Hydration in cats – Getting cats to drink more water – Pet tip 116
What do you do if you do not think your cat is getting enough water to drink? You have the water dish filled, but your cat has been turning up its nose at it. The cat can be a very finicky creature, it is up to you to ensure that your pet is drinking an adequate amount of fluids. So how exactly do you tell if your cat isn’t drinking enough water and is dehydrated? Some common signs that your pet is not drinking enough are: eyes that may appear to be sunken into the head, moping around the house, less active than usual, dry gums in the mouth, and skin that has excess elasticity. Unfortunately, if your cat reaches this stage of dehydration with visible signs, an immediate visit to the veterinarian should be made to fix up your little one, perhaps through administration of fluids or another treatment method.
To ensure that your cat does not become dehydrated, there are many ways you can try to get it to drink a larger quantity of water. This is especially important in older cats, because they will often ‘forget’ to drink, or perhaps will just be too lazy or tired to make their way over to the water dish when they are thirsty.
For starters, a good quality canned food is a fabulous method for adding more water to your cat’s diet. Many cats crave the taste of canned food, and will gobble it up in seconds. Compared to dry food there is a much greater quantity of water in the canned food. If you are thinking that this seems faulty because the cat would just drink less water to compensate for the extra water in the food, have no fear! Interestingly enough, water that is added to the diet of a cat will not affect how much plain water they will drink from their dish. However, keep in mind that it is not uncommon for an older cat to turn up its nose at canned food when it has only been fed dry kibble its whole life. In this case, try heating the food in the microwave; the sensational smell may entice your pet to indulge. If Fluffy still refuses, test out other ways to assist Fluffy in drinking adequate fluids. To prevent instances such as this, canned food can be fed at a young age, along with dry kibble, so that if your kitty should develop issues with staying hydrated in its senior years, canned food can provide a simple solution because your cat will approve of the taste.
Time to please the finicky eater! Another technique to increase water consumption is getting a wider water dish. Silly as it may seem, some cats do not enjoy having their whiskers touch the edge of the bowl. Experiment with dishes in their width, depth, material, and location. Some cats may only drink out of a specific type of dish, while others will have no discrimination. In addition, make an attempt to position multiple water dishes around the house to allow for easier access to water when your cat wants to quench its thirst.
Here are some further suggestions for getting your cat to drink water. Leave a tap dripping or get a cat water fountain, many cats will prefer running water over water that is sitting stagnant in a bowl. Change the water often, some cats will only drink fresh water. Try putting distilled or bottled water in the cat’s dish, they can tell the difference between the tastes and some will not like either tap or bottled water. Please remember, that all of these suggestions are for a healthy cat to prevent it from becoming dehydrated. In the event that your cat is dehydrated a veterinarian will recommend what they think is the best course for treatment. If you notice your cat is dehydrated or just drinking less than normal, take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
The cat’s body is approximately 60% water, so it is essential for them to retain this amount of fluid. Cats are not camels, and must drink often to remain hydrated. There are many ways to experiment with giving your cat water to prevent dehydration, and changing these give your pet access to water in the way it prefers. If you think about it, really isn’t that the way cats like to do everything? They tell you the way they like it, and you are a slave to their every demand!
By Laura Platt – Pets.ca writer