Keeping your cat hydrated is an essential part of their overall health and wellness. Drinking enough water helps to power their body’s organs and keeps their skin looking and feeling healthy. Water also regulates many of their bodily functions like digestion and body temperature.
Unfortunately, cats don’t always drink as much water as they should, so it’s important to encourage them to stay hydrated. Keep on reading for our top tips to help you do just that.
How Much Water Does Your Cat Need?
The amount of water your cat needs will depend on many factors, including their size, age, and current health, as well as environmental factors such as temperature.
On average, your cat needs about 3.5-4.5 ounces of water for every 5 pounds of body weight. That means that a 10-pound cat, for example, will need to drink between 7 and 9 ounces of water every day.
Your cat’s water intake doesn’t have to be completely from plain drinking water. It can come from moisture in their food as well. This means that your cat may drink less water if they eat wet food.
Signs that Your Cat Is Dehydrated
If you’re not sure if your cat is getting enough hydration every day, it’s important to look for signs of dehydration and talk to your veterinarian if you have any concerns.
Common signs of dehydration in cats include:
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mucous membranes
- Sunken eye sockets
6 Ways to Keep Your Cat Hydrated
If your cat isn’t drinking as much water as they should, here are 6 ways to encourage more water intake.
1. Provide Access to Plenty of Fresh Water
For your cat to drink enough, they need constant access to fresh, clean water. Clean and refill your cat’s water bowls regularly throughout the day, and provide multiple places around your home for them to find water.
Lots of factors can affect whether your cat will drink water, so placing different water dishes throughout your home in different environments gives your cat choices.
You can also switch up the type of water dish you offer to pique your cat’s interest. Leave bowls, cups, and different containers with water around your house, and make note of which types of containers your cat prefers.
2. Try a Cat Fountain or Flowing Water
Many cats prefer to drink from a moving water source instead of a still bowl. In the wild, cats know that standing water isn’t always safe.
In many cases, still water can be contaminated, so they choose to drink from streams or other moving water sources to stay safe. This instinct is still felt by many domesticated cats.
A cat fountain helps to simulate the effect of moving water and can make a cat feel safer. Many cats also enjoy drinking from running taps for this reason.
3. Add Broth to Your Cat’s Food
If your cat isn’t getting enough water by drinking, adding additional moisture to their food can help to supplement their hydration.
Try adding a teaspoon or two of low-sodium chicken or turkey bone broth to your cat’s dry food. The dry food will absorb the moisture from the broth, making it more digestible and giving your cat an easy way to stay hydrated.
You can also simply add a teaspoon or two of water to your cat’s kibble instead of broth if you don’t have any. However, the broth is likely to be more enticing because of the flavor.
4. Switch from Kibble to Wet Food
In the wild, cats get a lot of their hydration from the meat that they eat. Dry food only contains a small percentage of the moisture that fresh meat provides, so you need to supplement it with plenty of fresh water.
Wet food, however, is made up of 80% water and is far more hydrating for your cat. If you plan to make a switch in your cat’s food, always consult your vet first and make the transition slowly and over time.
5. Clean Your Cat’s Bowls Regularly
Without regular cleaning, your cat’s bowls can build up with bacteria, feel slimy, and even develop unpleasant odors that will deter your cat from drinking. Clean your cat’s bowls thoroughly with fragrance-free soap daily to keep their water fresh and safe to drink.
Metal water bowls are easier to clean and don’t hold on to odors as easily as a plastic bowl, so they may be a better choice for a pickier cat.
6. Change the Type of Water Your Cat Drinks
Just like us, our cats can have taste preferences for the food and water they drink. While you might not think there’s much difference between bottled water and tap water, your cat may prefer one over the other.
If your kitty doesn’t seem interested in the tap water that you put in their bowl, try filtering the water first or switching to bottled water to see if that makes a difference.
7. Keep Your Cat’s Water Cool
Just as the flavor of the water can affect whether your cat is interested in it, the temperature can also make a difference. Try adding a few ice cubes to your cat’s water bowl the next time you fill it up.
Not only do ice cubes make the water cooler, but the bobbing cubes also add movement to the water and may look more enticing to your cat.
You can even get creative and change up the type of ice cubes that you add, such as ice made from chicken broth or tuna water. This can help add more appetizing flavors to your feline friend’s water.
Is Your Cat Staying Hydrated?
Hydration plays a significant role in keeping your cat happy and healthy, so it’s vital to make sure that your kitty is getting enough to drink every day.
These tips can help make your cat’s water dishes more exciting or add additional moisture to their food, but if they still seem dehydrated it’s best to consult with your vet. Dehydration can be a sign of an underlying health issue, so it’s always better to be safe.
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