We’ve recently talked with a number of cat parents who worry their kitties aren’t drinking enough water. They rarely ever see their cat drinking from their water bowl and are concerned their cat is dehydrated. We point out that cats don’t have the same thirst drive like dogs and humans – but there’s more to healthy hydration for our cats than lapping at the water bowl. Below are some of our favorite info about hydration – and some tips if you don’t want to see your cat dehydrated.
First we need to understand why dehydration is dangerous for our cats…
Dehydration can actually be life threatening to our cats. Dr. Karen Becker, DVM says, “Dehydration also throws off the balance of electrolytes, such as calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium, which can interfere with the normal function of the body’s organs and systems. If a dehydrated pet isn’t quickly rehydrated, death can occur very quickly.” Since water makes up 80% of our cats’ bodies, keeping their hydration levels balanced is very important.
Dehydration can cause serious issues, but it can also be a symptom of serious issues. Kidney disease, diabetes, irritable bowel disease, poisoning, etc. can result in a dehydrated cat. Frequently checking to be sure your cat is properly hydrated is what we recommend.
Here’s how you can do an at-home check to be sure your cat is hydrated.
How To Help Keep Your Cat Hydrated
Since cats have a low thirst drive, it’s super important that they get their moisture from their food. They simply cannot make up for the amount of water their bodies need at the water bowl. Dry food is just that… dry. It has less than 10% moisture so feeding a dry only diet will increase the risk of dehydration in your kitty. In the wild, our cats consume their prey – which is made up of 70-80% water. Feeding them a moisture rich diet will help mirror that prey and provide them the moisture they need.
In addition to food, encourage your cat to drink more by providing fresh moving water daily. Our cats love the porcelain water fountain we got for them and I think they actually drink more since we brought it in. Studies have actually shown that cats are more drawn to running or moving water (as from a fountain) – but it’s worth mentioning that our cat also still drink from the regular, old ceramic bowl we’ve had for years. In fact, pretty sure Mr. Bittles still prefers it.
Food and water are essential – for us and our cats. Let’s be proactive cat parents by checking their hydration levels and providing them the diet and water sources their bodies need!