You love your cat and she loves you, too. But sometimes, it can feel like the two of you don’t have that much in common. You like to sit on the sofa, she likes to sit on you. You can’t agree on whether or not dead mice make a good welcome-home present.
Whatever differences you have, though, there is one thing you’re always going to share with your feline companion (well, apart from your personal space.) Both your bodies are 70 percent water. Doctors recommend that you drink eight glasses of water every day. But what about kitty? How much water does your cat need to drink each day? And is she drinking enough?
Cats evolved to instinctually hide pain and discomfort from others. This means that they might not communicate issues like dehydration. She might know if she’s getting enough water, but it’ll be harder for you to tell. You will have to watch for some of these signals.
Signs your cat needs to drink more water.
Is your cat lethargic? If your cat’s dehydrated, she’ll be less energetic than before. She might also exhibit sunken eyes and sticky gums. These are clear symptoms that your cat isn’t getting enough water.
Is your cat panting? Unlike dogs, cats pant only rarely. They may do this after exercise, but often, panting is a symptom of your cat overheating. Frequent panting may point to more serious issues as well. Make sure she’s drinking enough water. If the panting persists, it’s a good idea to consult your vet.
Is her coat duller than usual? Drinking lots of water is important for people to maintain smooth skin and hair. It’s just as important for cats. A number of factors can contribute to a dull coat, but hydration is one of the most important. If your cat’s coat has lost its luster, the first thing you’ll want to do is ensure she’s drinking enough water.
How often is she using her litterbox? A healthy cat urinates between two and four times a day. When you’re cleaning the litter out, look for wet spots. If your cat’s not peeing as often as she usually does, she’s not getting enough water.
The “Skin Tent Test”: If you’re having a hard time discerning other symptoms, this is an easy way to tell if your cat’s dehydrated. Gently pinch a bit of your cat’s skin and tent it over her shoulder. If it takes time to slide back in place, it can indicate dehydration. This is because dehydration causes your cat’s skin to lose elasticity.
Since cats evolved in a dry environment, they’re used to getting most of their water intake from live prey. Drinking water — from puddles and ponds — was always a secondary water source. This means that today’s cats are fairly picky about their drinking water. Even if a full, clean bowl of water is available, your cat might not drink enough. There are some things you can do, however, to make sure she’s getting enough water.
How to make sure your cat is drinking enough water:
Keep her water bowl clean. Your cat likes drinking from a dirty bowl about as much as you do. Cats have a keen sense of smell. If you don’t wash it regularly, the water bowl will play host to all kinds of harmful bacteria. And if it smells bad to you, that means it smells awful to him.
Place multiple bowls around the house. Cats love to wander. If there’s a water bowl in easy reach wherever he is, your cat might be encouraged to drink more.
Your cat might not like drinking your tap water. Yes, this is an actual problem! An inexpensive water filter can remove excess minerals and particulates for a more neutral taste. You could also try flavoring his drinking water. Try adding a hint of chicken broth or clam juice, flavors your cat enjoys.
Switch to wet cat food. This is a great option since cats are used to getting water from their food. Wet food is up to 80 percent water. If your cat’s on a wet food diet, you won’t have to worry if he’s not drinking much from the water bowl.
Your cat needs water just as much as you do. A healthy cat is a happy cat. And you can never have too many of those around. 🐈