How to encourage your cat to drink more water

A cat needs about 50 mL (or 1,7 oz) of water per day for every 35 ounces of bodyweight,. With the average cat coming in at around 140 ounces, that would add up to almost 200 mL per day. I can almost hear you say.. “but that doesn’ t make sense! My cat hardly ever gets thirsty?”

As a biologist, I believe the explanation can be found in the natural diet of wild cats. Did you know that a mouse is made up of at least 65% and up to 80% water? Logically, if you diet mainly consists of live prey like mice and rabbits, you would get a lot of fluid in just from eating raw meat.

Scientists’ hypothesis is that the feline brain has evolved over a period of millions of years to become less sensitive to the sensation of thirst. And this makes sense when you think about it: drinking pure water probably just wasn’t very essential to their survival. What mostly mattered was eating enough meat.

But ever since cats were domnesticized, their raw meat consumption has gone down radically. Most indoor cats’ diets mainly consists of wet food or dry kibble from the store. While wet food contains a good amount of water, the dry version does not contain very much at all (hence the name dry).

Add to that that their drinking habbits aren’t exactly efficient (using only the tip of their tongue to spoon water in) and you can guess why drinking a little extra water every day probably wouldn’t be the worst thing for your cat.

If you suspect your feline friend is dehydrated, quickly grab a glass of water and check these six suggestions to encourage your cat to drink more:

A feline drinking water from the tap

Provide clean water

Bacteria can grow very fast, especially on hot summer days. If you want your kitty to drink, it’s imperative that she always has clean water available. We recommend you refresh your cat’s water source at least once a day. Also, don’t forget to rinse the bowl with some warm water and soap every now and then to get rid of that sticky coating that forms on the surface.

It might also be worth experimenting with different kinds of water like bottled, tap or rain water to see which one your cat likes the most.

Switch to wet food or raw meat

While dry kibble generally only contains about 10% water, wet food and raw meat diets can consist of up to 80% liquid. If you do the math, you can increase the amount of water in a meal by as much as eight times if you switch over. That’s a huge difference!

PS: Switching to wet food will be one of the vet’s first suggestions for older cats with chronic kidney disease that refuse to drink.

Mixing extra water into meals

If your food does not contain enough liquid, why not add some yourself? Simply throw the meal in a blender with the desires amount of water (make sure it’s fresh!) and mix it up. The stuff that comes out is what I call cat soup, and it is one of the absolute best ways to entice your cat to drink.

I like to mix with the proportions at about 75% food and 25% water to keep the mix from getting too gooey, but that’s just my personal preference. You will have to experiment to find out what works well for your cat.

PS: Dry kibble will suck up moisture very easily. but you should not leave this mixture out of the fridge. The reason being that it will spoil in a matter of hours once you add liquid to it.

A soaking wet cat wrapped in a towel looking very angry
Poor kitty! Some gentle encouragement probably works better than throwing your cat into the pool

Get a good water bowl

It may seem trivial, but your cat can be picky when it comes to the type of bowl she wants to drink from. Something few people know is that whiskers are extremely sensitive. Now imagine for a second that you are a cat, and your most sensitive parts are touching cold water every time you want to drink. Not a very pleasant sensation!

When chosing a water bowl for your cat we recommend you go with small and tall design. Make sure to chose one that is made from a high quality, soft material like plastic or RVS.

Bowl placement
Feeding bowls and drinking bowls are often sold attached to one another for some reason. This is actually counterintuitive to cats. They prefer their water source and their food source to be placed seperate from one another. Consider buying them seperately and placing each in a different room.

Install a drinking fountain

Some cats love a current. The best way to satisfy this is by buying a fountain that pumps up clean water throughout the day. They look pretty fashionable in your home too!

Keep in mind that not every cat will be fond of the fountain. In fact, some may get stressed out. Keep an eye on your cat’s response once the fountain is set up.

Flavored water

Possibly a bit radical to some, but if your cat has serious renal problems and needs to drastically increase her fluid intake, this could be the perfect temporary fix. You can make the water a little more enticing by adding some flavoring into it. We recommend you skip the artifical flavorings and go with something like a splash of the liquid from a can of wet food.

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