Staying hydrated is essential for your cat’s health, but just how much water should a cat drink to stay healthy? And what can you do if your cat is not drinking water? A sudden increase or decrease in the amount your cat drinks could indicate a potential health problem, so it’s important to monitor your cat’s water intake. If you discover they’re not drinking enough, try changing their diet or making their water more readily available to make it more appealing.
How much water should a cat drink?
Cats tend to drink small amounts of water frequently throughout the day. As a guide, most should drink around 50 millilitres of water for every kilogram they weigh. However, water intake will depend on a range of factors, from the cat's diet to weather conditions. Cats that are fed a wet food diet ingest more water from their food than a cat on a dry food diet, so, it's especially important to make sure that cats eating dry food get enough water. Those with conditions such as kidney disease or lower urinary tract disease can be more prone to dehydration, so keeping an eye on their water intake is also a must to keep them healthy.
Why is hydration important for your cat?
Research conducted at the Waltham Petcare Science Institute demonstrated that cats fed wet food had a reduced risk of developing bladder stones - a disease that occurs in around 2% of cats. Proper water intake (from their diet, as well as water drunk) helps keep your cat healthy - both long and short term - and helps to regulate their temperature, eliminate toxins, and absorb nutrients. Overall, it’s an essential part of your cat’s diet.
Why might your cat not be drinking water?
Has something changed in your cat’s life? Maybe a recent move, a new pet, or something as simple as moving their water bowl? Cats love their routines, and any disruption could affect their desire to drink. Is their water bowl clean and in a safe space? Is the water fresh? Any of those factors could be affecting your cat’s water intake. It’s also possible that your cat is already getting enough water. Historically, cats would get most of their hydration from their prey, so it could be that their current diet is providing them with enough moisture. However, if your cat isn’t drinking water, it could also be indicative of an underlying health problem, such as dental disease or a gastrointestinal upset.
How can you get a cat to drink more water?
Encouraging a cat to do anything against their will isn’t easy, even when it’s the healthy choice. However, there are multiple ways to make taking a drink more appealing to your cat.
Refresh their water daily
If someone offered you stale water in a dirty glass, you’d likely refuse to drink it, and your cat is no exception. Fresh water in a clean bowl is far more tempting, so make sure to give them clean water every day.
Keep their food and water bowls separate
Your cat may reject water if it’s deemed too close to their food source. If you use a double feeder with room for food and water, it might be time to consider a dedicated water bowl. Keeping food and water too close together increases the risk of the water being contaminated by dropped food particles.
Give them multiple bowl options
It’s no secret that cats have their own individual preferences and quirks. Their reason for not drinking could be as simple as taking a dislike to their water bowl or its location. Try placing bowls in several quiet, low traffic areas around the house, so they can choose a place to drink. It also allows them to choose the bowl they prefer, so experiment with bowls of different sizes and materials. Many cats prefer a wide, shallow bowl which doesn’t bump their sensitive whiskers. Having multiple options also means your cat won’t have to share with any other pets you may have. But be sure to show your cat where the bowls are located, rather than relying on them to find them by chance.
Try a water fountain
Cats have been known to favour running water, and a water fountain can be a perfect solution. It gives your cat access to constant running water and contains a filter, which can be replaced, so the water stays fresh.
Keep their litter tray separate
Cats’ innate desire for cleanliness means they might not drink water if it’s too close to their toilet area. Make sure to keep the litter tray separate from where they consume food and drink.
Try switching their food
If your cat’s diet is predominantly made up of dry food, try adding some wet food to add some more moisture. This is known as mixed feeding and provides a cat with a wide range of benefits. It could also be a good idea to give them fresh meat or add water to their current food.
When should you be worried?
If your cat persistently refuses to drink water and shows signs of dehydration, lethargy, lack of appetite, or starts to lose weight, take your cat to a vet to determine the underlying cause. You can find more information about looking after your pet at the blog.
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