fish, vegetables like carrots and celery, and herbs like parsley to add flavor.

Kittens with digestive issues or those who are not weaned yet may find broth easier to digest than solid food. It can also help stimulate their appetite and encourage them to eat more. However, it’s crucial to introduce broth slowly and monitor your kitten’s reaction to ensure they’re not experiencing any negative side effects.

It’s important to note that broth should not replace a balanced diet for kittens. They still need essential nutrients that can only be found in their regular meals. Broth can serve as a supplement to their diet and provide extra hydration when needed.

Other Beverages and Their Suitability for Kittens

While water should always be your kitten’s primary source of hydration, there may be times when you want to provide them with a different beverage. However, it is crucial to know which beverages are safe and suitable for kittens.

Let’s first talk about milk. Kittens may adore the taste of milk, but it’s not an excellent option for them. Most kittens are lactose intolerant, which means they cannot digest lactose found in milk properly. This can lead to digestive upset, diarrhea, and other health issues. If you want to give your kitten a dairy-based beverage, it’s best to use a lactose-free formula designed specifically for kittens.

Next up is juice. Although some types of juice are safe in small amounts, it’s generally best to avoid giving your kitten juice altogether. Most juices contain high sugar levels and low nutritional value, leading to weight gain and other health problems. Additionally, many juices contain additives and preservatives that can be harmful to your kitten’s health.

Now let’s move on to tea and coffee. The answer is a big NO. Both tea and coffee contain caffeine, which can be toxic to cats in large amounts. Even small amounts of caffeine can cause agitation, restlessness and other negative side effects in cats. It’s best to stick with water or specialized kitten formulas for hydration and avoid all other beverages unless specifically recommended by your veterinarian.


In conclusion, as a new kitten owner, it’s crucial to understand the importance of providing your furry friend with appropriate liquids for their growth and development. While cow’s milk may seem like an obvious choice, it can cause stomach upset and diarrhea in kittens, leading to dehydration. Instead, specially formulated kitten milk is the way to go. It provides all the necessary nutrients and energy that growing kittens need to thrive.

Water is an essential source of hydration for kittens, and wet food can also be a great option since it contains a high percentage of water. Plus, who doesn’t love a little bit of wet food? Broth made from chicken, beef or fish is another excellent option that can help replenish lost fluids and essential nutrients in their body.

It’s important to note that even kitten milk should only be given up until a certain age. Between 4-6 weeks of age is the perfect time to transition them onto solid foods. Continuing to give them milk beyond this point can lead to nutritional imbalances and obesity.

Other beverages such as juice, tea or coffee should be avoided altogether since they contain harmful sugars and caffeine that can be toxic for your kitten. As responsible kitten owners, we must provide access to clean and fresh water at all times and monitor our kitten’s water intake regularly.

By understanding what kittens can drink and when they should be offered specific liquids, we ensure our little furball stays healthy and hydrated throughout their growth and development journey.