Drink, drink, and you’ll be strong… and hydrated. How to encourage your cat to drink more water?

How to encourage your cat to drink more water?

Summer, heat – ah, what would we do for a refreshing glass of fresh lemonade or other bubbly drink? Meanwhile cats… they have a different outlook on heatwaves and although they definitely feel the temperature, they don’t rush to drink more water, even if it’s very hot outside. We all know though that hydration is important in a cat’s diet and, especially in the summer, we have to make sure they don’t forget to consume their daily water demand. But how to make a cat drink water out of their bowl or trick them into consuming more water without them realizing it? Come on, fabCat – let’s find the best solutions together. 

Why do cats drink so little? 

Although it might seem that cats feel thirsty just as much as we, hoomans, do, their instincts, habits, and customs are never as easy as we’d love them to be. Because of where cats come from and their specific, strictly meat diet, cats get most of the hydration their need from their food. And, of course, both domestic and wild cats do sometimes drink plain water to boost their hydration, but to put things simply, cats’ need for fresh water is smaller than for dogs or hoomans and because of that, drinking water out of a bowl is less instinctive for them than for other pets we might keep.  

According to cat dietitians, cats’ daily water intake should be around 45 ml of water per 1 kg body weight, keeping in mind that various factors can impact a cat’s thirst and how much water they drink. As an example, younger and more active cats might drink more water than older cats simply because they get more tired while playing. And we must underline here that the daily demand for water doesn’t mean that a 4kg cat needs to drink a glass of water every day! Let’s remember that wet cat food contains around 70-80% moisture and it’s possible that your cat meets their hydration demands simply by eating – if they’re drinking out of the bowl, you might even not notice it. On the other hand, if your cat eats only dry food, supplementing water in their diet is necessary for the entire body to work properly and it’s especially important for the health of their kidneys. 

5 ways to encourage your cat to drink more water

The fact that cats don’t drink much by nature doesn’t mean we can limit their access to fresh water. On the contrary – your cat should always have a bowl with clean, fresh water within their paws’ reach and the opportunity to hydrate whenever they feel like it. What’s more, as cat Carers, we should be making sure our cats drink as much as they need to – dehydration can lead to serious issues with kidneys and health overall. But how to make a cat drink more?

Change the bowl from something fancier. No worries, your wallet doesn’t have to do extra work here. For cats, a “fancy” drinking bowl is anything that wasn’t actually created as a cat bowl. Examples? A glass you’re drinking out of. A watering can on the balcony. A wine glass (filled with water, of course). A decorative vase your grandmother left you in her will. Sometimes you just need to look around your kitchen and all the things that could become a water bowl will start smiling at you 🙂 

PS Don’t be afraid to experiment with the placement of your fancy water stations – it doesn’t have to be a spot on the floor because, as we know, cats get far more interested in things that we put on our desks, shelves, and window sills. 

Make water flow. Wild cats drink water out of streams because it’s much safer than from an enclosed body of water. Domestic cats have naturally inherited this knowledge from their wild ancestors and although some of them have no issues with drinking out of a bowl, if your cats are not interested in standing water, think how you could make it flow. You could obviously buy a water fountain for cats but if you want to check if your cats are even interested in running water, giving them access to your tap (and a light stream, as it makes better sounds) or filtrating water in a jug is often a good way to check if running water gives your cat some fun.

Make sure the water’s fresh. You might think water has no taste but for a cat’s sensitive senses of smell and taste, the quality and freshness of water are very important. If you want to make sure your cat stays hydrated, make sure the water is fresh and if your cats are still not interested, experiment with the type of water you serve them. You could change tap water from boiled and cooled water, you can filter it in a jug. You could even serve them bottled water as long as it’s spring, not mineral water!  

Make the water tasty. You probably heard about enhancing your cat’s food with snacks but have you ever heard, fabCat, about doing it for your cat’s water? You can add some liquid that’s left in the can of cat food, drop some snacks into the water bowl (and make the cat fish them out), prepare a broth for your cat (boiled meat, no spices), or create your own “paste” by blending a tuna or chicken filet with water until it’s liquid. Cats love it!  

Drop ice cubes into the water.  The water that you give to your cat shouldn’t be too cold but with the hot weather outside, one ice cube won’t hurt and it can often help to draw the cat’s attention to the water station. What will the cat do with it? They can watch the ice melt and disappear. They could paw at it, wondering what’s the strange thing that landed in the bowl. Your cat could try to lick the ice, thinking it’s a snack. And whatever way they choose to deal with it, it’s always with the benefit of getting some water in. 

Water in a cat’s diet 

Water is unarguably the most important nutrient in a cat’s diet because, same as for hoomans, a cat’s body is made up mostly of H2O. Our task, as cat Carers, is to balance our pet’s diet in a way that they’re never dehydrated. And even though cats are known for not drinking that much, every fabCat has their way of making sure their feline friends don’t have to fight dehydration every day. Whether it’s adding some water to the cat’s food, serving water in fancy containers, or adding some tuna to it – the choice is yours! Share your tips and ideas in the comments, fabCats  🙂 

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