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Hydration in cats: how to get your cat to drink more water

We can’t stress enough how important it is for you to know if your cat is properly hydrated, as dehydration can have serious consequences for your pet. 

In most cases, it’s impossible to tell if your cat is drinking enough fluids throughout the day. As cats are descendants of desert predators, they are predisposed to get their water intake from small prey such as rodents or birds. For this reason, we rarely see our cats drinking water at home. This makes it extremely difficult to measure how much they are actually consuming.

Here are some important observations to make regarding our cats’ hydration:

  • Cats which are fed dry food need to drink water more often and in larger quantities. However, cats are highly particular in their tastes and habits, they won’t always want to drink enough water.
  • Cats prefer their water to be fresh, clean and changed frequently; otherwise, they are unlikely to drink any unless they are extremely thirsty. Because of this, cats end up being dehydrated, causing other problems such as constipation, megacolon, heat stroke and kidney failure. This can also worsen cases of diabetes and hyperthyroidism. In addition, when cats are ill, they’re very good at hiding their symptoms and they tend to eat and drink even less. This results in them becoming dehydrated even quicker.
  • A fundamental aspect of being a cat owner is to control their urine production. Cats must urinate frequently and in large volumes, indicating that their kidneys are functioning well. Sanicat clumping litters are the ideal solution for this as, when you clean the litter box at least twice a day, you are able to see how much urine your cat has produced. We recommend Sanicat Light&Clump or Sanicat Active to do the job.
  • Each day, cats should consume between 50 and 60 ml of water per kilogram of their body weight. We cannot measure how much our cats have drunk just by leaving a water bowl out; plus, some will inevitably be spilled or evaporate. As a result, we are unable to be completely sure that we are providing enough water for our cats. One way we can make sure that our cats are hydrated enough is by incorporating wet tinned food into their diet. Each tin contains around 70-80% moisture, so we know that we are giving cats about half of their daily water needs just from one tin. 
  • We have an easy way to help you find out if your cat is drinking enough water. First, take their water dish and work out its volume and then, put a mark on the outside. Then, the next time you go to fill it up, you will be able to measure the difference in water volume. This difference will help you to see how much your cat has been drinking when you’re not looking.
  • There are a few tricks you can try to encourage your cats to drink more water: try adding chicken or fish stock (unsalted) to their water to make it tastier, always keep their water clean and fresh, make sure to change their water often, use a running water source, or if you’re in an area where the water has strong odours, use filtered water.

Do your cats drink enough water? Tell us about your experiences!

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