Water is essential for the proper functioning of the body, but most cats are bad 'drinkers'. We show you how you can improve your cat's relationship with the liquid element.
A little of history
The body of the cats, originating in the desert, is designed to save water and the thirst mechanism is not very developed. They are slower and less effective in adjusting water intake to prevent dehydration from environmental factors or disease ...
In the wild they drink little and cover their need for liquid especially with their prey, with a percentage of water of 75% (commercial wet food approx. 75%, dry food approx. 10%).
They are also able to re-concentrate the urine to conserve water. But what helped them survive in their natural habitat can cause serious problems in modern cats. The concentration of urine promotes the formation of crystals, painful inflammations, infections, bladder stones and / or kidneys. And, in the case of males, obstructions with fatal outcome.
For guidance, the amount of daily water intake needed is 50ml / kg of weight, but varies according to activity, diet, health status and external factors such as the time of year and temperature. In sick cats with hyperthyroidism, diabetes and / or kidney problems, adequate water intake can lead to an improvement in the level of quality of life and a longer survival time.
how to encourage your cat to drink more
There are a number of things, easily implementable that can significantly increase water intake:
Shape: Wide and shallow.
Cat whiskers are ultra-sensitive sensors that are very important to them. That's why they don't like bowls where they brush them or have to press them against their faces to drink.
Although it is funny: If your cat dips the paw in the water and sucks it to drink, he is telling you that he does not like his bowl.
Location: Away from food and litter tray.
Cats prefer it and at the same time it avoids water contamination with food debris. It’s advisable to distribute several water bowls around the house, preferably on the cat's usual path.
Material: Preferably ceramic * or glass **.
They do not retain odors and do not release unwanted substances such as some made of metal or plastic. You also prevent your cat from getting contact allergies or acne.
Cleaning: Scrub daily and rinse thoroughly.
Do not use citrus detergents **, a smell that cats dislike.
* Note: It is important that the
containers be for food use. Decorative glass contains lead and decorative ceramic toxic varnishes.
** My cats stopped eating and drinking from one day to the next for no apparent reason ... until I realized that I had changed the dishwashing detergent. I went back to the old product and everything went back to normal ...
Fresh and clean (change)
Chlorine free: Cats have an excellent olfactory sense and some reject chlorinated water.
Low mineral content: Some cats also seem to reject 'hard' waters with a high salt and mineral content.
You can offer them filtered water or mineral water with a low mineral content.
And the vast majority of cats prefer moving water. Many like to drink from the tap or lick the walls of the sink or bathtub.
If you cannot or don’t want to put a fountain, you can always add an ice cube to the water from time to time to make it more attractive
There is a wide range of fountains for cats of various shapes, materials, with and without deposit, filters etc. on the market. Perhaps the most practical are those that offer both a stream of water and water sliding down a surface. Personally I preferred a ceramic model, as mentioned above, but for taste (even of cats) 'To each his own.'
With a fountain with moving water, cats not only drink more, but enjoy the environmental enrichment it entails. This helps prevent diseases, improves their health, saves us worries and veterinary expenses.
Tips & Tricks
Put a large container with water and some stones or a mini-aquarium.
Add (gradually more) water to the food, both dry and wet.
Add a few drops of cream or chicken broth to the drinking water.
Obsessions or clues?
If your cat scratches the ground next to the bowl: He wants to tell you that he doesn’t like the location or the bowl.
If your cat pushes the bowl of water with the paw or 'digs' in the water:
Cats don’t see the objects right in front of them, so it’s believed, that they act like this to calculate where the surface of the water is.
If your cat repeatedly puts his paw into the water and licks it: Most likely, he doesn't like the bowl because he has to fold his whiskers.