Any one of us would be concerned if our cat was not eating, or not eating enough. And so we should be, any cat not eating for more than a day needs to be examined by a vet.
But how about your cat’s water intake? Water is just as important as food to the health and wellbeing of a cat.
Is your cat drinking enough? Your cat’s urinary health is related to his or her water intake, a cat that does not drink enough water is more prone to urinary tract infection, kidney disorders, bladder stones, poor digestion and constipation.
Your cat’s ancestors would eat prey comprising of about seventy per cent water.
Canned (wet) cat food contains around the same amount.
Dry cat food only contains only a small amount of water.
So if you are feeding your cat dried food, or mostly dried food, he or she is going to rely on his or her water bowl much more than a cat fed mostly wet food.
So how can you encourage your cat to drink enough Adam’s ale?
Where your cat’s water bowl is sited is important. Needless to say, placing the water near your pet’s litter box is not going to encourage her to drink from it.
What may not be so obvious is that your cat may not be happy to drink water left right next to her food.
Not all cats are fussy about this but some certainly are. It’s an inherent memory from the jungle; wildcats did not drink water next to dead prey because of the risk of contamination.
On the subject of where your cat’s water supply is situated, it doesn’t have to be just the one place.
You could have several bowls around the house, all the more opportunities for her to be tempted to drink. And of course, if you have many cats then they need more than the one water bowl; try one bowl for each cat.
Something for you to try is too add a little water to your cat’s chow. Yes, canned food already contains a lot of H2O but a little extra will not hurt.
I found out from my own experience that you might need to be sneaky here.
When I first tried this idea I figured that it would be best not to add too much water to my cat’s food. So I added what was really just a splash. But when that was mixed in it made the food very sloppy.
I put the bowl down on my cat’s mat and stood back to observe the reaction. A sniff, a sneer and a walk away in disgust!
Clearly my cat was not impressed. So for the next meal, less than a thimbleful of water went into my cat’s chow. Eaten as normal. The next meal had just a smidgen more water, and the meal after that had . . . well you get the idea. And it worked!
In only a few days my cat was happily eating food with as much water mixed in as that first bowl I offered him. Great, this means a welcome increase in his water intake.
Your experience may be different of course. Perhaps your cat will readily accept water mixed in his or her food straight off the bat, no need to gradually add it in.
Or perhaps, in the same way you probably would not tolerate being served watered down beer, your cat may refuse to tolerate watered down food at all. All you can do is try the idea.
You don’t need to be told this one I’m sure. Keep your cat’s water fresh. Cats have to be pretty desperate to lap up stale old water.
If you are feeding your feline friend one meal a day, try switching to feeding him or her two or three times a day (smaller meals of course.) The reasoning here is that cats like to drink after they have eaten, so if they eat more frequently they will drink more of the old H2O.
Believe it or not the bowl that you serve your cat’s water in can make a heck of a difference to the amount of water he or she drinks.
Do you use a plastic bowl?
Plastic is colorful, easy to wash and plastic bowls are inexpensive. But plastic is porous, and the older it gets the more porous it becomes.
Odors and germs get trapped in the pores and the bowl starts to smell unpleasant.
No you can’t smell it but your cat, who has a much more sensitive nose, can. That means the water is not as appealing as it might be. So he or she drinks less of it, or maybe refuses to drink it at all.
Ceramic or stainless steel bowls are not porous and will not smell yucky to your cat, provided they are kept clean of course.
Is the bowl wide enough? Remember that generally, cats do not like their whiskers touching anything, so if the bowl is so narrow that your cat’s whiskers touch the sides your cat may not be keen to drink from it.
Does your cat come running to drink from the faucet when you turn it on? Not only is water straight from the faucet as fresh as it comes, it is also aerated.
Movement draws oxygen into the water making it very pleasant to drink. This is why some cats are more inclined to drink from a Cat Fountain.
So there we have it. Doing your best to encourage your cat to drink enough water helps them to enjoy a healthy happy life.