Is My Cat Drinking Enough Water?
We all know how important water is, but even so, how many of us always get our 8 glasses a day? It’s even trickier to make sure your cat is drinking enough water. Cats originally came from desert environments, where access to water is scarce. As a result, they evolved to have very low thirst drives, meaning they often won’t feel the need to drink until they’re already dehydrated.
Signs of Dehydration In Cats
Just because cats don’t feel thirsty doesn’t mean dehydration isn't dangerous for them. A lack of water can be incredibly dangerous for cats.
One easy way to test for dehydration is to gently pinch the skin between their shoulders upwards, then let go. If it doesn’t snap back down straight away, this is a sign of dehydration and should be checked out by a vet.
Keep an eye out for these other symptoms of dehydration:
- Lethargy or weakness
- Sunken or dull eyes
- Dry mouth or dry, sticky gums
- Elevated heartrate
- No or low appetite
Cats need around 60ml of water per kilo of body weight every day. How, then, do you make sure your cat is drinking enough water, especially in the scorching summer heat?
Bowl Them Over
Indigo Oasis bowl for dogs and cats - £10
Cats, as we all know, are fussy creatures. The problem may be as simple as their water bowl! Your cat may get annoyed if their whiskers have to touch the bowl while drinking, so experiment with shallower or wider shapes.
Location can also be a problem. Cats won’t trust a water source too near to their food or litter box, because in the wild, this water would be dangerously unhygienic. Try placing multiple bowls in different locations in your house, to see if one appeals to your cat more than others.
Make sure your cat's water is fresh and the bowl cleaned daily. Rinse it well to remove lingering soap traces. Tap water can also put cats off due to the chemicals used to treat it, so filtered water can be the answer for picky cats.
Make it More Interesting
Even humans can find water too bland for their tastes! Try adding a little flavour to kitty’s water dish with some low-sodium tuna juice or chicken broth – just make sure there’s no garlic, onions, or other dangerous ingredients. Your cat won’t be able to resist having a drink!
Fun Fact: Did you know cats can stay hydrated by drinking cats can stay hydrated by drinking sea water? It’s still best to avoid adding extra salt to their diets, though.
Another great technique for the hot summer months is to pop a few ice cubes in their bowl. Cats often prefer chilled water, and they’ll love playing with and trying to catch the slippery cubes!
Alternatively, many cats prefer a moving water source. A water fountain might be just the thing to entice your cat to drink – but they might also enjoy taking a few laps from a running tap, too.
Food, Glorious Food
Since cats prefer eating to drinking water, probably the easiest way to ensure your cat is hydrated is to switch to wet food. Dry cat food can contain less than 14% water, compared to over 60% in wet food. Remember to introduce changes to your cat’s diet slowly, and consult your vet first if your cat has any dietary or health concerns.
If you’re set on sticking to dry food for your cat, try adding a little water to it to help your cat take in more fluids.