The question is asking whether domestics cats need to be provided with water overnight. The answer is dependent on the food provided. Under normal circumstances, cat’s don’t require water overnight when fed a wet, canned food diet. If they are solely on a dry diet then water must be available 24/7. This is a weakness with the dry food diet. Domestic cats have to drink a lot of water to compensate for the dryness of this food. However, it is well known that domestic cats are poor drinkers. This is because their wild cat ancestor is the North African wildcat; a species which is accustomed to living in an arid environment with little water. The domestic cat has this inherited behaviour which means they don’t drink a lot of water and they don’t compensate for dry cat food enough. Some experts say that a domestic cat on dry cat food is in a state of permanent mild-dehydration.
PG Prentiss and colleagues in their work: Hydropenia in the cat and dog: ability of the cat to meet its water needs solely from a diet of fish or meat, state that when the water content of their food is very high, domestic cats can maintain normal water balance with no additional drinking water.
Wet cat food contains up to 78% water while dry cat food contains 7-12% water. Water intake comes from the food that they eat and from drinking water.
Animals can survive for extended periods of time without food but they will die within one or two weeks when deprived of water. About 70% of lean adult body weight of the cat is water. Water in the body has many functions including absorbing the heat that is generated by the body’s metabolic processes. This enables the maintenance of a normal body temperature. And water is essential for the digestion and absorption of nutrients. It is essential for the process of hydrolysis. It is also essential for the elimination of waste products from the kidneys which requires a lot of water. And water also acts as a solvent enabling cellular reactions to occur and it provides a transport medium for nutrients.
Below are some more pages on domestic cats drinking water.