Take a look at your cat right now. I bet they are just as comfortable as mine. My three are curled up on my bed, fast asleep, but only after making sure the comforter was rumpled enough to provide them with adequate comfort. Our pet cats today are domesticated and happy about it!
Seeing our cats as they are now makes it difficult to imagine where they came from, but for their long-term health, it’s important to remember that our cats’ ancestors were desert animals. I can’t look at my well-loved, and ummm, spoiled, felines and think of them surviving in a desert environment—but their ancestors thrived there.
Most animals in desert areas get most of their needed moisture from their food rather than from standing water. Getting moisture from their food also protected them from poisoning should they drink from a dirty water source; like stagnant water in a puddle, for example.
Unfortunately, many domesticated cats don’t get enough water from their food. This can lead to significant health problems, including stones in the bladder and urinary tract. However, there are ways to increase your cat’s water intake and although your cat may not like all of these suggestions, she’s sure to like at least a few. Plus, a couple are just downright fun and you’ll enjoy them, too.
Consider the Food You Feed
The best way to make sure your cat gets enough water? Make sure their food is plenty moist! Since it’s natural for cats to get the most out of the moisture in their food, an easy way to boost her total water intake is to feed a food with a higher moisture content. Dry kibble, for example, often has a moisture level of 6% while a canned food may have 75% moisture. A dehydrated food mixed with water before serving can have even more moisture as you can increase the water that’s added. Raw food is a great way to up the moisture level in your cats diet. Frozen raw food retains more moisture than both kibble or canned food, and with dehydrated raw you can add as much moisture as you’d like when re-hydrating each meal!
Clean Water is More Attractive
Just as your cat’s ancestors wouldn’t drink out of a stagnant puddle, your cat is not going to drink old water in a bowl. So change the water a couple of times a day and don’t forget to wash the water bowl, thoroughly rinsing all the soap off it. You can also try a few different types of water bowls. Spock, one of my rescued cats, prefers cool water, and a ceramic bowl keeps water cooler than metal or plastic.
Water From the Faucet
I don’t have to worry about water consumption with my orange tabby, Kirk, because he loves to drink out of the faucet. If I’m in the bathroom or kitchen and turn on a faucet, he magically appears. When I’m done with whatever I’m doing, I’ll turn the cold water to just over a drip and he’ll drink his fill. It’s easy and fun to watch him maneuver himself to get a drink without getting wet.
Water Fountains Appeal to Some Cats
There are several models of water fountains available commercially, for both dogs and cats, but I’m sure the manufacturers had cats in mind. Just as wild cats don’t like to drink stagnant water because it could be dangerous, your cat may prefer moving water. Just keep the fountain clean, wash or replace the filters often, and change the water frequently. Here’s a tip to get your cat interested in the water fountain’s water: drop a handful of ice cubes in it. The current will cause them to bob around and this movement will garner your cat’s attention.
Meat Broths are Yummy
If you have a cat who just doesn’t like water, or one who medically needs to drink more water, offer a meat broth once or twice a day. We offer several different types of bone broth for cats (and dogs!) from brands like Primal and Stella and Chewy’s. The Honest Kitchen also offers some dry broths that you just add warm water to so that it’s re-hydrated. Stop in to your local store and talk to one of our nutrition expert pack members to see which one you should try for your cat!
Goat Milk is A Great Alternative
If your cat just does not seem enticed by water, try goat milk! Goat milk is often called the “universal milk” since it can be consumed and easily absorbed by many mammals. Goat milk is also rich in vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, enzymes, proteins and fatty acids making it great for your pets overall health. Primal’s goat milk is humanely sourced from free-range goats ethically raised without antibiotics or added hormones and is perfect for cats (or dogs) of all life stages.
Meat Juice from the Can
Are you having tuna salad for lunch? If it’s tuna canned with spring water (not oil) then squeeze the water out of the can after you open it, add a bit more water, and call your cat. She’s probably already on her way; after all, tuna and the can opener are triggers for most cats! Don’t offer tuna more than once a week or so, though, as it can be addictive to cats. But other meats work, too, including beef, chicken, turkey, or other fish. Just as with commercial meat broths, though, read the labels.
Canned Food Soups are Tasty
If there are some canned foods your cat really likes, add some water to it. For example, my problem drinker, Spock, likes a salmon canned food of a particular brand. So when I empty the can into a bowl, I add about a half cup of warm water to it. The warmth increases the smell and the added water significantly increases the food’s moisture content. It’s all good and he loves it.
If your cat doesn’t drink as much as you’d like, give a few of these tips a try. You’ll enjoy watching your cat’s reactions and she may discover that water isn’t all that bad!