You Can Give Your Cat Some Water – But How Do You Get Them To Drink It?

This blog has been sponsored by Purina Hydra Care™ but all views and advice are my own!

Cats aren’t big drinkers. Most pet owners know this and are often concerned about the water bowl being ignored. For most young, healthy cats it isn’t too much of a problem, but for those with underlying health issues or our more senior ‘kitizens’, it can trigger or worsen problems they have.

For cats prone to cystitis and other urinary complaints, ensuring they have a good fluid throughput and well-diluted urine will really help to keep their bladder healthy and their wee flowing!

Our cats with chronic kidney disease are often moderately dehydrated because they lose water through their poorly kidneys. Which makes them feel under-the-weather, puts more pressure on their already struggling renal system and can leave them prone to constipation as well.

So ensuring your feline gets their fluids is very important for their health! But how can we do that?

Wet Diets

Wet food for cats is approximately 85% water, so they take in a significant amount of fluid when they eat it. However, given that cats are grazing feeders, visiting their bowls for a quick nibble between naps, wet food isn’t always appropriate to leave down all day. Most cats will eat it when offered but giving a meal of a whole sachet can encourage gorging and leave them prone to weight gain. And some cats are very particular about what they will and won’t eat and will not even consider anything that isn’t a biscuit!

A little wet every day is helpful but a diet heavy on the wet food is often more expensive and can lead to wastage when compared to biscuits

Water Bowls

Many cats will have a water bowl available to them but studiously ignore it. This isn’t generally because they don’t want to drink, it is because they are particular about how, where and when they will drink and we aren’t catering to their exacting requirements!

Firstly, water bowls shouldn’t be anywhere near food bowls. In the wild, cats will not drink in the area where they catch their prey because it is more likely that the water source there is contaminated with the prey’s waste products, and this survival instinct is still strong!

Secondly, cats usually like to drink from wide, flat surfaces where their whiskers don’t get wet, and they don’t enjoy putting their heads too deep into a bowl because they then can’t observe their environment for threats (again this is a hangover from their wild days!). So make sure you use a
bowl wider than their whiskers and keep it filled to the very top. (We are their servants after all!)

This is why they often prefer to drink from puddles and ponds if they are outdoor cats: the open, flat surface really appeals!

Also, some cats are very fussy about the kind of bowl they like. You may have to try plastic, ceramic and metal to find the perfect one!

Cats often enjoy drinking from glasses, probably because these are generally not near their food bowls and being clear, they can see all
around them as they drink. It’s not just to annoy you!

Finally, having multiple bowls around the house can really help to increase your cat’s drinking. Because they aren’t especially motivated to drink, making it as easy as possible for them to visit a bowl for a quick lap can be really effective.

Water Fountains

The other place many cats love to drink is a dripping tap. Again, this comes from the principle that quickly moving water is more likely to be fresh and clean. However, it isn’t always practical (or very environmentally friendly) to leave a tap dripping constantly and instead many people turn water fountains.

The issue with these this that cats are very variable in how much they like them and also tend to have a preference for what kind they will use! So you can buy a water fountain (and they aren’t cheap!) but it may be ignored!

Although water fountains are often recommended to increase water intake, so far studies haven’t actually shown that they make any difference to water intake or urine concentration for the majority of cats
The fountain featured here is the PetSafe Water Fountain

Flavouring the water

Making water taste nice makes us all want to drink more! And we can do the same for our cats. Taking spring water (not brine, it’s too salty!) from tinned tuna or finely chopping a few fresh prawns and adding them to the water bowl are both common ways in which cat owners tempt their
fussy felines to start lapping.

Nutrient-Enriched Water

This is a brand new product that we have to add to our bag of tricks to get cats to drink more and stay hydrated and it is proving to be extremely effective. There is only one on the market at the moment and it is Pro Plan® HC Hydra Care™ from Purina. It is a tempting flavoured jelly that not only encourages cats to take on more fluid but also helps promote the absorption of water into the cells via the action of osmosis thanks to the protein and
glycerol it contains.

The best way to offer it is to simply pop it in a bowl (one your cat loves!) like you already do their food and their water. The ideal intake is one sachet per 2kg weight per day – any more than this doesn’t have any extra benefit

Hydra Care™ has been shown in multiple studies to help increase water intake, decrease dehydration and decrease urine concentration.

So as you can see, we have a lot of options for encouraging our cats to be better drinkers!

You may have to try a few (or all!) of these suggestions before you find the best one for your cat but adding Hydra Care™ to their daily menu as a third bowl may be a really tasty choice as well.

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