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Can Cats Drink Sparkling Water? Vet-Reviewed Health Facts

Sophie Herlihy

By Sophie Herlihy

sparkling water

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Tabitha Henson

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Cats are absolute masters of getting right into our personal space. Their desire to get into our personal bubbles gets them a front-row seat to everything we eat and drink, sparking their curiosity. Many of our cats will show interest in our food and drinks, wanting to try them.

Your cat may be particularly interested in the bubbling liquid of soda. Of course, soda is not suitable for cats by any means! But what about sparkling water?

Sparkling water is safe for our cats in small amounts, but should not be given in large quantities or for long periods. If you want to learn more about giving your cat sparkling water, continue reading this article.

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The 3 Risks of Sparkling Water for Cats

Sparkling water is limited in ingredients, consisting of water and carbon dioxide. Neither of these things is particularly harmful to your cat, but there are a few surprising risks to cats consuming sparkling.

1. Bloat

Bloating is an uncomfortable feeling. We’ve all felt it after overeating or guzzling too much soda. Carbonated drinks like sparkling water can have this bloating effect not just on us humans but also on our feline friends.

The gaseous quality of sparkling water may cause bloating in your cat’s stomach. While this is not only uncomfortable, it can also have some fatal consequences in four-legged animals. The gastrointestinal tract of cats is set horizontally due to them being quadrupeds (four-legged animals). Meanwhile, we are bipeds (two-legged) and have a vertical digestive system.

Bloat in cats, very rarely, can lead to something called gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV). It’s a mouthful of a diagnosis, but essentially it is when an extremely bloated stomach twists onto itself so much so that it cuts off circulation to vital organs. This is a life-threatening issue and can only be operated on if it is caught early enough. GDV is most often seen in deep-chested, large-breed dogs. However, there have been 10 cases of feline GDV reported in the veterinary literature in which sparkling water intake was not the underlying cause.

2. Acidity

While sparkling water is simply water and carbon dioxide, these two compounds react to create carbonic acid, a slightly acidic formula.

Regular intake of acidic substances can cause enamel erosion in your cat’s teeth. The general tooth begins to decay with exposure to sparkling water with a pH of between 3–4. So regular consumption may be a contributing factor to dental disease. Considering cats’ tooth enamel is thinner than humans, this may happen quicker than you expect.

If you are a regular sparkling water drinker, don’t panic. This beverage is only slightly acidic and not as acidic as soda, juice, or even coffee.

Additionally, metabolic acidosis is a possibility in cats. However, sparkling water is not acidic enough to cause this acid/base disturbance.

3. Stomach Irritation

Acid substances can also cause stomach or intestinal irritation in the more sensitive stomachs. While sparkling water itself won’t be strong enough to cause severe issues, it can undoubtedly worsen existing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, or reflux.

a glass of sparkling water
Photo Credit: LudgerA, Pixabay

Do Cats Like Sparkling Water?

These risks of sparkling water certainly are grave, but if your cat has consumed some of this bubbly drink, you have no reason to panic. These possibilities will be most risky if sparkling water is consumed in a considerable quantity or given frequently. Some amounts of sparkling water are safe for your cat to drink; they may even be very attracted to the spritely beverage.

The bubbling of carbonated drinks seems to garner attention from cats due to their natural drinking instincts. Cats would naturally get most of their water needs from consuming a variety of prey, but to top up their water, they would source running water sources such as rivers or streams.

The stagnant water of their domestic water bowls is much less naturally appealing to their feline brains. However, the bubbles in sparkling water replicate the movement of their natural water sources and send the signal to their brain, encouraging them to drink. The acidic pH of sparkling water also stimulates the nerve senses of drinkers, giving them the prickling or burning sensation that fizzy drinks give us. Cats may find this sensation intriguing and exciting, attracting them more to sparkling water.

Sparkling water may be an option for cats to quickly boost their hydration levels if they risk becoming dehydrated and refusing regular water. On top of that, sparkling water can aid constipation by encouraging intestinal movement.

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Final Thoughts

While many sources out there will tell you sparkling water is good for cats and can help them in many ways, we’ve delved deep into all facets of that debate and brought some potential risks of this advice to the surface. While sparkling water is non-toxic for cats and okay in a small amount, cats should only be drinking regular water.

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Featured Image Credit: manfredrichter, Pixabay

Sophie Herlihy

Authored by

After an early start in the veterinary industry and as a conservation educator at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, Sophie has since been a successful Zookeeper and Conservationist, specializing in native New Zealand species. When she’s not bird watching in native forests or crawling through the underbrush at midnight searching for rare frog species, she can be found with her farmer husband on their sheep and beef s...Read more

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