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What can cats drink without any ill effects?

Cats have specific nutritional requirements that are different from humans and dogs. While we can enjoy a wide variety of beverages, there are only a few safe, healthy drink options for cats. Providing your cat with appropriate fluids is an important part of caring for their health and wellbeing.


Plain, fresh water should make up the majority of any cat’s fluid intake. Cats who primarily eat dry food need more water to compensate for the lack of moisture in their diet. Make sure clean, cool water is always available. Change water frequently, and wash water and food bowls regularly.

While some cats enjoy drinking running water from taps or fountains, this is not necessary and may actually encourage over-consumption. Stick to routine filling of a water bowl.


Contrary to popular belief, milk is not an essential or necessary beverage for cats after weaning. While kittens need milk from their mother to survive, adult cats do not need milk for proper nutrition.

In fact, most adult cats are lactose intolerant and feeding milk can cause stomach upsets, gas, and diarrhea. Stick to water for your cat’s primary fluid intake.


Unseasoned, sodium-free broths can make good treat options for cats. Chicken, turkey, or beef broths may entice picky cats to drink more. However, broths should only be an occasional treat, not a regular beverage.


Fruit juices like orange juice or apple juice can be appealing to some cats, but they offer little nutritional value. The high sugar content can be problematic, leading to obesity and dental issues. Juices intended for humans should not be a regular part of a cat’s diet.


Plain, weak tea may interest some cats, but in general it does not offer any benefits. The small amounts of caffeine found in tea can actually be harmful to cats. Avoid offering tea to cats.

Coffee and Energy Drinks

Never give your cat coffee, caffeinated soda, energy drinks, or anything containing caffeine. Caffeine is extremely toxic to cats and can cause rapid heart rate, restlessness, seizures, and even death.


Alcohol has similar toxic effects in cats as caffeine. Do not under any circumstances let your cat drink beer, wine, liquor, or food containing alcohol like rum balls.


The carbonation and acidity of sodas makes them a bad choice for cats. Colas and other dark sodas also contain caffeine. The high sugar content can lead to obesity and dental disease. Avoid sodas.

Milk Replacements

Specialty cat milk replacements are formulated to provide necessary nutrients for kittens. While these can be good options for very young kittens who need milk nutrients, they are generally unnecessary for adult cats.

Meat Broths

Some pet food companies make special broths made from meat, vitamins, and minerals. These can encourage picky eaters to eat, but should not replace regular water intake.


In cases of dehydration, electrolyte solutions like Pedialyte can be used under the guidance of a veterinarian to rehydrate cats. The flavored types may be more appealing to cats. However, it should only be used for limited periods as prescribed by your vet.

Coconut Water

Plain coconut water contains electrolytes and nutrients that make it okay for cats in small amounts as an occasional treat. It should not become a regular beverage.


Lemonade contains high amounts of sugar and citric acid that can upset a cat’s stomach. The lemon flavor may entice some cats, but it is not a healthy drink choice.

Green Tea

While green tea contains less caffeine than other teas, it still contains some. The unfamiliar flavor also often deters cats. It is better to avoid serving green tea.

Herbal Teas

Many herbal tea blends contain herbs that are unsafe for cats, like chamomile or lavender. Unless you can absolutely confirm the blend contains only cat-safe herbs, do not serve herbal tea.

Vegetable Broth

Broths made from cat-safe vegetables like carrots may interest some cats, but should only be an occasional treat. Cats require meat-based protein, not vegetables.

Soft Drinks

The combination of carbonation, acid, sugar, and potential caffeine makes soft drinks dangerous for cats. Keep all sodas away from your pets.

Energy Drinks

Energy drinks pose a double threat to cats, containing both caffeine and sugar. Never leave unattended energy drinks where a cat could access and drink them.


While many cat videos feature funny cats stealing beer, it is very unsafe. Both the alcohol and hops used to brew beer can be toxic to cats.


Alcohol content makes any type of wine dangerous for cats. Even a small amount can cause intoxication. Make sure glasses containing wine are not left unattended.


While cats may show interest in drinks designed for human consumption, their biology means very few are safe. Stick to offering plain, fresh water in a frequently washed bowl. Occasional treats of broth, cat milk replacements, or electrolyte solutions can add variety, but should never become a dietary staple or replace proper water intake.

Avoid giving your cat any drinks containing alcohol, caffeine, citric acid, carbonation, sugar, or herbs. Do not allow access to alcoholic beverages or sodas. If you have any concerns about your cat’s hydration or interest in fluids, contact your veterinarian for tailored dietary advice.