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. 

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