It is a well-established fact that cats don’t have a very efficient thirst mechanism. What this simply means is that there is very little drive for them to drink. But drink they must, otherwise they risk developing a variety of health disorders especially those related to the kidneys. So how much water should your cat be drinking every day?
The current guideline generally observed by veterinarians is 44 to 66 milliliters of water for every kilogram of a cat’s body weight. This is roughly translated to about 0.67 to 1 fluid ounces for every pound.
The recommendation already includes water from different sources, including food. You should know that cats in the wild don’t really drink that much for the simple fact that they derive their hydration requirements from the food that they eat. Since these are obligate carnivores, the animals that they prey on already contain 70 to 80 percent moisture.
The Role of Wet and Dry Cat Food
Let us apply the knowledge we have obtained above to the type of food that we give to our cats.
Suppose we have a cat that weighs 10 pounds. This means that, at the very minimum, our cat should be getting 6.7 ounces of water every day or a maximum of 10 ounces.
Let us say we give our feline pal 2.5 ounces of dry cat food every day and knowing that dry cat food will contain no more than 10% moisture, this means that our cat is only receiving 0.25 ounces of moisture from its food. This also means that our kitty needs to drink 6.45 ounces more of fresh water every day.
If we give our cat 2.5 ounces of wet canned food that typically contains about 80% moisture, then our cat will already be receiving 2 ounces of water every day. This also means it only needs to drink 4.7 ounces of fresh water.
Giving your feline friend wet food can reduce its dependence on fresh drinking water by at least 30 percent. Giving your cat dry food will only contribute at least 4% of its daily water requirements. The implication here is that, while you will still have to entice your kitty to drink fresh water, you’ll have to double the effort if you’re feeding your kitty exclusive dry cat food.
How to Encourage Your Cat to Drink Fresh Water
As we have already said earlier, cats don’t drink that much because the food that they eat are already full of moisture. Well, this is in the wild where they subsist on prey animals. The problem is that domesticated cats have not eliminate this instinct. It is still very strong in them. However, the same predatory instinct can be used to entice them to drink fresh water.
The predatory instinct operates on the principle of movement. As long as there is movement or any signal, there is a possibility of the presence of a prey. There is only one way to be certain about this assumption and that is for the predator to ‘check’ out the suspect prey.
As such instead of giving an ordinary water bowl, better invest in a cat drinking fountain. The continuous circulation of the water creates very random movement. The gentle rustle of the water falling on the pool is also taken as the rustle of a prey scampering to safety. These will entice your cat to drink.
Some also have success putting ice cubes in water bowls. The ice cubes serve as stimulus for cats to think that these are prey. When they try to reach in, the cubes will move further strengthening their suspicion that these are indeed prey.
Alternatively, you can start moistening your cat’s dry food with water or even the broth from a can of tuna. The added flavor should help improve the overall palatability of the dry food. However, be cautious since moistened dry cat food spoils easily.
You can also add a few drops of tuna broth or even chicken broth into your cat’s water bowl. The added taste and flavor should make your kitty drink more than usual.
Placing extra bowls of water at strategic locations in your house can also help encourage your pet to drink.
The important thing to remember is that cats need to drink fresh water every day, regardless of the type of food that they eat. However, giving wet food can greatly help if your cat is simply too stubborn to drink from a bowl or a pet fountain.