As creatures that evolved in a desert-like environment, cats learned to adapt to the environment by conserving water and obtained most of their hydration needs from the foods they consumed. Fast forward to the 21st century cat, and those that consume canned or wet food will consume nearly twice as much water as cats that eat only dry foods. Based on diet, is your cat’s water consumption enough?
When cats that are fed a diet of dry foods do not get enough water, it can pose a risk for developing urinary crystals that can lead to a condition known at Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). In extreme cases, this can create blockage in the urinary tract which can be fatal.
In an effort to combat this problem, many dry cat foods are made with low magnesium levels which creates urine that is slightly acidic. To avoid having your cat develop urinary crystals, make sure they consume as much water as possible to dilute their urine. With more water in their system, the minerals in the urine are less concentrated, and crystals are less likely to develop.
Tips To Boost Cat’s Water Consumption
So…you can lead a cat to water…but can you make him drink? If you’re concerned about your cat’s water consumption here are some tips from us.petvalu.com:
- Provide fresh, clean water daily. With the very hot temperatures, many pets are drinking more, so check throughout the day and refill if needed.
- Move the water dish away from the food dish and place it either across the room or in another room entirely. Many cats do not like the notion of their food particles getting into their water.
- Provide multiple water dishes, especially if you have more than one level in your home your cat has access to or if you have more than one cat.
- Since cats are attracted to moving water, consider using a cat fountain or other drinking system to catch his attention and encourage more water consumption. Cats often like to drink from the faucet, but if that isn’t an option you want to go for long term, pet water fountains are a good alternative. There are many options available, check for fountains made of ceramic or stainless steel to minimize chance of bacteria forming. One to check out is the PetSafe Drinkwell Ceramic Pagoda Fountain (available from Amazon)
- Add water to his food, especially when feeding him wet or canned food.
- If you can’t get your cat to drink from his current dish, get a new one. Be sure the water bowl is big enough to keep his whiskers from touching the edge of the bowls. The Dr. Catsby’s Food Bowl (available on Amazon) is a new product to address whisker fatigue for cats.
- Be clever and add some “bait” to the bowl (more for extreme cases here!). Put a bit of gravy from a stew canned cat food to entice your cat to consume more water.
Symptoms Of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease:
- Strain or pain during urination, which can also cause crying.
- Urination outside of the litter box.
- More frequent urination.
- Blood in urine.
Pay close attention when maintaining your cat’s litter box. Be sure your cat is urinating, and look for any signs there may be a problem.
If you suspect your cat might be suffering from this disease, please contact your veterinarian immediately, and, as always, consult with your vet on your cat’s water consumption habits if they are concerning to you.
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