Just like humans, water is absolutely vital and necessary for cats to maintain good health. And just like us, cats usually don’t drink enough water. They confuse thirst for hunger, and will meow at you for food, when what they really need is some quality H2O!
For us, we can force ourselves to drink more water and educate ourselves on the importance of staying hydrated. But with cats, it’s much trickier.
Are you sure your cat is drinking enough water?
Most likely, you leave a bowl of water next to your cat’s food dish and replenish it whenever it’s empty. But chances are, the water bowl evaporates or gets knocked over and spills out, meanwhile your cat barely drinks anything. So just because you continue to refill your cat’s water dish, doesn’t mean it’s actually drinking.
Is there such thing as drinking too much water?
Yes, of course! Just like everything else, water should still be consumed in moderation. If your cat suffers from excessive thirst, to the point where it drinks too much water, it could be dealing with a serious health issue such as thyroid problems.
How do you know what “too much” is? Unless you monitor your cat 24/7, it’s difficult to tell how much your cat is actually drinking. For example, drinking a lot of water after play is normal. Or maybe your cat only drinks water when you’re around. The best way to tell is by checking their stool, looking for signs of diarrhea or constipation. Of course, ultimately, any health concerns should be discussed with your local vet.
What if my cat drinks from the toilet?
Many cats enjoy drinking toilet water, and I surely cannot tell you why! This is not terrible, due to a cat’s strong stomach being able to handle large amounts of bacteria. It’s not equivalent to a human drinking toilet water. The worst danger is leaving cleaning detergents in your toilet that your cat could swallow, or having a toilet that never gets cleaned. Still, not totally ideal to have your cat drinking from the toilet.
Below, are tips to ensure your cat is staying hydrated and healthy! Cats are SUPER picky! So if your water is not PERFECT enough for them, they won’t drink! No matter how thirsty they are! With these tips, you will come as close to perfection as possible!
1. Keep water dish in a separate area, far away from its food.
It may seem like “common sense” to place a water bowl next to a food dish. Us humans set our table with a plate of food in the center, followed by a drink right next to our plate, to help us swallow and digest our meals. But cats eat much differently.
Unlike dogs, cats are NOT 100% domesticated, meaning they are still part-wild. If you leave a baby or a dog alone in the woods, they will suffer and most likely die very soon. But if you leave your pet cat in the woods, it will know how to survive, even if it’s been indoors its whole life. For cats, wildness is engrained in their DNA!
In the wild, any water located next to a dead animal is highly likely to be contaminated. And so a cat, following its natural instincts, will try to avoid water sitting next to its food, no matter how thirsty.
2. Keep multiple water dishes around home.
Better yet, keep more than one water dish around in your home, if possible. If you have more than one cat, then this is even more necessary! Cats are super finicky, and if they don’t like the location of their water dish, they just won’t drink! So to be safe, place multiple dishes in many areas of your home. You can always cut back if you notice your cat preferring one specific location.
Personally, I like to leave some water for my cats on my nightstand, because they tend to drink the most while I’m laying in bed.
3. Instead of a bowl, try a cup.
This tip baffles me because I can’t explain the reasoning behind it (cats are strange), but for some odd reason, my cats are MUCH more likely to drink out of a cup than a bowl. Maybe it has to do with observing me, and how I use a cup to drink? Who knows! All I’ll say is, give it a try!
4. Keep water fresh.
Even if they haven’t drank all their water, make sure you are replenishing it at least once a day. Check often for insects, dirt, food, backwash, slime, and all that other gunky stuff! If you wouldn’t wanna drink it, they wouldn’t wanna drink it either.
5. Run the bathtub water.
Many cats prefer drinking from the bathtub because the water is fresh, running, and cold! For indoor cats, this could be the closest they come to natural water. You notice how outdoor cats prefer to drink from streams, or any type of “moving water.”
As long as your tap water is safe, I see no problem with running bathtub water for you cat. Do it very slowly in small amounts, or else they’ll run away from the noise or from fear of getting splashed!
The only issue is that you have to manually turn it on and off for you cat, as you can’t just keep it running all day.
6. Use a ceramic, glass, or metal dish.
Whether it be a cup or a bowl, always try to avoid plastic. Many cats don’t mind plastic, but they come with negative health affects. Plastic can taint the water by leaking out chemicals. Plus, many cats have plastic allergies. My cat, Venus, is allergic to plastic — if she eats or drinks from plastic, she develops this “acne” breakout around her chin!
7. Consider investing in a water fountain for cats.
If you are willing to spend the money, water fountains make a great investment. You plug it in, pour your water, and it becomes a fountain. Just like the appeal of bathtub water — it’s fresh and running. Plus, most of them come with an automatic filter for its water.
Be sure that you clean it often and continue to add fresh water.
Stay hydrated! Let me know if you have any other tips!