Cats are notoriously difficult to keep hydrated. In the wild, cats received most of their water from the prey they hunted. A modern cat’s diet involves far less water, especially if they eat only dry kibble.
Since cats continue to drink according to their instincts, we have to make hydrating them a priority. As we enter these hot summer months, that job becomes even more important. Check out our top four tips for keeping your kitty hydrated below.
- Try using different bowls. Just like people, cats have their own preferences about what they eat and drink from. Experiment with different sizes, depths, and materials. There could be a problem with your dish you don’t realize is preventing your cat from drinking. For example, a light plastic dish might easily slide across the floor when jostled, unnerving certain cats.There are all kinds of dishes to try, including stainless steel, ceramic, and self-dispensing. You could even try a water fountain. For some reason, cats are drawn to running water and may be more likely to drink from a fountain. As a plus, it’s a neat addition to your home décor!
- Consider the placement of the dishes. Next, think about where your dishes are located throughout the house. Make sure you have more than one, especially if you have multiple cats. This will help keep the water clean and fresh at all times. A dirty dish is a surefire way to repel a cat from drinking.If you have an older cat with arthritis issues, think about where the most accessible place is for the dish. Some cats don’t enjoy drinking next to their food dish, so try placing the water dish in another location. Avoid crowded, loud areas where other pets or people could deter your cat from drinking. Cats need to feel safe before indulging in a drink.
- Make the water fun. One of the simplest ways to make hydrating appealing is to add ice cubes. If a cat can make a game out of their water dish, they are more likely to wander over. You can even make flavored ice cubes by diluting and freezing some low-sodium chicken broth. Once the ice melts, the water will smell tantalizing.You can also flavor the water with a few drops from a tuna or sardine can. It’s easy to overdo this, so start small and add more if needed. If your cat has no interest in a particular flavor, experiment with other broths, such as beef.
- Try canned food. There are merits to both dry and wet foods, but most cats will benefit from a combination. On average, canned food contains around 80% water, while dry food is closer to 10%. Even if you only provide a small amount of wet food, it will help with keeping your pet hydrated. You can even add water to the wet food in order to increase the efficacy. Your cat will more than likely be fine with this as long as they get a taste of the yummy canned food.
Alternatively, you might offer treats with a high water content. These can be store-bought or homemade, just make sure to use a feline-friendly recipe. Anything with a strong fishy scent will probably do the trick.