How Much Water Should Your Cat Drink?
Cats are royalty. This means that they are very particular about their treatment and choices. That might, very well, be an adorable trait in a pet but could also pose a problem when fussiness leads them to reject choices that are for their own good. An example would be not taking enough water.
Kitty has been known to prefer a particular water bowl/container over others. Others prefer the faucet to a container and yet, others are fascinated by the water in the toilet bowl!
But, why is tracking the water intake of your cat so important? Well, there is a correlation between the amount of water your cat takes and its health. Of course, a healthy cat is a joy to its owner.
Which Water Should Your Cat Take?
That cats should get plenty of clean water is not in doubt. However, what you consider healthy could be harmful. This is especially true with heavily chlorinated water or that with a lot of dissolved minerals. Diluting it with distilled water could be an option if you cannot get filtered water.
Some cats dislike the taste of water that is presented in a plastic container. In such a case, a drinking fountain made of ceramic or glass would be an acceptable alternative.
It should be kept far from the litter tray or food bowl to mimic where cats find water in nature. The moving water could arouse your kitty's curiosity and encourage it to drink.
Also, make sure that the water bowl has a fresh supply daily to prevent the growth of bacteria especially in hot weather. Regular cleaning of the bowl is also important.
The Quantity of Water Your Cat Needs
There are some factors to consider in determining the level of hydration your cat requires. These include size, age, and activity level of your cat. Other factors are the weather and time of the year.
In winter, cats will, like humans, take less water than when it is sunny and dry. Provision for evaporation from the cat's bowl should be made during warm weather.
A very important consideration is the food that the cat eats. Cats need 0.67 to 1 oz. of water for every pound (44 to 66 ml. per kg.) daily. This figure includes the water found in its food. Dry cat food contains about 10% of this water, which would leave your feline friend with a deficit of 90% to be provided by you, the owner.
Food that is in a can or prepared wet could contain as much as 80% of the cat's water needs. A cat fed on 250 grams of food from a can in a day would need about 20 ml of water. This is about 4 teaspoons. The rule of thumb is that, if you are giving your cat dry food, then you have to provide all the water it needs.
How to Tell If Your Cat Is Dehydrated
Water makes up around 67% of a cat's body. If this percentage drops, the cat could be said to suffer from dehydration. In the wild, this percentage is, coincidentally, the same as that of their natural prey. This means the wild cat rarely needs to drink water.
Severe dehydration is a killer. However, cats only tend to show symptoms when the problem has reached a critical stage. This is due, in part, to their need for very little water in the wild. However, if you are alert, you can note changes in your cat's drinking habits.
A dehydrated cat will often be lethargic. Flaky skin, as opposed to a shiny coat, could also be an indicator that kitty isn't getting enough water. To check whether your cat is dehydrated, take him by the scruff, which is the skin around the shoulder.
If the skin takes a second or longer to settle back into its original position you should be concerned. This could be dehydration and will require a visit to the vet.
Administration of fluids might be required. Just as cats are slow to show the effects of dehydration, recovery is likely to be equally sluggish.
Complications Linked To Water Intake
Apart from your pet drinking very little water, you might also find kitty taking too much. This is also a cause for concern. The following conditions are possible signs of health complications, arising from your cat's water intake.
- Diabetes mellitus
- Chronic kidney disease
- Urinary tract infection
If caught early, these serious conditions can be managed effectively. When you notice your cat going to the water bowl more frequently than usual, it is time to visit the vet. Similarly, many trips to the kitty litter tray or urination accidents should be brought to your vet's attention.
The vet will carry out tests on blood and urine samples to determine exactly what your cat could be suffering from. The earlier the prognosis, the sooner your pet will begin the journey towards recovery.
It should also be noted that a disease like Diabetes is more common in tom cats than females. Age too plays a role as older cats are more likely to be afflicted than younger ones. This is because they tend to take less water.
The vet might require you to take your cat's urine sample at home. This is a bit tricky, but if your cat uses a litter tray, then it can be done. You will first need to empty the litter tray, wash it without using chemicals, and then place some materials that will not absorb urine in the tray (Click here to see why your cat is peeing everywhere).
Once kitty is through with her business, pour some of it into the sample bottle and take it to the vet as soon as possible. If there is going to be a delay, the sample should be kept in the fridge. It shouldn't exceed 12 hours.
To sum up, kitty relies on you for general health. Play your role by providing what your cat needs to maintain optimum health. This is especially important with regard to water. Remain vigilant so that you can notice changes in kitty's behavior and you will have a long and fruitful relationship (Click here to see why your cat is folding its paws in this "Kitty loaf" position).