Why is my cat so finicky about drinking water?
Felines can be finicky creatures. Often changing sleeping, eating & drinking habits. Many pet owners ask, “Why doesn’t my cat drink a lot of water?” There are several reasons for this. No matter the reason, not drinking enough water or not eating a diet that has a high water content can lead to several medical conditions such as kidney disease, the leading cause of death for most domestic cats. Do you ever wonder why your feline friend doesn’t drink a lot of water? Read on to find out why and what you can do to encourage your feline to hydrate.
House cats still use survival instincts
Centuries have passed since the first cat was domesticated in Ancient Egypt. Even after all this time, the same instincts used for survival in the wild are used by house cats. Place a bowl of fresh water out for Fluffy and chances are, she may just let it sit there. Cats are prone to be weary of still water. They instinctively avoid it in case the water is old, stagnant, or full of bacteria. They also feel vulnerable when drinking from a bowl as it leaves them open for attack from a predator. Fluffy also has a hard time finding where the water begins within the bowl, especially if the water level does not stay consistent day to day. So if you see Fluffy dipping her paw into the bowl, chances are she is not playing in her water dish, she is trying to see where the water level starts. It is best to keep the water in the bowl at a consistent level to encourage drinking, so don’t fill the water right up to the top one day and only fill the bowl half way the next and always clean your cat’s water dish out daily with a mild soap and water to prevent bacteria from building up.
Your cat prefers running water
Has Fluffy ever walked right up to the sink and demand a drink fresh from the tap? I bet she has at least once! That is because our feline friends prefer their water to be cool and most importantly fresh. Cats instinctively know that running water means fresh water. They also know that running water tastes better and it is more oxygenated that water that sits still in a bowl. So if your precious kitty insists on running water what do you do, turn on and off the tap all day? As much as Fluffy would adore that, a cat drinking fountain should do the trick. Water fountains come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes, some even made to look like a pieces of art. They have filters to help keep the water fresh and clean as it circulates and different options for how the water is dispensed. Amazon has an excellent choice of fountains to choose from! Our favorites are the Pioneer Rain Drop Fountain & PetSafe Drinkwell Ceramic Pagoda Fountain.
Location of the water dish matters
Keeping Fluffy’s food and water together side by side makes your life easy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make Fluffy happy. Just like with real estate, when it comes to your cat’s water dish it is all about location, location, location! Our feline friends have a very keen sense of small. Many do not want to smell their food while they enjoy a refreshing drink of water. In addition, it is thought that cats prefer to keep their water source away from their food tp prevent their water from becoming contaminated with food droppings and bacteria. How many times have you removed food bits from the water dish? Probably too many to count. Simply move the water dish away from the food dish and Fluffy may begin drinking more water. It also may be a good idea to place water dishes in several areas of your home to give Fluffy an option of where she prefers to drink.
Wet food provides hydration
In the wild, Fluffy would hunt for food just like a lion or a cougar. Her prey would consist of rodents, lizards, and birds. Just like humans, those animals are comprised of 70% water and would provide most of the daily H20 needs. For convenience, most families toss dry food into their kitty’s bowl once a day or when the bowl gets low. But dry food does not contain enough moisture. Commercial dry foods only contain about 20% moisture which is nowhere near the 70% moisture content of the food Fluffy would eat in the wild. Simply switching your cat to a wet food diet can provide her with the water she needs without her having to drink a lot of water.
With kidney disease being the number one killer of domesticated cats, it is worth trying one or all of the above to help keep your feline friend in purrfect health.
Written by Julie Gajewski. Julie has been pet sitting and working in the veterinary industry as both a Veterinary Technician and veterinary hospital administrator since 1997. She founded her pet sitting company, Fuzzy Friends Pet Care, at the young age of 16. She was nominated as one of Pet Sitters International’s Top 5 Pet Sitters in 2016 and is a Certified Professional Pet Sitter through Pet Sitters International. She is a pet business consultant and a guest blog writer for pet sitters across the world. She lives in Florida with her husband and furry children, 2 Pugs and 4 cats.