By Bonnie Koenig
Like people, cats need water even more than food. Even a 10% loss of water can cause serious illness in a cat. So how much water is enough? And how do we persuade our cats to drink?
In general a cat should drink 2.5 times the amount of food they eat. This fluid doesn’t always have to be in just drinking water. Some of the fluid can come from the water in canned cat food. However, a cat must take in more water than they do food. Fresh water should always be available. In hot weather or if a cat is ill, there may be an increased need for water.
Cats can be finicky about their water. If you wouldn’t drink from their bowl, chances are neither will they. Make sure water dishes are clean and are filled with fresh water. Ceramic and stainless steel bowls are best. Plastic can leach cleansers into the bowls which will seep back out into the drinking water. Often water in plastic will have a taste that is unpleasant to your cat.
While room temperature water is great most of the year, during the summer months you might try adding an ice cube or two. The water shouldn’t get too cold. However, the ice cubes can cool the water, which may add to the cats interest. It will also give the cat something to play with.
Water fountains are another excellent way to keep the cat interested in water. Fountains keep the water flowing and keep it from stagnating. Further, they often have filters which will help keep bacteria from forming, which can happen in stagnant water. In addition to offering a source of play, fountains can then offer a safer source of water.
Many cats like to drink from the toilet. Ironically this can be because the water from the toilet is cooler (due to the larger surface area) and perhaps cleaner than the water in a bowl. Be sure to clean the water dishes frequently and you might find your cat is less interested in the water from the toilet.
Another favorite water toy for cats is often the water faucet. Some cats prefer to drink from a dripping faucet. It’s been said that this is because these cats don’t have the depth perception to drink from a dish. Fountains are suggested for these cats. Also glass dishes are supposed to be helpful. The cat can see how deep the water is by looking at the side of the dish. Dripping faucets are fun too, so don’t forget that your cat likes to be entertained.
If you keep many sources of clean fresh water around, your cat should have no problem getting enough to drink. For older cats, the need for water increases. Keep many ideas in mind in case you need to increase your cat’s fluid intake. Cats need quality food but they need too quality water even more.
Bonnie Koenig lives with her three cats. She and her Siamese maintain their website http://www.mysiamese.com
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