A Guide to Cat Hydration

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Although movies and other media often show cats drinking a bowl of milk, it’s not good for most felines. Do cats drink water, though?

Yes, they do. In fact, water is as vital to a cat’s survival as it is to humans’. Despite being good for them, many cats don’t like drinking water, especially if it’s still or standing water.

Do Kittens Drink Water?

Although kittens drink their mother’s milk until she weans them as early as four weeks old, they also need water. After weaning, most kittens lose the ability to digest milk sugar efficiently, so their primary source of hydration is water.

Why Proper Hydration is Important for Cats

Hydration is the physiological state of balanced electrolytes, specific minerals and fluids within the body, and maintaining this balance is important. Water affects everything from circulation to digestion, so it’s evident why keeping your cat hydrated is critical.

All cats are different and have their own preferences, though. As a result, you may need to try a few different methods of providing water to find something your kitty likes.

Signs of Dehydration in Cats

If your cat neglects her water bowl, she may become dehydrated. Signs of dehydration in cats include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Lethargy or depression
  • Panting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Decrease in skin elasticity

If you notice any of the above signs, call your veterinarian. They can give your cat fluids, rule out any potential illnesses and offer guidance on preventing dehydration in the future.

How to Get Your Cat to Drink More Water

Getting your cat to drink more water can be tricky. You may have to experiment until you find something she likes. Start with one or more of the below suggestions to see how your cat reacts. 

  • Choose the Right Water Bowl: If your cat’s current water bowl is deep and narrow, it may touch her whiskers, which is uncomfortable. Try switching your cat’s water bowl to a wider, shallower dish with a smaller lip to see if she drinks more.
  • Place it in the Right Location: Although it’s tempting to stick your cat’s food and water bowls in an out-of-the-way area, cats don’t like being boxed into a corner. They prefer locations where they can see their surroundings with a quick glance and don’t have to worry about anyone sneaking up behind them.
  • Keep it Fresh: The longer water sits, the more particles it collects. Dust, dirt, hair and more can all collect in your cat’s water bowl, making her less inclined to drink from it. Put fresh water in her bowl one to two times a day.
  • Try a Cat Water Fountain: Cats love running water and there are many theories why. In nature, felines may have learned to associate still water with contamination, so they instinctively gravitate toward running water. It may also appeal to more of their senses, as they can see it move, hear the sound it makes and even taste a difference. A cat water fountain can make drinking water more exciting and pleasurable for your kitty.
  • Add Wet Food to Her Diet: Water isn’t the only way to keep your cat hydrated. If you’ve tried all the above and she’s still not drinking enough, try giving her some wet cat food. Although it can’t replace water altogether, supplementing her diet with wet food can help increase her overall water intake to help prevent dehydration.

Not only do cats drink water, but it’s vital for their survival. Keeping your cat hydrated will help keep her happy and healthy. Explore all the wet cat food options we offer to help increase your cat’s total water consumption. Always check with your veterinarian before adding new food to your cat’s diet.

 

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