Is Ice Water Safe for Cats?




Ice water in a bowl

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On a hot summer’s day, would you prefer sipping on a room temperature glass of water or chilled water with ice tinkling against the glass as you bring it to you lips? The answer is a no brainer – for us, as well as our feline companions!

It is safe to give ice water to cats. Cats prefer drinking cooler water, so add a few blocks of ice to their water bowls, especially in summer. Ensure that the water used to make the ice is safe to drink. Supervise cats playing with ice cubes because it can damage their teeth if they bite them.

Keeping my cats hydrated and refreshed during the hot summer months is one of my top priorities. Cats have thick fur, and unlike humans, they cannot sweat to cool themselves. A good way to help them regulate their body temperature on scorching days is by adding a few blocks of ice to their water. It encourages them to drink more and prevents them from overheating, however, giving your cat ice does have a few risks to keep in mind!

Putting Ice Cubes in a Cat’s Water Bowl

Most cats love water that is cool and flowing, because it seems fresher to them. There are water bowls available on the market that are designed to keep your cat’s water perfectly chilled. However, the much simpler and more affordable solution is just to put a handful of ice blocks into your cat’s regular water bowl.

Observe how your cat reacts the first time you give them ice water. Some cats are intrigued by the ice and bat and paw at it, watching it bob around. My cats are still young and very playful and sometimes the ice gets out the bowl and all over the floor. You may not want a mess, so keep an eye on them!

I find it so entertaining watching my cats play ice hockey, that I sometimes just give them some ice to play with. One should always supervise cats when giving them ice, because biting the ice can cause them to hurt or break their teeth, especially as kittens. When cats lick ice a lot, they can also get the “brain freeze” sensation. While it does hurt for a few seconds, it does not do them any real harm, and their reaction is hilarious.

While giving a cat ice in their water is cooling and encourages them to drink more water on very hot days, cats do not need to drink ice water on a regular basis. It may lower their overall body temperature, and this can adversely affect their metabolism and digestion.

Encourage Your Cat to Drink More Water

Drinking enough water is vital to your feline’s health. It keeps their kidneys and other organs functioning properly. You may have noticed that you cat does not often drink from their water bowl. Is this cause for concern?

Cats evolved in the wild to get most of their water needs met from their carnivorous diet. Lions do not often need to go down to the river for a drink, because they get most of their hydration from the meat and blood of their prey animals. Domestic cats still have some of their wild ancestor’s habits, and you should encourage your cat to drink water to ensure that they get the hydration they need. This is especially true if your cat only eats dry food! Supplementing their diet with wet canned food is important to help them stay hydrated.

Aside from adding ice to their water, there are a few ways to encourage your cat to drink more. Most cats prefer running water – that is why they will beg for tap water at the kitchen sink or shower. Instead of giving in to their demands and enabling bad habits, invest in a water fountain. They come in a range of prices, some quite affordable. Your cats will thank you for it!

As an extra treat for my cats on scorching summer days, I make them popsicles. Fill an ice tray, or indeed a popsicle mold, with cooled broth, or some diluted tuna water and let it freeze. I give these to my cats outside on the grass or add it to their water bowls, and they go nuts for them.

Is Tap Water Bad For Cats?

Whether or not tap water is safe for your cat to drink depends on where you live. Some cities treat tap water with high levels of harsh chemicals, and it is apparent, just from the smell of the water, that it is not good to drink. If you live in a more rural area and you know the source of your water, you may be comfortable drinking it. If you get your water from a well or bore hole, you should have it quality tested once a year.

As a rule, if you would not drink the tap water, you should not make your cat drink it. Freezing water does not make it safer to drink, so never make ice for your cat’s water bowl using tap water that you would not drink.

Tap water can contain heavy metals such as iron and lead, from the city’s water infrastructure. Iron can stain your cat’s fur around their mouth and high levels of lead can cause stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Fluoride and chloride, which most governments add to public water, is thought to be carcinogenic to humans and animals.


A great way to help your cat stay cool and hydrated on hot summer days is by adding ice to their water bowl. Provided the ice is made with clean drinking water, it is safe to give to cats. Ice can be a lot of fun for cats to play with, but keep an eye on them, as biting or trying to eat ice may damage their teeth or gums. Cats do not need icy cold water on a regular basis, as it may decrease their metabolism and disrupt digestion.

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