Cheers! Encourage Your Cat's Drinking Habit

The feline species originated thousands of years ago in the arid region of the Middle East, which may explain why today's domestic cats are not enthusiastic water drinkers. Unfortunately, our feline friends are prone to some urinary system health problems that could be minimized if only they imbibed more water. By focusing on ways to incorporate more water into your cat's daily diet, you will improve your cat's hydration, and you may even extend her lifespan.

Why Should Cats Drink More Water?

Your cat's urinary system consists of kidneys, ureters, a bladder and the urethra. Wastes that result through metabolism are filtered through the kidneys and ultimately expelled from the body through urination. Some medical conditions that affect the urinary system in cats include:

  • Chronic renal failure
  • Bladder stone, or urolith, formation
  • Urinary blockage
  • Urinary tract infection

By drinking enough water, your cat's system will be flushed through, and the kidneys will be less stressed in their task of filtering toxins and other wastes. This can slow the progression of kidney disease and reduce the incidence of feline lower urinary tract disease, the collective name for many of the feline urinary system medical conditions.

How Much Water Is Enough Water?

Your cat's wild, desert-dwelling ancestors obtained much of their dietary moisture from food sources. The carnivores consumed prey that was made up of roughly 70 percent water. Today's house cats, who are no longer required to hunt for their supper, are fed commercially prepared foods. Many pet owners favor the convenience of dry kibble, but only five to ten percent of the food's composition is water. Canned food, on the other hand, is approximately 78 percent water, an amount that is a much closer match to that of a prey diet. The simplest way to ensure that your cat is taking in enough water is to feed exclusively a canned food diet and bowls of drinking water.

How Can You Coax Your Cat to Drink?

There are plenty of simple ways to encourage your cat to drink more water. One method is to invest in a drinking water fountain for cats. The bubbling sounds of the circulating water and the flowing stream entice curious cats to investigate, paw at the water and lick from the stream. Be sure to follow the fountain's instructions with regard to changing the water filter and safely cleaning the reservoir.

Some other tricks to increase your cat's water intake include the following:

  • Stir a little water into your cat's canned food.
  • Add some water from a can of tuna fish or canned salmon to your cat's food.
  • You can add a small amount of chicken broth to your cat's food, but make sure that the broth is low in salt and does not contain onion or garlic, both of which are toxic for cats.
  • Some cats prefer to drink from a water faucet. If you have one of these cats, consider leaving a faucet on a slow drip, but you must also provide a bowl of water.
  • Place multiple water bowls down throughout your home in rooms where the cat enjoys spending her time.
  • Some cats dislike the taste of tap water. Offer your cat commercially bottled water instead.
  • Keep the water and food bowls clean.
  • Do not place water or food bowls near the litter box.

When Is Too Much Water Intake a Concern?

The more water your cat drinks, the better her urinary system will function. However, you should always monitor how much water your cat wants to drink and how much urine is being passed into the litter box. Noticeable increases in water intake and urinary output can be potential symptoms of chronic renal failure, diabetes or hyperthyroidism, and such changes must be addressed by your veterinarian.

Speak to a local veterinarian or click here for more information.