Encouraging your cat to drink more water

Author picture Jessica  - updated: 19/05/2020

Have you noticed that cats like to drink from strange places? You might give them a bowl of fresh clean water every day, but they still like to drink from the shower or the base of a pot plant. Why is this? And how do you ensure that a cat drinks enough water?

Cats don't drink a lot of water by nature. They are descendants of desert-dwelling felines that would have been able to withstand drought quite well. As such, cats should be able to get their moisture from their food. It is vital for cats not to become dehydrated in order to prevent bladder and kidney problems. Bladder grit and urinary tract problems are painful and potentially fatal for a cat. Drinking water is therefore essential for your cat to remain happy and healthy.

Note that if you are a cat sitter and suspect a cat might be having difficulty urinating during a cat sitting booking, always contact the vet.

Water from cat food

Just as wild cats get a lot of moisture from their prey, cats that eat wet food are less likely to run the risk of becoming dehydrated. You will also notice that cats that eat wet food might drink water less often. Cats that only get dried food have to drink a lot more to ingest a sufficient amount of fluid during the day. However, there may be a good reason to give your cat dried food (for example, for healthy teeth). Wet food is also of varying quality, so make sure to purchase wet food that contains high-quality ingredients.

Another behavioural remnant of the domestic cat's wild past is that they generally don't like to drink water located near their food or toilet - their instinct says that this water is polluted. This is part of the reason why cats like to drink in strange places, such as outside from a puddle. Help your cat out by keeping their water bowl away from their food bowl or litter tray.

A cat that drinks enough is usually cheerful and active, has slightly moist gums and pees about three times a day. A healthy cat's skin is also soft and clear and their coat is shiny.

If you suspect your cat doesn't drink enough, there are some tricks to get your cat to drink more water.

Tips for getting your cat to drink more:

  • Gradually add wet food or fresh meat to your cat's diet
  • Add a little water to your cat's wet food
  • Keep their water bowl away from the litter box and food bowl
  • Keep several water bowls around the house in different places
  • Clean your cat's water bowls regularly
  • Use a shallow water bowl to prevent 'whisker stress'
  • Fresh water is always best: change it every day
  • Cats love running water, so purchase a water fountain.

Talk to your cat sitter

Do you ever book a cat sitter on Pawshake? Ask your cat sitter to refresh your cat's water every day and pay attention during the booking in case your cat's habits change. Request that the cat sitter not only cleans and tops up all of your cat's bowls (if you have a few around the house - which is an excellent idea). Some cats don't mind exploring running/dripping water from a tap or watering can, so suggest this as a fun activity to your cat sitter.

Suddenly drinking more?

Does your cat suddenly drink much more water, more frequently? Drinking and peeing too much is not good either. If you or your cat sitter suddenly sees a change in behaviour, always consult your veterinarian.

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