Thoughts for Thursday – Water for Cats

Does your cat drink water? You may have read that cats don’t typically drink much water and maybe that’s because they weren’t bred to. Their ancestors lived in the wilds and they got enough moisture in their prey. So it really is against a cat’s nature to be attracted to water. Except for maybe the fishing cat, the Turkish van and some of the big cats that live in very hot, arid climates. Not only do these cats tend to drink more water, but they will take a dip to cool off.

Some other cat breeds seem to like water and then there’s the rare cat with an unknown heritage that doesn’t mind getting wet or who drinks a lot of water.

We’ve had two cats over time who were fascinated with water. Winfield loved to play in his water bowl—pawing at the water, splashing in it, spilling it. And he drank with his paw. He’d dip his paw into the water and lick the water off his paw.

Lily came to us with kidney failure. Her kidneys seemed to be compromised even when she was a kitten and our first clue was her need for water. She craves water and drinks a lot of it.

If you don’t think your cat is drinking enough water and especially if he or she is prone to urinary tract issues or has kidney problems, here are some tips:

  • Have more than one water bowl for your cats in different areas of the house and keep them filled with fresh water. We have three water bowls and a fountain. Some say filtered water is best. Others suggest using regular tap water. Do not give cats water that runs through a softener which uses salt.
  • Allow the cat to drink from a running spigot a couple of times a day. Most cats like fresh running water.
  • Invest in a kitty water fountain. Lily loves hers. We make sure it’s always filled with filtered water and we unplug it when we leave the house to prevent it from running dry and starting a fire.
  • Put fresh catnip in your cats’ bowl of water for an added enticement.

Typically, cats who are fed a wet food will drink less water. But if you feed only kibbles, it’s important that your cat is getting enough fluid and you will want to heed the four tips above.

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