How to Encourage Your Cat to Drink More Water

March 18, 2017

Cats need a healthy amount of water to maintain their health but sadly many cats don't drink enough water. If your cat doesn’t consume enough water, they may suffer from a number of different problems, starting with dehydration. Inadequate water consumption can also cause or contribute to kidney disease, bladder inflammation (cystitis), bladder stones and lower urinary tract disease. You can help your cat to stay healthy and support the kidneys, bladder and entire body by making sure your cat consume enough water.

Here are 6 Ways to Encourage Your Cat to Drink More Water

 

1. Location of Your Cat’s Water Bowl

Well, the location really matters! Some cats are very sensitive to the positioning of a water bowl. Even a little unexpected foot-traffic can be enough to keep your cat from having that next drink. Keep fresh water bowls in different places of your home. Maybe even on your cat’s favorite shelf. Then it can drink without anyone walking by to interrupt.

Monty has food and water bowls in every room high up on the walls in his scratching tree  
Monty has food and water bowls in every room high up on the walls in his scratching tree. Find the cat furniture here.

 

2. Bowl Size and Shape to Match Your Cat

A good idea is also to offer a variety of bowls and glasses. If you're struggling with your cat not drinking enough, your cat may simply be picky and have their own bowl or glass preferences. If you are using plastic bowls, try stainless steel or ordinary ceramic instead. Some plastic bowls taste like plastic when the water has been in there for some hours and plastic does not taste good. To see what your cat likes, put out a variety of styles to see if one appeals more to your cat.

 

3. A Clean Bowl

We can't stress enough to keep the bowls and water clean! Clean the bowls out with soap and water every other day, taking care to rinse them well. If you're noticing a buildup of calcium deposits in the bowl, you can get rid of it by using non toxic clear vinegar. Put in a little bit with warm water, let the vinegar sit for a couple of hours and then wash with soap, rinse with a lot of water and all the mineral buildup should be gone. It is very important NOT TO SCRUB too hard on any plastic bowls because if you ruin the plastic coating even just with small scrapes, the plastic can release some toxic things. That's why letting vinegar loosen up the crust is good, less scrubbing needed! Change the water at least once or twice every day and check to make sure that nothing has fallen into the bowl throughout the day, especially if it's near the kitchen or plants.

 

4. Consider feeding your cat wet food

You can also try feeding your cat canned cat food. Make sure that the cat food is of good quality and does not contain any sugar. You can always call your vet to ask what they suggest. In comparison with dry food (kibble), canned cat food contains a much higher volume of water. Consuming a food with high moisture content is a quite natural way of increasing your cat’s water intake.

 

5. Try Feeding a Combination of Canned and Dry Cat Food

You can also feed a combination of canned and dry cat foods. Sometimes, mixing a bit of canned food into the dry food can convince a finicky cat (like Monty is) to accept canned food more easily. As your cat becomes accustomed to the change and begins to accept the canned food more readily, you can increase the percentage of canned food offered or even switch to a diet solely consisting of canned cat food.
This is the way we taught Monty to eat wet food. He didn’t wanted to eat any canned wet food when we adopted him. Now, he gladly eats his wet food but only a little at a time. Read here what we are feeding Monty and how important healthy food is for your cat.
 
 

6. Make Your Cat’s Water Station Fun, Try A Drinking Fountain

If you find that your cat loves running water, you should consider buying a drinking fountain. This will keep the water flowing all day, making drinking more exciting. Your cat may love to stare at, play with, and drink from the fountain. Don't throw away the regular water bowls when you introduce the fountain. Keep both options available so your cat can decide which they prefer.
Monty loves his fountain! We change the water every two days and once a month we clean it with vinegar. Remember to put the fountain away or cover it while you are cleaning it with vinegar. And again, remember not to scrub too hard on the plastic! We clean our fountain just by adding some clear vinegar to the fountain and water and then it will run with vinegar and water for a couple of hours. We always remove the fountain and place it on the kitchen counter and cover it with plastic. Then we take the whole thing apart and wash every single piece by hand with soap, rinse with lots of water so there’s no vinegar or soap left. Then we collect everything again, fill it up with fresh water and place it where it used to be. 

Monty loves to drink from his fountain Monty loves to drink from his fountain 
Monty loves to drink from his fountain and has stopped to drink from our sink in the bathroom when he got this.



There are a few ways you can tell if your cat is dehydrated. One of the best tests is to pinch your cat’s skin and gently pull upward. If her skin does not return to its normal position quickly, she is probably dehydrated. Also pay attention to signs of panting, depression, lack of appetite, sunken eyes, dry mouth, increased lethargy, and increased heart rate. If you are concerned about whether your cat is drinking an adequate amount of water or if you think your cat may be dehydrated, consult with your veterinarian. 




8 Responses

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June 19, 2017

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Mary Anne
Mary Anne

April 29, 2017

Lil’ Bit has issues regarding water. Runs through the house looking for it, although it is in 3 rooms in the house. It suddenly dawned on me that she likes it up above the floor! So now when I am drinking my water and watching t.v., she has a glass bowl on the table next to me. There is one on the kitchen counter as well. And today, on impulse, I offered her a glass bowl as she sat on a cabinet in the dining room. She REALLY liked that. I learned very quickly that she prefers a glass bowl. I wonder if the way light reflects off the water and glass is attractive to her. I’ve also noticed that she drinks and eats more in the middle of the night. Probably a vestige of her being feral at one time. So I make sure she sees me getting fresh water for her before bed time.

Alessandra
Alessandra

March 20, 2017

Hi Monty,

Nice post! HAdn’t thought about having a variety of bowls sizes and shapes, will definitely try.

There are two other things I’ve learned over time living with cats: some cats can develop allergies and/or feline acne on their chins when using plastic bowls. This can be somewhat painful depending on the infection stage and leading to a reduced consumption of water and food. So, keep an eye on your feline when using plastic bowls!
Otherwise, cats are originally carnivores, and might not drink the water close to their food. A cat knows that water that could be in contact with a decomposing prey is contaminated – that is highly unlikely to happen in domestic situations, where the physical barrier between food and water doesn’t allow for contamination. But the cat’s instincts still tells it not to drink water that is next to food. I found out my cat started drinking MUCH more once I put his water bowl far from his food one (while every other cat I had before never really bothered).

Looking forward for your next post :)

Patricia
Patricia

March 19, 2017

Sakamoto is on diet. He could eat only 45 gr. of dried food per day.
But he can also eat boiled courgets and that’s contain lots of water.
In summer, I need to had a bit of water with his food..
I will try the fountain soon.
Thank you for the advices

Amanda
Amanda

March 19, 2017

Hello Monty, thank you so much for your really informative advice! My cat has had a urine test & has a moderate amount of struvite crystals so I will try some of your suggestions especially the drinking fountain. Lots of love xx

Nancy R
Nancy R

March 19, 2017

Approximately a year ago when my 12 year cat developed bladder stones which required surgery, my Vet made a couple of suggestions to increase Dicken’s water intake. He was already on a specialized diet of both canned and dry food, but my Vet suggested adding boiling water to his dry food. Example: if putting out 1/4 cup dry food – then add 1/8 cup boiling water to it in a bowl, mix well so all morsels covered, let sit for 1-2 minutes, then “fold” the mixture every minute or so – a gravy like coating will result – and when all water is absorbed give to your cat. Both of my cats LOVE their dry food this way!! As for the idea of adding a little water to their canned food – they hated it. My cats like to play in their water dish – so I have a heavy weight metal one in the bathtub for them – they can splash all they want. Plus I also put a folded up bath towel in the bathtub, so when my older cat jumps in or out he doesn’t slip and injure himself.

Krystal
Krystal

March 19, 2017

I have a fountain as well my kitties love it. My cat Domino started drinking a lot and we noticed it and then he started loosing weight. Few blood tests later we found out he had diabetes so drinking a lot can be signs of lots of things fresh is best for water. Thanks for the awesome advice. I live in the USA what brand of fountain is that I love the open top. Thanks again sending hugs and Purrs to Monty Boy ???

Denise
Denise

March 18, 2017

Great advice! I have two cats, one of them loves to drink, the other doesn’t. He even ignores the fountain most of rge time. A couple of years ago he got some stones any almost didn’t make it. I coax him into drinking by adding some water to his wet food. He loves it! Also I found out he will drink if I hold the bowl for him. (Putting it higher doesn’t count. It has to be me.) We made it a bedtime ritual.
Another way to convince cats to drink more is adding some drops of milk or saltless broth. It’s like giving them a treat.

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