Historically, cats and water have been seen as a bad combination. Although your kitty might not be too keen on bath time, water is still an important part of your cat’s health. How can you make sure your cat is getting enough to drink?
First, it’s important to learn how much water your cat needs to intake. According to the ASPCA, cat should digest approximately the same amount of water and food by volume each day. Your cat’s food, especially canned food, can have a fairly high water content. Dry food contains between 7-12 percent water, while canned food can measure as high as 80 percent. Regardless, your cat should have access to a clean bowl of water to supplement their meal.
The next question, then, is how to encourage your cat to drink. While dogs will head straight for the water bowl after a vigorous walk or play session, cats are less likely to lap up water frequently. You can include more water in your cat’s diet by sprinkling some water on top of their daily food. Catster also recommends using glass or stainless steel water bowls, as plastic may cause water to taste funny. Refreshing the water bowl regularly can help, as can using filtered water instead of water straight from the tap. Tap water can be heavily chlorinated or have an overly high mineral concentration.
Once you’ve done all you can to lead your cat to water, how can you tell if they are truly getting enough? Signs of good hydration include a shiny coat without dry flakes and good skin elasticity, meaning your cat’s scruff springs back quickly if you gently pull at the skin and release. A cat that shows normal levels of physical activity and is urinating two to three times a day is likely getting all the water they need.
If you are concerned that your cat may be dehydrated, consult with your vet immediately. Signs of dehydration include sunken eyes, dry mouth, decreased skin elasticity and panting. A dehydrated cat will also show signs of lethargy, an elevated heart rate and a loss of appetite. Your vet will be able to administer fluids to re-hydrate your cat, and to run tests to determine if there is any underlying problem that could have caused their dehydration.
Wondering if your cat is prone to dehydration? Any cat that is ill runs a higher risk. Some cats, however, seem to enjoy water as more than just a beverage. Check out Cattime’s list of the Top 10 Cats Who Love Water! Is your cat’s breed on the list?