Does your cat have a drinking problem? Does your cat drink enough water? Too much? My cat drinks enough but only on her terms. She will only drink from a glass, not a bowl, that is elevated off the floor. Right now, she takes her water on the counter but in the past, she has been known to use a glass on a bedside table as well. Truth be told, she would drink all her water from the toilet if you would let her. But I don’t. I feel the counter is a good compromise. Yes, I am compromising with my cat.
How Much Water is Enough?
The amount of water your cat requires depends on their size, diet, time of year, etc. Speaking on average, according to “Feline behavior for veterinarians” second edition, B. V. Beaver, 2003 a cat should get a total of 44 to 66 ml of water per kilogram of body weight (or 0.67 to 1 oz. per pound) each day. This includes any water they get naturally from their food.
Keep in mind that whether you feed your cat wet food, dry food or a combination of the two will impact the cat’s water requirements. Wet food = more water (obviously). Some wet food can have a water content of up to 80%. My cat eats mostly dry food for her teeth (see this post on why) so she would require the 44-66ml per kg as stated above. She is small and weighs about 3kg so her daily water intake should be roughly 132ml-198ml.
How to Monitor a Cat’s Water Intake
For me it’s simple, I just look at the glass. It’s obvious how much is gone. Subtract a little for evaporation and you’re all set. It’s not an exact science but it works for me. Since Laila’s water is on the counter it is easy to keep track of how many times she drinks. She makes a big production of it every time and draws attention to herself. She meows and slaps her paws on the counter. As if to say, look at me, I’m drinking!
If you don’t want to measure/count, you can simply do an elasticity test to measure your cat’s hydration. Pull the skin at the scruff of the neck and it should bounce back quickly if the cat is well hydrated. The vet usually checks this on every visit as well.
Encouraging Your Cat to Drink More
If your cat doesn’t drink the water you put out, what do you do? I have bent to my cat’s insistence that her water be in a glass on the counter. Better that she drinks, I think. There are a few ways you can encourage your cat to drink more…
A cat water fountain. Many cats are intrigued by running water so this might just do the trick to get them to drink. Some will keep the water cool and just the fact that it is flowing instead of still might help. I tried one of these to get Laila to stop drinking from the toilet. While she stared at it when it was running, I never once saw her drink from it.
Wet food. Giving your cat more wet food will drastically increase their water intake. If one small tin of wet food is 80ml (3oz) your cat can get up to 64ml of water from this one tin of food. For my cat that’s up to half of her daily requirement.
If you want to go even further with the wet food, I found Fancy Feast soup recently. It looks and smells like real chicken soup and is therefore mostly water. Laila loves it more than anything so I would recommend picking some up. Not only is it great for hydration, it actually smells good – like people food.
Be on the lookout too if your cat is drinking too much. This can be a sign of kidney problems or diabetes.
At the end of the day, just remember: a hydrated cat is a happy cat.